Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones will be a credible candidate for county mayor, if he runs, and will keep Commissioner Bob Thomas and perhaps Glenn Jacobs, if he enters the race, busy. However, Jones will need to overcome the impression that he is only a sheriff.
Three previous sheriffs tried to transition to executive or legislative office in Knox County and failed. They were Archie Weaver for city mayor in 1965, Bernard Waggoner for state senator in 1974 and Tim Hutchison for county mayor in 2010. Democrats do not yet have a credible candidate, and the GOP primary in May 2018 will decide who the next county mayor will be.
The race for Knox County mayor could take an interesting turn in about a month, and it’s not the rumored impending entry of Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones that’s going to shake things up.
It’s unlikely that Bob Thomas, the county commissioner who started distributing Thomas for Mayor yard signs nearly a year ago (and who should not be confused with the Bob Thomas who’s considered a frontrunner for the school superintendent job) is going to do anything unexpected like pulling out of the race. And neither is County Commissioner Brad Anders, who also has been mulling the prospect for a good long while.
While contenders are lining up to succeed him as Knox County mayor, Tim Burchett is lacing up his traveling shoes.
On Memorial Day, Burchett, whose final term will end in September 2018, had a speaking engagement in Sevier County. That’s hardly unusual – in recent months, he’s pressed the flesh at Lincoln Day and Reagan Day banquets, Republican Clubs, veterans’ and various civic organizations in Blount County, Roane County, Campbell County, Scott County, Union County, Loudon County, Oak Ridge and Clinton. Requests from Middle and West Tennessee are pending while Burchett works them into a schedule packed full of local appearances.
Bob Thomas, radio guy and at-large county commissioner, kicked off his campaign for Knox County mayor last week with a baloney-cutting at Powell Auction. He followed Mayor Tim Burchett’s path (Burchett also launched his campaign there), but two years ahead of the election.
Turnout was huge, and it was great to see old friends.