The Knoxville/Knox County League of Women Voters will not host state House candidate forums this election cycle because Republicans in four legislative races couldn’t agree to participate on any of three dates offered by the league. According to an email sent to all candidates by the LWV:
• The dates didn’t work for Rep. Martin Daniel, running to retain his 18th District seat; his Democratic challenger, Brandi Price, made herself available.
• Gloria Johnson, running against incumbent Rep. Eddie Smith for the 13th District House seat, challenged Smith to an education-specific debate weeks ago. He didn’t respond, but informed the LWV that none of the dates worked for him.
• Democrat Heather Hensley, running against Rep. Roger Kane in the 89th District, told the league she was available, but Kane said he couldn’t participate.
• In the 14th District, neither Democrat Scott Hacker nor incumbent Republican Jason Zachary responded to the league.
The Knoxville Area Black Caucus organized a well-attended debate two weeks ago between 15th District candidates Democrat Rick Staples and Independent Pete Drew; the two men are vying to replace former Rep. Joe Armstrong, who resigned from the House following his conviction on tax-evasion charges.
The league has a good clearinghouse for election information at its website: lwvknoxville.org.
Knox County-based journalist Thomas Fraser is a native of Charleston, S.C. who grew up in Oak Ridge and Knoxville. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and has worked as an editor and reporter for daily newspapers and websites in Tennessee, North Carolina, New Jersey and Virginia.
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