It’s been a brutal first week of early voting at the polls. Gerald Kirby, who lost his primary for County Commissioner Seat 10B to Jamie Daly, managed to get a monopoly permit for the whole grassy area, in front of the parking lot, except for a small piece to the side. The property belongs to the County, but a permit from the City of Maryville is required because the City maintains the side walks. The City should not give a permit to one candidate, at the exclusion of all others.
Kirby, and/or his supporters, repeatedly called the cops on anyone who put a chair and umbrella in the area, even though there was plenty of room. The cops repeatedly showed up and were apologetic and respectful telling everyone that Kirby had a monopoly and if they’d just move to the tiny patch of grass left, they could set their umbrellas up there.
There are a couple of other tiny grassy areas that the campaign volunteers set up on after a couple of days, when they learned that Kirby did not have a permit for those small areas. Sam Duck had a permit for the same area as Kirby in the May primary, but he didn’t call the cops on anyone. The problems didn’t stop with the monopoly permit.
Libby Breeding, Administrator of Elections, blew-up at two volunteers standing at Everett. An undercover detective, in an unmarked car, was sent to spy on the volunteers at Everett. After a volunteer handed the undercover detective literature and spoke briefly to him, the detective asked the volunteer if that was all he had been doing. The detective told the volunteer he was a detective, who was sent to see what the volunteers were doing and that he couldn’t see anything wrong with what the volunteer was doing. Unfortunately it didn’t stop there.
The next day a woman complained saying she was being harassed by a volunteer, but the volunteer never talked to the woman. Several people have commented that Blount County elections are starting to resemble Chicago style politics. Thankfully some of the harassment inflicted upon the volunteers may stop after a State election official told Libby Breeding that the volunteers were within their rights to campaign and to leave them alone.
Another interesting development is the support of Republican Party officers for Kirby who lost the Republican primary. There were four winners of Republican primary elections for County Commission at the Courthouse on Friday and one write-in candidate. Susan Mills, the former Chairman of the Blount County Republican Party, is the 2nd district State Executive Committeewoman for the Republican Party of Tennessee and is unopposed on the ballot. She spent her time standing under the write-in candidate’s tent (Kirby). Kenneth Melton was also under the Kirby tent. Susan Mills left without speaking to the other 3 Republican candidates for County Commission who were all close by. Those three ladies are Jamie Daly, Karen Miller and Tona Monroe.
What’s the position of Republican Party of Blount County? Does the Party support it’s nominees for office or not? Party leaders and numerous Republican elected officials spent the first week of early voting hanging out under the Kirby write-in tent.