April 22, 2024

Knoxville votes: Who is facing off in Tuesday’s city election?

On Nov. 5, Knoxville will vote for its new city mayor and four city council positions.

Former Knox County School Board Chair Indya Kincannon and businessman Eddie Mannis are vying to be Knoxville’s next mayor in Tuesday’s election.

Despite especially low turnout in city elections, the mayoral candidates have run competitive campaigns and there’s will likely be the closest of the night.

While Mannis received the most votes in the nonpartisan Aug. 27 primary with 37%, no candidate reached 50% to win outright. Kincannon placed second with 29% and will face Mannis in the general election on Nov. 5.

City councilman Marshall Stair placed third in the primary, garnering 27% of the vote. Kincannon and Mannis will be competing to win over leftover voters from Stair and the other three minor candidates in their attempt to become Knoxville’s next mayor.

Mannis, the owner of Knoxville-based Prestige Cleaners, is a Republican who has served in current Mayor Madeline Rogero’s administration as Chief Operating Officer. Boosting economic development and job growth has been central to Mannis’s campaign. His experience as a successful business owner in the city has helped him make the case that he is the best fit to continue Knoxville’s economic growth.

Kincannon, former chair of the Knox County School Board, is a Democrat who also worked for Rogero in the city government office following 10 years of service on the school board. Her campaign has been focused on continuing Rogero’s goals of making Knoxville a more livable city. Expanding urban wilderness, ensuring safe neighborhoods and combating climate change at a local level are among her priorities.

The two mayoral candidates list homelessness, affordable housing and education on their websites as key priorities and issues they hope to improve as mayor.

However, a major disagreement in the campaign has been on the zoning ordinance change, known as Recode Knoxville. The change in the zoning ordinance, opposed by Mannis and favored by Kincannon, reshaped the decades-old map that determined Knoxville’s land usage zoning.

Also on the ballot are four city council races, three of which are city-wide and one is for the District 5 seat. 

The candidates who made it through the at-large primaries are Lynne Fugate and Charles Lomax Jr. (Seat A), David Hayes and Janet Testerman (Seat B) and Amy Midis and Amelia Parker (Seat C). Charles Al-Bawi and Charles Thomas are also on the ballot in the District 5 election.

Candidates Al-Bawi, Hayes and Parker are part of the City Council Movement, a local organization aiming to elect progressive city council members.

Knoxville’s city-wide election turnout pales in comparison to presidential election year turnout. Just under 19,000 of the 93,000 registered voters participated in the August primary. Information about how and where to vote in Tuesday’s election can be found on the official Knox County city website.

Edited by Maddie Torres and Ainsley Kelso

Featured image courtesy of Creative Commons

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Class of '23, Journalism and Political Science major