There is a Sessions Judge Div. 2 Juvenile Court position open in Blount County. There are five candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the May 6 Primary.
Let’s back up to 1998, the first and last judicial race that I was involved in as a Campaign Manager. I managed a Republican nominee that had survived a multi candidate primary. I was brought on to manage the campaign from post primary to the General Election. On May 29, 1998 a REVISED JUDICIAL ETHICS COMMITTEE ADVISORY OPINION NO. 98-3 was issued. The Advisory opinion discussed that a non incumbent Judge not falsely represent themselves.
The Advisory opinion says,
It would not be a violation of Cannon 5A(3)(d)(iii) if the advertisement read as follows:
Experienced, Fair, Committed
Elect Candidate’s Name
Circuit Judge, Part II;
Experienced, Fair, Committed
Circuit Court Judge, Part II;
Experienced, Fair Committed
Candidate for Circuit Court Judge, Part II
The key is that all advertisements must have ELECT, FOR or CANDIDATE on the advertisement.
Let us now look at all five candidates signs in alphabetical order,
As I began looking into this race. Many other questions have come to mind.
Tab Burkhalter is a sitting Blount County Commissioner and a member of the Blount County Republican Executive Committee. The ability to serve in both capacities while running as a candidate for a judicial position may be a violation.
Lance Evans accepted two campaign contributions back in the Summer of 2013. The contributions were reported in financial disclosures, after it came to light, I believe the Treasurer filed an affidavit that said the money was returned. However, in the expense portion of a financial disclosure does not reflect the refunds being returned.
Kenlyn Foster, according to her voting record with the Blount County Election Commission shows that she voted as a Democrat in both the Obama presidential preference poll (Primary) in March 2008 and the State primary in August 2008 when Mike Meares was a candidate.
Tammy Hicks, works in the Knox County District Attorney Generals office in DUI Sessions Court for a long time. On her website is states that Mike Flynn didn’t have any openings so she took the job in Knox. Unconfirmed sources indicate that Hicks has twice applied for openings with Mike Flynn and has not been hired. Additionally, Hicks is currently accepting MAJOR donations from Knox Co. DUI lawyers. Tommy Hindman and his wife gave 1500 apiece (maximum allowed), same goes for Marcos Garza and his homemaker wife (total of $3000), Steve Oberman gave $500. Reports indicate that her reception was a who’s who of Knox County attorneys.
Jim Snyder, resigned as Blount County Republican Party Chairman prior to announcing and becoming a candidate for Sessions Judge Div. 2 Juvenile Judge. Snyder is the only candidate to comply with the Ethics Committee’s 1998 Revised opinion on judicial candidate advertisements? Snyder has the most diverse experience in Blount County Sessions Div. 2 Juvenile Court.