Two Former Knox County Republican Chairman Battling for a Judgeship? Are They Both Really Republican?

Ray Jenkins, Knox County Republican Chairman 2009-2012 has announced that he is a candidate for Knox County Circuit Judge Division I. Judge Dale Workman has announced he will retire at the end of his current term, August 31, 2014. Translation, Workman will not be a candidate in 2014 for another 8 year term.

Ray Jenkins, the only announced candidate for Knox County Circuit Court Judge Division I

Ray Jenkins, the only announced candidate for Knox County Circuit Court Judge Division I

Billy J. Stokes, another former Knox County Republican Chairman from back in the 1980’s has let it be known that he is considering a run. In fact on Monday November 11, 2013 Georgiana Vines of the Big Metal Shed on the Hill reported here that Stokes is expected to announce this week that he WILL run. I assume since Jenkins has already announced than Stokes is looking to take him out in the Republican primary.

Stokes has a history of not being a loyal Republican. He worked for Governor Don Sundquist as a top aide in the first term of the Governor’s administration. All that most people remember of Sundquist was his income tax proposal shortly after being reelected in 1998. Also, in 1998, Stokes actively campaigned and assisted Democrat Darryl Fansler in his election win over REPUBLICAN Wayne Houser for Knox County Chancellor. Stokes challenged Representative Jamie Hagood for State Senate in a Republican Primary on August 5, 2004. In a campaign mired in mud slinging by the Stokes campaign, Hagood won with nearly two thirds of the vote. In this letter dated October 19, 2006 to County Commissioner John Mills and copied to Commissioner John Schmidt and Phil Guthe, Stokes wrote about his failed campaign for Senator and his damaged credibility and reputation.

In 2011, with at least two solid Republican candidates for Knoxville Mayor, Stokes actively supported and endorsed Madeline Rogero, a very liberal leaning hard line Democrat. Here Stokes name is listed as an endorser from the Westmoreland neighborhood for Rogero. On April 22, 2013 (this year) Stokes was written about in a local community give away bird cage liner paper and one of the quotes attributed to him by “the writer” of the article “…Madeline Rogero was by far the best candidate in that field of three. A chief executive needs to be a competent manager….” As I recall there were five candidates, not sure where or how the field got reduced to three. Anyway!

*In the unlikely event that the 2006 letter or the 2011 postcard disappear from the internet. I have photographic copies of them. The Georgiana Vines column will always be available at the Big Metal Shed on the Hill and/or on the archives at the Knox County Public Library.

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