While non-partisan elections may turn out partisan, Republicans and Democrats can do complicated switcheroos.
First, forget traditional party labels. Don't assume, just because this is Republican East Tennessee, that party identification dictates results in local elections. Mastering this concept is essential to success in understanding Knoxville politics, and Democrats who are flexible can do quite well.
Case in point: Knox County Executive Tommy Schumpert is an affable Democrat who has benefited from the near-unanimous support of the deep-pocketed Brahmins of the GOP to get elected twice over Republican opposition. Personality, personal relationships and staying on the good side of The Powers That Be have kept Schumpert, who does not plan to run again, behind the big desk on the sixth floor of the City County Building.
Second, remember the two Grand Divisions of local governmentcity and countyand be mindful that the twain seldom meet (except for a couple of relatively recent forays by city employees elected to County Commission, but that's another story).
Cast of Characters
City and County Officials
State and Federal Officials