Race for Knoxville Mayor: Campaigns in high gear with 20 days until election

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Team Mannis and Team Kincannon are both working to continue putting their message out to undecided or unmotivated voters, while spreading another message: The importance of voting early.

Meanwhile, we’re 20 days away from a mayor-elect.

Nick Poker, a Kincannon supporter, says since he moved to the city, he’s seen a lot of fast redevelopment. While he supports economic development, he believes Knoxville’s next mayor should exhibit “thoughtful planning” and focus on maintaining affordability for existing members of the Knoxville community.

RELATED: Early voting for Knoxville mayor, council ends Oct. 31

He called the concept responsible growth. He believes Kincannon, through taking the time to meet with his neighborhood association and his family, one-on-one, has the skills to follow through. He also maintained that she’s the best problem solver in the race due to her “pragmatic answers” throughout the campaign.

Put simply, Archie Ellis wants Knoxville to reach its full potential. He believes a candidate with experience as a business owner is best to fulfill that goal. It’s why he’s supporting Eddie Mannis.

“Government is a business,” he said. “A $335 million business for this town. It’s important for our mayor to have private and public sector experience.”

He also believes Mannis is best poised to handle an economic cooling, or recession. Due to Mannis’ business background, Ellis thinks he’d be able to plan for a downturn. Experience aside, Mannis’ character is another factor that brought on Ellis’ support. “This is a man who has given back to this city… he’s not going to be an elitist mayor. He’ll be a mayor for all people,” Ellis added.

RELATED: Candidates answer questions, more coverage at Your Local Election Headquarters coverage.

While Ellis fully believes Mannis will be able to foster more growth in the city, he also believes he’ll nurture existing business and encourage a younger workforce to stay in the city.

“I’m tired of Knoxville being someplace where people leave at an early age,” he said. “I want them to come back. I think this guy has got what it takes to really do what’s necessary to make it an attractive market for younger people to stay.”

Mannis said Wednesday he and his team are excited about where they are, their momentum, and their chances in the general election.

Both teams are spending the next three weeks, planning events, logistics and staffing for polling locations, and reviewing final-weeks strategies.

Mannis revisited some of the common themes of his campaign’s platform. Economic development is at the top of the list.

“We’ve got to keep that momentum that we’ve had for several years downtown and move it to other parts of the city,” he said.

He mentioned other plans, outlined on his website, for affordable housing, homelessness, public safety priorities, as well as a strategic plan for the City of Knoxville, which he believes will better guide city leaders for years to come when making investment and other major decisions.

Kincannon and her team also feel good about their chances going into the election.

“I want to focus on strong neighborhoods and and economy that works for everybody and connecting families to opportunity,” Kincannon said.

Kincannon has also detailed her approach to each of the popular issues posed to the candidates throughout the election on her website.

She believes her extensive public sector experience makes her the most qualified to continue the path the city is currently headed. Kincannon sees her 10 years on the Knox County School Board, balancing a more than $400 million budget and more than 8,000 employees, and dealing with a range of issues impacting children’s education as the “single biggest difference” between the two.

Kincannon also touted her three years working for the Rogero Administration, promoting equity and inclusiveness throughout the city.

Mannis and Kincannon both respect one another, and don’t shy away from saying so. But they see their experience, and their potential as mayor, very differently.

Early voting wraps up Oct. 31. Election day for all City of Knoxville races is Nov. 5.

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