Who will win next week’s Knoxville mayoral election? One winner will be Madeline Rogero. The incumbent mayor is term limited from seeking a third term, but both candidates who made it to the general election have served in her administration which suggests that the mayor’s legacy is a popular one.
Beyond that, the two candidates have many differences including political views, experience, and style of leadership. Eddie Mannis is well known as the founder and owner of Prestige Cleaners as well as for his work with the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, Knoxville Zoo, and the Honor Air veteran non-profit among others; he also served as the city’s first Chief Operating Officer during Rogero’s first term. Indya Kincannon is also a well known figure having served for a decade on the Knox County Board of Education including a stint as chair. She also served as Special Program Manager for Mayor Rogero, managing grants, board appointments, and liaising on numerous issues. Despite differences, both share a vision of building on the success of Knoxville in the decades since the 1982 World’s Fair which has included growth and revitalization of the downtown district among others.
So each candidate has been making their case and early voting is underway. While polling is not something you see often in smaller city races, we can use the tools of Social Studio to see where candidates stand in the comments being made about them. Although it is difficult to mine down to the city level, there are some tools we can use in Social Studio to see what people are saying. For this, we create a topic profile using both candidates last names as key words. Then we will limit results to Twitter but keep languages open as some people may be talking about the candidates in languages other than English. After completing these steps, we do a search to find 145 results but many were not relevant to the candidates so we included the candidates full names as search terms and brought up 18 tweets from the past week. We are able to look at these tweets by words used in posts to see more specifically what is being said.
Some of the tweets discuss recent endorsements in the race such as former Knoxville mayor and Tennessee governor Bill Haslam’s endorsement of Mannis as well as interviews with the candidates and occasional comments from local voters. But the bottom line is that there is little conversation about the mayoral election. This is not surprising given that these mayoral elections typically have low turnout. But former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famously said that all politics is local. The reality is that mayors and city council members have power and influence over numerous things that effect the quality of life for city residents including zoning, local roads, health regulations, and more. Sparsely attended forums provide opportunities for Knoxvillians to mingle face to face with their future leaders. But of course nothing speaks louder than your vote.
Are you a registered voter living in Knoxville and want your voice heard? Check out these resources on the upcoming election. Don’t miss a chance to let your voice be heard. Staff at the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center will continue to follow these and other important stories as we move into November.