On Saturday Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett announced his candidacy for the 2nd Congressional District seat in East Tennessee from which Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan (R-TN-02) announced his retirement earlier this week.
Burchett, who is term limited in his current job, becomes the second major candidate in the Republican primary to replace Duncan. On Thursday, State Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City) announced his candidacy for the seat.
Several hundreds supporters attended Burchett’s announcement, held at the popular Vols Market in Knoxville.
“During his speech, the candidate listed off successes during his time as mayor. One of those was cutting the county’s debt by $50 million,” WKRN reported:
A big portion of his speech focused on improving health care for veterans.
“I owe everything I have in my life but my salvation to the people that fought for our country,” said Burchett.
“It’s tough for those guys. They come back wounded. They come back mentally challenged,” said Dennis Dunn.
Dunn is a Vietnam veteran. He said Mayor Burchett shares his same values and will get things done in Congress.
Prior to his announcement, there had been some speculation that Burchett would take on Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee in 2018.
Saturday’s announcement, however, makes it clear that Burchett will be competing in a different primary next year — the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District.
With State Rep. Jimmy Matlock in that race already, Burchett will have a fight on his hands, with at least one long-time Republican elected official. Others may join the race in the near future.
For many years, it had long been expected that Jimmy Duncan’s son, John. J. Duncan III, would eventually seek to take his father’s place when he retired. However, a financial scandal a few years ago at least temporarily derailed the younger Duncan’s political career. It is unclear if enough time has passed for him to re-establish the political momentum he had prior to the scandal, or if he will attempt to succeed his father in Congress in 2018.
In June, Democrat Joshua Williams, a clinical psychologist, announced his candidacy for his party’s primary, but his odds of winning the general election in November 2018 should he become the Democratic nominee are low. The area has been represented by a Republican in Congress for over one hundred and fifty successive years, since 1866, the year after the Civil War ended.
A Republican with the last name of Duncan has represented the district for over fifty years.
John J. “Jimmy” Duncan has represented the 2nd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives since he won a special election in 1988 to replace his father, John J. Duncan, Sr., who died in office. The elder Duncan had served in Congress since 1965.