Saturday, April 08, 2006

New campaign cards

People around District 2 who haven't seen me out and about yet are likely to see me on a street near you handing out cards that look like this.

They are the creation of my wife. I think they are unique and attention-grabbing, and a testament to her ingenuity.

This just goes to show that wives are the best thing to have around in a local campaign.

Tennessee Confidential and donating to the campaign

I throughly enjoyed appearing on Tennessee Confidential yesterday with State Representative (may he one day be Governor) Stacey Campfield, along with Division IV Court Judge Candidate David Lee. For those who missed it, eminent domain abuse (a hot button issue, despite what the News-Sentinel and certain people in county and city government may say) and the lack of ability of certain people in the judicial system were the primary topics of the program. Clearly, the callers enjoyed the discussion, and I was gratified by the expressions of support, especially within the 2nd District. I also want to thank David Lee for his support, and the connections he provided to me after the show. (Note to David Lee: I called the CPA, but he hasn't called me back yet.)

Had it been up to me, we would have had another hour to discuss many more important issues facing Knox County-there was so much more I wanted to talk about and I wanted to give the people more time to share their concerns. I'm hoping that I'll have another opportunity to do that on Confidential in the near future. In the mean time, I'll be posting campaign appearances on the blog, and you can be assured that I'll be pounding the pavement all over the district.

Regulars and others will now note that there is a button in the sidebar of the blog for you to make a donation to the campaign. If you are interested in making a donation, you can click on the "donation" link to the right. At least one person has rightly pointed out that Nicole's concerns about revealing our address are somewhat unfounded, since you can look up my address on the internet anyway. Fair enough. After consulting with the Mrs., those of you who must send a check by mail can do so by mailing it to:

Elect David Oatney
600 East Inskip Drive
# G202
Knoxville, Tennessee 37912

Of course, you can always click on the donation button right here on the blog. I want to thank everyone for their wonderful expressions of support and, for some of you, your willingness to donate.

God willing, I intend to see this candidacy through-right to the district convention, if necessary. I believe I can beat Mark Harmon-Mr. Harmon makes a big deal about being so strong on "disability issues." I am a walking/rolling disability issue! (I'd love to see his face when he first gets a load of me.)

I hope all of my loyal readers will also stand with me, and who knows-stranger things have happened, and maybe we can take this thing all the way to the City-County building.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Contributions-Treasurer would help-website update

Adam Graham writes:

David, might be nice to let people know where they can send contributions.

Adam has a very good point, of course. As of this morning, I don't yet have a campaign bank account, but I do intend to get one-I need to seek the advice of a few political veterans today as to where the best place is to put your money that you might so graciously agree to contribute.

Nicole says she feels uncomfortable publishing our home address on the internet, since that is (as of this moment) the only place to mail contributions to. I share her concern because as we are all too sadly aware, there are people out there who might wish us ill, especially if this campaign actually takes off. More than that, though, I am afraid there are some lunatics who frequent the internet along with the teaming millions of decent human beings.

As soon as a campaign account is set up, you'll know about it. In the mean time, later today we'll set up a PayPal account where those who can do so will be able to donate and the money will be held in escrow until our campaign fund is formally set up.

All this talk about money reminds me that in this campaign, at this moment, I am the candidate, chairman, and treasurer. It would really help if we had someone come forward who could volunteer to serve as Campaign Treasurer. If you can do this, especially if you live in the 2nd Commission district, please send me an e-mail.

Nicole and I should have the campaign website set up in the next day or two-we are creating it by hand. As I write this, I am looking at some of the files that will be on the new site. AS soon as it is finished, the link will be posted here-feel free to pass it around!


How it will affect the balance of power remains to be seen, but The Tennessean highlighted the potentially huge changes coming to both Houses of the General Assembly this year as a result of the several members (roughly one in ten) choosing not to seek re-election.

A large number of these are Republicans, six from East Tennessee. This year looks to be a good year for the GOP in the legislature, but it is a fair question to ask: How will the national mood effect Tennessee races? Unless the situation changes dramatically between now and November, things do not look good for Republicans in Congress. Very often, such races have a coat-tail effect that punishes local leaders of the same party even though the local leaders may have done a fine job in their posts. It remains to be seen if the coat-tail effect will trickle down to the legislature.

One thing Tennessee Republicans do have going for them is a strong independent streak that runs through Tennesseans to buck the trend. If there is one place the GOP could buck the national trend, it is Tennessee.

Oatney on the air

My first media appearance of the 2006 Knox County Commission election campaign will be this afternoon, Friday April 7th, on Tennessee Confidential with State Representative Stacey Campfield on Southern Roots Radio, 1180AM WVLZ. The show will be from 4-5pm.

In addition to listening over the airwaves, anyone can hear the broadcast at

We'll be taking calls, and I really want to hear what issues you the people want to see and hear addressed by Knox County. I want to hear from everyone, but if you live in the 2nd District, I especially want to hear from you.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I am a candidate

Since so many readers have come to know me through my blog writing, I thought that my blog was the appropriate first place to announce what happened this morning. I rolled in my electric wheelchair into the side entrance of the Old Knox County Courthouse and took the elevator upstairs. When I got there I rolled into the office of the Knox County Election Commission and presented my Certification of Write-In Candidacy to the Election Officer.

I am officially a Republican candidate for Knox County Commissioner for District 2, Seat A.

This seat is currently occupied by incumbent Republican David Collins.

Until the Supreme Court ruling last week, I had every intention of voting in the Primary to support Commissioner Collins. The Court ruled, as Tennessee readers already know, that the Term Limits laws passed in Shelby and Knox Counties in 1994 were constitutional, but being so close to the May Primary, the State Election Commission ruled that the ballots, complete with now-ineligible County Commissioners' names, must be accepted as-is and the election must go on as scheduled.

Write-in candidates are now either going to win their parties' nominations, or be "kingmakers" if the parties choose someone else.

I never dreamed just a couple of weeks ago that I would be in this position. It is true that I have always wanted to run for political office. However, I never thought I would get the opportunity, I believed I would just spend my life writing about others who do. Then along comes the Tennessee Supreme Court closing the door on others, perhaps unfairly, and opening the door to a little man like me. Many of the incumbent Commissioners have impressive biographies and lots of business connections in the community. My biography is not impressive, and the people I know-well, I know them because I am the kind of person who makes myself be known. When you live life with a disability, that is what you have to do to get by and have a chance to make it in life.

What I really want to focus on are the issues that matter to me and to the people of the 2nd District, to Knox Countians, and to East Tennesseans. In the coming days, I will have a website operational, and I will continue to blog here about issues and the campaign. Don’t be surprised in the days and weeks ahead if you don’t see me in your neighborhood or hear me on your radio. At the moment, my campaign has no bank account, and has total assets of zero dollars, so both dollars and volunteers to help canvas the district are always going to be welcomed.

So who should write me in for the Republican Primary May 2nd, or in early voting beginning April 12th?

If you live in the 2nd Commission district and you believe:

The issue of the wheel tax needs to be re-examined so that Knox County residents have more choices in how they pay for their schools and services, as opposed to merely “wheel tax or property tax,” write in DAVID OATNEY.

If you want county property taxes kept low enough for a working family to afford a home in Knox County, write in DAVID OATNEY.

If you want the County to have Eminent Domain legislation that favors the rights of the property owner first, then fight for it and write in DAVID OATNEY.

Maybe disability issues are important to you because you have a disability or live with or love someone who does. You want someone in county government who has an understanding of disability issues, not just someone who claims to-you absolutely need to write in DAVID OATNEY.

If you are pro-life, and look for pro-life candidates to support for all positions in government, you want to vote for the most pro-life candidate in the State of Tennessee, and that means you will want to write in DAVID OATNEY.

If you are just tired of government that is unresponsive to you and you want the man you need to talk to answering the phone (or to be there) you need to write in DAVID OATNEY.

I can think of lots of reasons why people should write me in for the District 2 (A) Seat in the GOP Primary. If you can think of a few more, e-mail me at

And write in DAVID OATNEY for County Commissioner for District 2, Seat A in the Knox County Republican Primary on May 2nd.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Raymond Brown throws support to Bryson for Governor

I received the following press release from Raymond Brown this afternoon;

Cleveland, TN – Dr. Raymond Brown Republican candidate fro Governor today withdrew from the Governor’s race and endorsed State Senator Jim Bryson. Brown issued the following statement:

“I have decided not to be a candidate for governor. Senator Bryson is a conservative and intelligent family man who represents the values of the people of Tennessee. He will provide the voters a clear choice and will make an outstanding governor.

“My wife, Donice, and I appreciate the support and kind words of encouragement from many people all over our great state. We enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people from so many parts of Tennessee.

“I would like to especially thank Rep. Beth Harwell and Mr. Jim Henry for their advice and support over the last several months. I was willing to serve if needed, but I am grateful that we have a qualified conservative candidate for all of us to get behind and get elected.

“My primary calling is to help bring healing to hurting families. I give Senator Bryson my full support.”

As the Election Turns-Governor's race

Today's big news on As the Election Turns deflects away from the Knox County Commission race for a moment and instead rejoices in the fact that Tennessee Republicans now have our long-awaited candidate for Governor. State Senator Jim Bryson formally announced that he will run against Governor Phil Bredesen and seek to right the Ship of State.

Not only is it good to have a conservative in the race, I believe Bryson can win if his campaign is managed properly. As Terry Frank points out, he is certainly off to a good start.

He may have a Primary opponent in August-Raymond Brown is a Cleveland-based Christian sex therapist, also very conservative, and he has actually been mulling a run for some time now. He only has a couple of days left to file, but it is he who was the potential candidate I blogged about in January who e-mailed me personally. At that time I kept his name anonymous. I hope Mr. Brown does run. I think a contested Primary is a very good sign of Republican Party health, and I'd like to hear more from Mr. Brown in the first place.

In other news, the first write-in candidate for my Commission district filed papers this morning-yet the press is not saying who he or she is. I may call the Election Commission to find out.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Walking in the valley of decision

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. -Joel 3:14

Today is my day in the Valley of Decision. Some time in the next few days, Nicole and I will decide together whether we will proceed with a campaign for me to be elected as a Knox County Commissioner for the 2nd Commission district (A). The unique set of circumstances, over which none of us had any control, has opened up an opportunity for election that none of us could have forseen. Because of the Tennessee Supreme Court ruling regarding the validity of county term limit ballot measures, I am in a position to make an impact merely by circulating my own name.

All of my life I have wanted the opportunity to run for political office. Now the first such opportunity seems to have been placed on a silver platter and paraded before me, but that doesn't make the decision any easier. The magnitude and the impact of this decision on my family and friends has made me come to appreciate what some people choose to endure when they choose to enter public life.

I am asking everyone to pray for me, pray for Nicole, pray for our home in the coming days, pray that we make a decision that is right not only for ourselves, but for the people of the 2nd Commission district and all of Knox County.

I want to especially thank State Representative Stacey Campfield for his prayers, advice, and support during this entire process.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Testing support

Quite a few folks have inquired of me whether I am willing to run for one of the Knox County Commission seats that may be forcefully vacated as a result of the Tennessee Supreme Court ruling last week. As locals are now quite aware, there is mass confusion among certain elected officials as well as the voting public, as evidenced on the local Sunday talk shows, as we now know the ballots can't be changed in time for the Primary, and because of early voting, polling will actually begin nine days from now.

If anyone happened to see Inside Tennessee or Tennessee This Week yesterday, you know exactly what I mean about the officialdom being in a confused, even dazed, state of mind. For once, I believe them all when they say that they do not know what to do next, I am not sure that I would know either.

There are some things that anyone interested in seeing me stand for a Commission seat need to know, and I am all for being completely frank with both the Party and the electorate:

1. At present, I have absolutely zero money with which to begin a political campaign. If some of you Republicans and others in Knox County really want to see me run, I need help, and I need it big-time. Having worked on political campaigns before, I have a real understanding of what it takes to run a successful campaign, and unfortunately, one thing it does take is a lot of money and not a few volunteers. Nicole and I don't have the money to fund a campaign-if people really believe in me, they'll need to fund that campaign, because I can't. Now if I actually get elected and have a bit of a war chest, perhaps I won't need as much help next time around (but of course, help would always be appreciated anytime).

2. As many of you who read this blog regularly are probably aware, Nicole and I are looking for a house, and we have been looking for some time. I have not limited that search to the 2nd Commission District, largely because the price of real estate in this general area is sky high campared to other places in Knox County and surrounding counties. Nicole and I do not own a home at present, and we want one badly-at a payment we can actually afford. We don't even care if the house needs a little work, if we can afford the payment (our credit is fabulous and we don't want to ruin it) we are interested. We've found several places in East Knox County, Jefferson County, and Hamblen County for $70,000 or less-the biggest issue with some places has been accessability for me. We have yet to find a house that is reasonable that is actually worth buying here in the 2nd District-and that is the one thing I won't do is hold up buying a home to run. However, if anyone knows of a house in the area that I don't know about, feel free to let me know.

3. I'd like to hear from two groups of people:

Residents of the 2nd Commission District-What issues are important to you, and what are you looking for in a candidate for County Commission? What things would you like to see your County Commissioner address? If I were elected, how could I help you deal with things that affect your life every day that Knox County should be addressing? How many of you would support me if I ran?

Local Republicans-I've heard from a few of you telling me that I ought to run. How many of you actually think this and are willing to back me up? I want to find out just how much support inside the Party there would be for an Oatney candidacy-call this a sort of internet straw poll.

2nd Commission District residents as well as Knox County Republicans can either comment below, or send me an e-mail at want to hear from you whether it is positive, negative, or in-between.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

To celebrate the start of baseball season (aka the New Year), I'd like everyone to enjoy this footage of Boston church bells chiming Take Me Out to the Ballgame. After all, as we are all aware, the Almighty is a baseball fan.

NOTE: I'm not a Red Sox fan, although it was nice to see the Red Sox finally win the World Series. I am a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, have been since I was old enough to hold a bat or throw a ball-but I couldn't find any old footage of Harry Caray singing at Wrigley. If anyone has any such footage, please feel free to share it.

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