KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett is setting his sights on the future.
“Everything’s on the table,” Burchett said.
The Knoxville native and former state legislator said he has enjoyed his time in politics and is not ready to throw in the towel.
“Some folks have said take a couple years off and that’s another option. Take a couple years off, do something, then think about a race down the road. And people who say that don’t understand politics, because once you’re out, you’re out,” he said.
One of the options that he is considering is a run for Tennessee governor.
“Most of it has to do with urban versus rural and it has very little to do with party politics,” Burchett said.
Though the field of candidates is getting crowded, Burchett feels confident that his experience and appeal would set him apart.
“You’re really not seeing a populous candidate that comes from grassroots running,” he said. “So someone from East Tennessee, if you garner the majority of East Tennessee and pick up a minimum in Middle and West Tennessee, somebody could win that race.”
If he decided to run, he said he would campaign on issues like education and trade, among other things.
“Other things I bring to the table are I’m fiscally conservative and maybe I couch it in terms that the Tim Burchetts of the world understand,” Burchett said.
He also noted that his social media presence might give him an edge when addressing potential voters, particularly young people.
“The young folks, I think they get overlooked a lot,” he said. “And that’s partly because of the fact that they don’t vote, but there’s nothing that draws them to it and maybe I bring that too.”
Then there’s the other option: a possible go at Congress, with talk about the mayor someday assuming longtime Congressman Jimmy Duncan’s seat.
“Jimmy Duncan, I’ve often said, you’d have to have dynamite to blow him out of that seat,” Burchett said.
He said if the seat were to become vacant, he would also consider it.
“If that was made available, that would be an option,” he added. “But I’d have to work for it.”
Burchett admits if he were to make another run for office, fundraising would be a challenge, but he feels his grassroots platform would resonate strongly with voters.
“I don’t need all the superfluous stuff that they do, all the fluff that they need,” Burchett said. “I think my message is pretty clear. And I don’t need some New York advertising agency to help me talk to the regular folks, because I am the regular folks and I think that’s my appeal.”
Burchett says he doesn’t have a deadline at this point, but he prays about it every night and said when God tells him what his next step should be, he’ll listen.