By Steve Hunley, Publisher
Edward Nelson was the Democratic candidate last year for the 19th District seat in the Tennessee General Assembly against Representative Dave Wright. Until quite recently, he was also Vice Chair of the Knox County Democratic Party. Nominated and lavished with praise by none other than Rene Hoyos, last year’s Democratic candidate against now-Congressman Tim Burchett, Nelson has suddenly disappeared like a slice of cake at a kid’s birthday party. Calls made to the members of the local Democratic Executive Committee Board of Governors didn’t reveal much except for a group of people not at all eager to answer a few simple questions.
Nelson was proudly listed as the Knox County Democratic Party’s Vice Chair until recently when his name went mysteriously missing. State Representative Gloria Johnson, offered few explanations for Nelson’s disappearance, but did say he suffers from health issues. A curious thing, that. No explanation as to precisely why Eddie Nelson is apparently no longer the Vice Chairman of Knox County Democratic Party, but a few other members of the Board of Governors offered up the information that he suffers from a health issue.
One member of the Board of Governors did admit Nelson had resigned as Vice Chairman of the Knox County Democratic Party, while another speculated he had taken a new job. Every finger pointed to party chair LaKenya Middlebrook. Focus reporters and staff were repeatedly told, “You need to talk to LaKenya.”
Clearly, local Democrats weren’t very chatty on the subject of Eddie Nelson and his sudden disappearance from party councils.
Nelson was supposed to be a credible candidate against Dave Wright, a popular Knox County commissioner. In the end, Wright won the general election with 72% of the vote. Still, local Democrats marveled at Nelson’s House run. Hoyos, who managed to do only slightly better inside Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District by winning 34%, predicts our district will be blue within five election cycles. Perhaps Wright’s might turn blue within twenty. Hoyos nominated Nelson to serve as the Knox County Democratic Party’s vice chair and praised him to the heavens, if they believed in the Heavens. Nelson’s campaign for the State House was managed by the young woman who later charged Representative Rick Staples with inappropriate behavior. According to sources, that same young woman was in the room when Eddie Nelson was allowed to resign as Vice Chair of the local Democratic Party following allegations made by another woman.
Wherever Eddie Nelson has gone, he has gone quietly. The sound of silence by local Democrats has been deafening. There have been no bold “MeToo” moments, no fiery denunciations of bad behavior by men; only whispers of health issues. Even State Representative Gloria Johnson who has published a video tour of her journey in Nashville to introduce a resolution to expel David Byrd from the Tennessee House of Representatives for inappropriate behavior with women has only murmured some comment about Nelson’s health issue. Neither Johnson nor Hoyos has made any statement of support for the unknown woman, much less said if they believed her. Neither did Rick Staples’s accuser, who has not uttered a single word of support. Whatever happened to Eddie Nelson apparently doesn’t really matter. After all, according to Democratic party officials we interviewed, he has a health issue and resigned. The Focus will continue to pursue this matter to determine if there were other reasons Mr. Nelson resigned.