Knox Sheriff Race: J.J. Jones vs. Randy Tyree

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(WVLT) - It's filing deadline day for those who want to be candidates for office in Knox county.

Already, one of the most talked about races is heating up.
Former Knoxville Mayor Randy Tyree has entered the sheriff's race .
His opponent Jimmie "J..J." Jones wasted no time firing the first political shot.
You'll recall Jones served as sheriff briefly this year after Hutchison left office due to term limits, but a court held Jones appointment invalid.

Volunteer TV's Rob Pratt has more on the controversy:

Tyree is no stranger to politics. He lost to Sheriff Hutchison last year.
With so little time to heal from that hard fought battle, the wounds have opened quickly in this fight.

"We've anticipated pretty much a knockdown drag out kind of campaign. It was that way last time." Randy Tyree says.

It looks like Randy Tyree is getting just what he expected. Candidate J.J. Jones issued a media release saying, "Randy Tyree is a nice guy, but it is a direct slap in the face to the citizens of Knox County for him to run for Sheriff of the third largest county in the State of Tennessee when he has had no involvement with law enforcement in the last 30 years. "

Jones went a step further, saying Tyree has "shown his inability to manage money, with large unpaid campaign debts, not to mention that only five months ago he was sued by First Tennessee Bank for an unpaid debt of $28,0000. It would be a travesty to have him responsible for the $60 million operating budget..."

Tyree responds, "I was personally a little bit disappointed in J.J. that he would go this route. You know this is politics and you have to put it out there. Particularly I was disappointed because what he said was not factual."

The suit, which is filed in Knox County General Sessions court is actually for a debt of just over 24-thousand dollars. Tyree says it has nothing to do with prior campaign debt. He says it's personal and he is contesting it in court.

We tried to interview J.J. Jones for this story, but he told us he can't do anything campaign-related while he's on the clock as a sheriff's department employee.

For a complete list of everyone who's running for all county offices, click on the link below.

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