J. Michael Holloway, an independent on the ballot in Tennessee’s 30th State House district, on Wednesday announced his endorsement and support for Joda Thongnopnua, the Democratic nominee seeking the open seat.
Holloway, an attorney and East Brainerd native, stated that while his name is on the ballot, he was urging voters in Tennessee’s 30th State House district to vote for Mr. Thongnopnua for the seat. After picking up papers and subsequently qualifying for the ballot in April, Mr. Holloway said he determined that Mr. Thongnopnua is the best candidate for the job.
Mr. Holloway said at a press conference at the election office, “Over the past several months, it’s become clear to me that Joda is the best choice for District 30 and Tennessee. He has demonstrated he will show up, work hard, and get things done for working families in our community. Although I will be on the ballot on Election Day, I encourage every voter in District 30 to vote Joda for State Representative.”
Holloway cited Mr. Thongnopnua’s experience running a local non-profit and working with elected leaders from both parties as reasons for supporting him. As an independent, he said he was choosing to support the candidate "he believed would work across the aisle and focus on problem-solving over partisanship."
Mr. Holloway said, “Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I am not a partisan person. I have voted for candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as candidates from third parties and Independent candidates. I believe in Joda’s vision and his commitment to work with people of all walks of life and across party lines. Politics is as divided as ever and we need public servants willing to bridge that divide and go to work for Tennesseans. I’m confident that Joda will do that and I'm confident that Joda is the kind of leader we need.”
Mr. Holloway said he had intended on seeking the seat aggressively prior to the announcement of an addition to their family. He and his wife, Donna, are expecting their first child in early November. While the deadline to remove his name from the ballot has passed, Mr. Holloway said he would be out on the campaign trail in the final weeks of the election to let voters know of his support for the Thongnopnua candidacy.
Mr. Thongnopnua said, after discussing the race with Mr. Holloway, it was clear that the two candidates had several values and priorities in common.
He said, “I am honored by Michael’s support. He’s a capable attorney and a guy who has the best interests of his community at heart. When we sat down and talked, I couldn’t help but notice how many priorities we both shared. From an opportunity to continue reforming our criminal justice system to ensuring every Tennessean has a shot at the American Dream, Michael and I are on the same page.”
Esther Helton, East Ridge City Council member, is running as a Republican for the seat being vacated by Marc Gravitt, who was elected to head the register of deeds office.