Tim Burchett

Timothy Floyd Burchett (born August 25, 1964) is an American politician who is currently the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2019.

Tim Burchett
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byJimmy Duncan
Mayor of Knox County
In office
September 1, 2010  September 1, 2018
Preceded byMike Ragsdale
Succeeded byGlenn Jacobs
Member of the Tennessee Senate
from the 7th district
In office
January 1999  September 1, 2010
Preceded byBud Gilbert
Succeeded byStacey Campfield
Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives
from the 18th district
In office
January 1995  January 1999
Preceded byMaria Peroulas Draper[1]
Succeeded bySteven Buttry[2]
Personal details
Timothy Floyd Burchett

(1964-08-25) August 25, 1964
Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Allison Beaver
(m. 2008; div. 2012)

Kelly Kimball (m. 2014)
EducationUniversity of Tennessee (BS)
WebsiteHouse website

A Republican, Burchett was formerly mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. He previously served in the Tennessee General Assembly, first in the Tennessee House of Representatives, in which he represented Tennessee's 18th District.[3] He later served in the Tennessee State Senate, in which he represented Tennessee's District 7, part of Knox County.

Early life and education

Burchett is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was born in 1964 and attended West Hills Elementary School, Bearden Junior High School, and Bearden High School.[4][5] After graduating from Bearden High School in 1982, he enrolled in the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he earned a B.S. degree in education.[4][5]

State legislature

Burchett's first election to public office was in 1994, when he won a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives. He served in the house for two two-year terms, from 1995 to 1998. In 1998, he was a successful candidate for a four-year term in the Tennessee State Senate, representing the 7th senatorial district. He succeeded Clyde Coulter "Bud" Gilbert.[6] He twice won re-election to the state senate, serving a total of three four-year terms, from 1999 to 2010.[4][5]


In 1999, Burchett received national media attention for sponsoring a bill to legalize the eating of roadkill, that is, wild animals killed by vehicles, before notifying the county game warden.[7][8] He defended the proposal as a "common-sense thing" intended to prevent edible meat from being wasted. Eating roadkill was already legal – as it is in most places – but required prior notification to the county game warden. Burchett's bill allowed processing and consumption of roadkill before notifying the game warden. Burchett proposed the bill after being contacted by a constituent who had been penalized for giving a needy family the meat from a deer that his vehicle had accidentally hit on the highway.[8]

Salvia divinorum

Senator Burchett sponsored a bill in 2006 to make illegal "possessing, producing, manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to produce, manufacture, or distribute the active chemical ingredient in the hallucinogenic plant Salvia divinorum in the state of Tennessee."[9] Burchett stated, "We have enough problems with illegal drugs as it is without people promoting getting high from some glorified weed that's been brought up from Mexico. The only people I’ve heard from who are opposed to making it illegal are those who are getting stoned on it."[10] The bill was signed into law on May 19, 2006 and went into effect on July 1, 2006.[9] Burchett originally wanted to make violations a felony offense, but the bill was amended during its passage to make it a Class A misdemeanor.[11]

In a news report published shortly before the signing of the bill by Governor Phil Bredesen, Burchett was quoted as saying, "it's not that popular but I'm one of those who believes in closing the barn door before the cows get out.... in certain hands, it could be very dangerous, even lethal."[12] A store owner who had stopped selling the herb due to Burchett's bill said that he saw little point in banning salvia, "I have no idea why it's being outlawed. It's a sage. People in South America have been using it for years and years." The same report also gave the general counterargument of salvia proponents that legislation banning Salvia divinorum reflects a cultural bias, as there are fewer prohibitions on more addictive substances such as alcohol and nicotine, and questioned how effective the bill will be, pointing out that Salvia divinorum has no odor and is easy to grow, so enforcement will be difficult.[12]

Knox County Mayor

Burchett became Knox County Mayor in September 2010, succeeding Mike Ragsdale, who left office due to term limits. Earlier that year, Burchett defeated former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison in the Republican primary and then Democrat Ezra Maize in the general election.[13][14]

On February 10, 2012, Mayor Tim Burchett appeared on WBIR-TV and officially announced that the county's first "cash mob" would be held at the Emory 5 & 10 store in South Knoxville.[15] The cash mob gained national attention,[16] and was mentioned in TIME magazine.[17]

U.S. House of Representatives


2018 General election

When 30-year incumbent Jimmy Duncan announced his retirement in July 2017, Burchett entered a crowded seven-way Republican primary to succeed him. He defeated his nearest challenger, state representative Jimmy Matlock, by just under 12 percentage points. He faced Democrat Renee Hoyos in the November general election. However, the 2nd has long been a Republican stronghold. It is one of the few ancestrally Republican districts in the South; the GOP and its predecessors have held it without interruption since 1857. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+20, it is one of the most Republican districts in the nation, and tied for the second-most Republican district in Tennessee.

As expected, Burchett won the general election in a rout, taking 65.9 percent of the vote to Hoyos' 33.1 percent.[18] When he took office in January 2019, Burchett became only the seventh person (not counting caretakers) to represent the 2nd since 1909. He also ended a 54-year hold on the district by the Duncan family. John Duncan Sr. had won the seat in 1964, and was succeeded upon his death in 1988 by his son, Jimmy.


Like Duncan, Burchett has maintained a strongly fiscally conservative record.

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral History

Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tim Burchett 47,914 48.2
Republican Jimmy Matlock 35,845 36.1
Republican Sarah Ashley Nickloes 10,955 11.0
Republican Jason Emert 2,274 2.3
Republican Hank Hamblin 855 0.9
Republican Vito Sagliano 844 0.8
Republican C. David Stansberry 656 0.7
Total votes 99,343 100.0
Tennessee's 2nd congressional district, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tim Burchett 172,856 65.9
Democratic Renee Hoyos 86,668 33.1
Independent Greg Samples 967 0.4
Independent Jeffrey Grunau 657 0.3
Independent Marc Whitmire 637 0.2
Independent Keith LaTorre 349 0.1
Total votes 262,134 100.0
Republican hold


Campaign finance irregularities

In 2006 while he was a state senator Burchett failed to report six political action committee checks totaling $3,300. The Registry of Election Finance did not fine him.[21]

Two years later, in 2008, while still a State Senator, he was fined $250 for failing to disclose three PAC contributions that totaled $1,500.[21]

In 2012, an investigation into campaign finance irregularities involving Burchett's Knox County mayoral campaign fund began after the Knoxville News Sentinel published discrepancies in the campaign's financial reporting.[22]

Independent freelance writer Pam Strickland filed a citizen complaint with the Tennessee State Ethics Board. Strickland writes a weekly column for the News Sentinel. On September 6, 2012 a "show cause" was issued by the Tennessee State Board of Ethics. The vote was 4–1.[23]

Burchett blamed this third offence on his spouse, who had filed for divorce. He was not married during the first two offences. Unlike the first two offenses, a full audit and investigation was ordered on this third offense, revealing that almost $20,000 in campaign money had been misappropriated for personal use. On October 23, 2012 the State Board of Ethics decided to take no action against Burchett due to multiple corrective measures that were added before the meeting.[24]

In February 2018 the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Burchett had failed to report a $10,000 payment from a solar electric company to him on his campaign finance forms and various financial disclosure forms. The story reported that two months earlier the FBI had questioned people regarding Burchett committing income tax evasion.[25]

After the story broke, Burchett gave a statement to WBIR that he was correcting errors in his campaign financial disclosures and income tax forms, describing his failure to report all income as an "oversight".[26]

In 2013 and after his divorce, $900 in cash was left by an unnamed person for Mayor Burchett on April 1, 2013. He was out of town and asked his chief executive assistant, Diana Wilson, to deposit the money in his personal account. The bank was closed, so she placed the money in an envelope and left it under the mat on Burchett's desk. The next morning, Wilson discovered that the money was missing, and notified the authorities immediately. After days of investigating, the money was not found and no suspects had developed. The local authorities notified the mayor's chief of staff that they needed to interview all the mayor's staff members. A few hours after being notified of this, the police were notified by Burchett's office that the money had been found. The police wanted to give polygraphs to two members of Burchett's staff. He refused to allow polygraphs, and ended the investigation.[27]

Twitter incidents

Tim Burchett has maintained an active Twitter account, including posting videos summarizing events on the House floor. Burchett received negative media attention in November 2012 for an item he posted on Twitter during a Tennessee Volunteers football game, in which he tweeted that he needed to get his nephew (a high school football player who hoped to be recruited by a university football program) "some tats and a criminal record so UT will be interested." Following public criticism of the tweet that criticized the football team of the university in his county, Burchett said: "I didn't think anyone read that stupid thing. It was probably up for about five minutes."[28]

In April 2019, Burchett made controversial remarks in regards to "DIRTBAG Serbians," after he met the Kosovo Albanian leadership in Washington, DC. Despite widespread criticism, he refused to apologize and "backed up his comments" by stating he was referring to Serbian rapists.[29][30]

Personal life

In June 2008, Tim Burchett married his first wife[31] Allison Beaver in an impromptu ceremony conducted by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen.[32] In April 2012 Beaver filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences."[33] The divorce was finalized later that year.[34]


  1. "5 Aug 1994, Page 19 - The Tennessean at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  2. "4 Nov 1998, Page 6 - The Tennessean at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  3. "Tennessee House Members 99th GA". www.capitol.tn.gov. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  4. "Tennessee Senate: Tim Burchett". Tennessee Senate: 105th General Assembly (2007–2008) (website archives). Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  5. "Mayor Tim Burchett Bio". Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  6. "Our Campaigns – TN Senate 07 Race – Nov 03, 1998". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  7. Scott Barker and David Keim (August 20, 2008). "Burchett plans to run for county mayor". Knoxville News Sentinel.
  8. David Firestone (March 14, 1999). "Statehouse Journal; A Road-Kill Proposal Is Food for Jokesters". New York Times.
  9. "Senate Bill No. 3247; An Act to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 4, relative to certain hallucinogenic plants" (PDF). Public Acts 2006, Chapter 700. General Assembly of the State of Tennessee. May 2006. Archived from the original (pdf) on October 4, 2007.
  10. Nashville Bureau Reporter (April 2006). "The Senate passed (290–0) SB 3247". 8 (32). Nashville Bureau. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. Siebert, Daniel. "The Legal Status of Salvia divinorum". The Salvia divinorum Research and Information Center. Retrieved March 4, 2007.
  12. O'Rourke, Shea (May 24, 2006). "Smoking Out – Tennessee bill bans hallucinogenic herb salvia". Memphis Flyer. Archived from the original on September 9, 2008. Retrieved September 9, 2008.
  13. Mike Donila, Burchett: 'Precise plan' needed for mayor post, Knoxnews.com, August 6, 2010.
  14. Mike Donila (September 4, 2011). "One year in, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett says he delivered". Knoxville News Sentinel.
  15. http://www.wbir.com/news/article/204931/2/Cash-Mob-underway-at-Emerys-5--10
  16. News, U. S. "'Cash mobs': Flash mobs go to bat for small local businesses". U.S. News. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  17. http://www.wate.com/story/19945081/knox-countys-cash-mob-gets-a-nod-in-time-magazine
  18. Tennessee House results from CNN
  19. "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  20. "U.S. Rep. Burchett to Welcome OHCE Attendees | ARV". www.arvc.org. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  21. "Sources: FBI asks questions about Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett; mayor says 'no truth to any of it'". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  22. Sentinel), Rachel Wise (Knoxville News. "Burchett affidavit filed ahead of Tuesday hearing". www.documentcloud.org. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  23. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/sep/06/registry-burchett-needs-to-explain-campaign
  24. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/oct/23/state-board-takes-no-action-against-mayor-tim-burc
  25. "Ethics complaint: Tim Burchett never reported $10,000 payment while in state Senate". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  26. "Knox Co. Mayor calls tax mistake an 'oversight'". wbir.com. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  27. "Burchett theft case ended as cops got ready to give polygraphs". www.knoxnews.com. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  28. "Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett regrets tweet on Vols". Knoxville News Sentinel. November 10, 2012.
  29. "Congressman Burchett tweet about 'DIRTBAG' Serbians ticks off Kosovo group". Knoxville News Sentinel. June 4, 2019.
  30. https://twitter.com/timburchett/status/1136073737537765376
  31. "Sen. Burchett's getting hitched". Knoxville News Sentinel. April 22, 2008.
  32. "Sen. Tim Burchett ties the knot, Gov. Bredesen officiates". Knoxville, Tennessee: WATE-TV. June 17, 2008.
  33. Mike Donila (April 20, 2012). "Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett's wife files for divorce". Knoxville News Sentinel.
  34. {{cite news|url=http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/oct/01/mayor-burchett-estranged-wife-reach-divorce/ |title=Mayor Burchett, estranged wife reach divorce settlement |author=Jamie Satterfield |date= October 1, 2012 |newspaper=Knoxville News Sentinel


Tennessee House of Representatives
Preceded by
Maria Peroulas Draper
Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives
from the 18th district

Succeeded by
Steven Buttry
Tennessee Senate
Preceded by
Bud Gilbert
Member of the Tennessee Senate
from the 7th district

Succeeded by
Stacey Campfield
Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Ragsdale
Mayor of Knox County
Succeeded by
Glenn Jacobs
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jimmy Duncan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 2nd congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Anthony Brindisi
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Sean Casten
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