Following in the footsteps of Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Glenn Jacobs – better known to WWE fans as Kane – will be the next mayor of Knox County in Tennessee.
After winning the Republican primary in a tightly contested race earlier this year, Jacobs, who has worked with WWE for more than two decades, easily defeated Democrat Linda Haney to win the Tennessee county’s top political office.
— Brittany Tarwater (@WVLTBrittany) August 3, 2018
After polls closed at 8 p.m. ET, early and absentee voting showed Jacobs had a nearly 2-1 lead over Haney, resulting in the race being called fairly early.
JUST IN: WATE 6 On Your Side is calling the Knox County mayoral race for former WWE wrestler Glenn "Kane" Jacobs. Early and absentee voting showed him with a nearly 2-1 lead over Democrat Linda Haney. https://t.co/vp9IbqIEsx
— WATE 6 On Your Side (@6News) August 3, 2018
While many may consider it odd that the WWE star – frequently portrayed as the demonic brother of longtime talent The Undertaker – is entering the political ring (pun intended), his foray into government has been a long time coming. Jacobs, 51, has been interested in politics for more than a decade, including endorsing Ron Paul for president during the 2008 election.
Since announcing his candidacy in March 2017, Jacobs has sporadically appeared on WWE programming, including competing as recently as last month as part of a “Team Hell No” reunion tour with Daniel Bryan.
Haney, Jacobs’ political rival, attempted to use his involvement with WWE against him.
“I was really stunned to find out he was still pursuing it. I thought it was in the past,” Haney said last month. “I thought in this crucial time he’d want to be here and be with the people.
“Being an entertainer doesn’t make you a political figure. It may get you some votes, but I believe people want someone with common sense and who is (ready to lead).”
While Jacobs hasn’t officially retired from WWE, he did commit fully to serving Knox County prior to the his victory.
“After I am elected mayor, I’ll be mayor. I may still do a few special things [with WWE],” Jacobs said. “I’ve done it for 23 years now and have quite a history, it’ll always be part of my life. I think the question is, if I am taking it seriously, and of course I am. I wouldn’t (be running) if not.
“I’m sure some people will say that (I’m not focused) and some others will say that’s the coolest thing ever,” he continued. “Again, you can’t make everyone happy. You just do what you can and that’s it … you’re always going to catch criticism no matter what you do.”
On his campaign website, Jacobs references several key issues for his political platform, including low taxes, improved education, building up infrastructure, and creating jobs.
In a clever nod to his WWE character, Jacobs’ campaign slogan is “lighting the way for our future” and features a flame.
In addition to Jacobs, Daniel Rodimer, who briefly wrestled with WWE in the mid-2000s, launched a campaign for a state senate seat in Nevada. Rodimer, also a Republican, was defeated in the primary election earlier this year.
Jacobs’ win marks the third time a high-profile WWE star has held a political office. Ventura served as mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota in the early 1990s and eventually served as Minnesota’s governor from 1999-2003. While he has not held office since 2003, Ventura has entertained a possible third-party presidential bid in recent years.
After serving for years as an executive for WWE, Linda McMahon launched two unsuccessful bids for a U.S. Senate seat. McMahon currently serves in President Donald Trump’s cabinet as the head of the Small Business Administration.
Of course, Trump himself has played a significant role in WWE’s history. After hosting WrestleMania IV and V at his Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, N.J., Trump was a part of the “Battle of the Billionaires” storyline for WrestleMania 23 and was inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame at WrestleMania 29 in 2013.