Kernell, a Democrat, was first elected to the 89th Tennessee General Assembly in 1974. He lives in Memphis and represented the 93rd district (a portion of Shelby County). He was Vice Chair of the Government Operations Committee and was a member of the Conservation and Environment Committee, the Parks and Tourism and Wildlife Subcommittee.
In October 2008, Kernell's son David was indicted by a Tennessee grand jury in connection with the unauthorized access of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's Yahoo! Mail account. David entered a plea of not guilty, and Mike Kernell has denied knowing anything about the incident. David was convicted April 30, 2010 on two charges after four days of jury deliberation. He was found guilty of anticipatory obstruction of justice and unauthorized access to a computer, but was acquitted on a charge of wire fraud. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2014, David participated in clinical research trials at the Cedars-Sinai Neurosciences Research Center in Los Angeles to help develop cures and treatments for other victims of MS. After release from BOP custody, he returned to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to finish an economics degree. He volunteered his programming skills expertise to Tennessee Voices for Children, a child advocacy nonprofit group. After moving to California, David developed facial recognition software that could identify children at risk of abuse. He died on February 1 or 2, 2018, at the age of 30, from complications related to progressive MS.
Cook was again the Republican nominee in 2010, and Kernell again defeated him, with 6,478 votes to Cook's 4,518.
Kernell's district was redrawn in 2012 by the Republican-controlled legislature, pitting him against fellow Democratic incumbent G. A. Hardaway in the August 2, 2012 Democratic primary. Kernell lost to Hardaway, ending his 38-year tenure. Hardaway won the primary with 2,927 votes (61.0%), and was unopposed in the November 6, 2012 General election, winning with 16,126 votes.
- Tennessee House of Representatives: Mike Kernell Biography Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
- "Mike Kernell". Tennessee General Assembly. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
- Political Notebook: Gentlemen, the envelope, please » The Commercial Appeal
- Locker, Richard (2004-10-25). "Voters in Shelby County, Tenn., want tax relief". The Commercial Appeal.
- TennCare to lose 323,000 enrollees » The Commercial Appeal
- Dedrick, James (2008-10-08). "David C. Kernell Indicted for Alleged Hack of Governor Sarah Palin's E-mail Account". United States Department of Justice press release. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
- "Man denies hacking Palin e-mail". BBC. 2008-10-09.
- http://cbs2.com/politics/Jury.convicts.palin.2.1667124.html[permanent dead link]
- "Student who hacked Sarah Palin's emails during 2008 campaign dies". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
- Tennessee man who famously hacked Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account in 2008 is dead, Commercial Appeal, Ryan Poe, February 9, 2018.
- State races come into focus » The Commercial Appeal
- Election panel certifies 57 for Aug. 7 ballot » The Commercial Appeal
- Home Page - Tim Cook for Tennessee State Representative District 93 Archived 2009-01-09 at the Wayback Machine
- Election Results - The Council of State Governments
- Tennessee Department of State: Elections Home: Elections Results: Unofficial Election Results November 2, 2010: Tennessee House of Representatives Results Archived October 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- "State of Tennessee August 2, 2012 Democratic Primary" (PDF). Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee Secretary of State. p. 200. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 13, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
- "State of Tennessee November 6, 2012 General Election" (PDF). Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee Secretary of State. p. 98. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 13, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014.