Ticket Tweets on 2010-08-31

  • @PeterBMurphy It should be interesting indeed. Let us know if major news comes out of it. in reply to PeterBMurphy #
  • @jenciTN I get your point, but I am for an independent redistricting commission. Tired of gerrymandering. in reply to jenciTN #
  • @jenciTN well, not that it makes it right, but it's been unfair the other way for so long…heh, maybe your computer idea would work in reply to jenciTN #
  • @jenciTN Yep. It's a Catch-22. If they don't react accordingly, they lose numbers. If they do, they lose the high road. in reply to jenciTN #
  • #CHA will miss @wlhenry, but we wish him well at the new post. #fb #
  • Well, I got that wrong. I thought the recall suit would be filed in Chancery Court, but it was filed in Circuit Court. #fb #

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Ticket Tweets on 2010-08-30

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Or I’ll huff and I’ll post and I’ll blog your House race

Even though it will be interesting to see where the time comes from, I will soon be blogging about elections and politics on three sites: here, Chattarati, and…

I have accepted an opportunity to be a “citizen journalist” for the Huffington Post, more or less with a specific assignment: the battleground race in Tennessee’s Eighth Congressional District. I’ll be writing a weekly roundup on the race and, as my schedule permits, I’ll be attending campaign-related events in the district. (I’ve only been to one spot in the whole territory, not counting driving through on I-40 a couple of times, so my geographical knowledge—what is “Hoots proper” versus “outer Hoots,” and so on—will grow over time.)

The Huffington Post (or, as we call it down at the shop, “HuffPo”) was launched by Arianna Huffington in 2005, and has quickly gained recognition and has received awards as a national leader in online journalism. It was ostensibly conceived as a progressive antidote to conservative sites like Drudge Report, but I want it to be clear that I strive to write from a nonpartisan, neutral perspective, no matter where I log in.

I’ll post more info later this week, like, where exactly on the Internet you’ll be able to find my new blog. I’m excited to be a small part of this important election cycle.

So, to get started, what do you want to see covered?

Democrats and Republicans eyeing state House majority

You might not hear as much about it, but the campaign for the Tennessee House of Representatives is every bit as embattled as the one for its federal counterpart.

After the 2008 election, the Republican Party held an historic majority, with 50 members to the Democrats’ 49. But after Rep. Kent Williams usurped the gavel from Speaker-to-be Rep. Jason Mumpower by getting all 49 Democrats to vote with him, his party, led by former chair Robin Smith, voted to revoke Williams’ “bona fide” standing.

49 48 Democrats. 49 50 Republicans. One independent. In a world where every vote counts, and where titans clash to gain control of the mighty redistricting pen, one mistake could lead to devastating electoral ruin. Opens Wednesday, October 13, in political theaters from Memphis to Mountain City. (Apologies to the late Don LaFontaine.) But for gerrymandered districts that render most seats safe for incumbents, this could have been an epic political year. As it is, it still will be, as my 5-year-old likes to say these days, “kind of insane.”

Tom Humphrey noted that the Tennessee Journal rates five seats as toss-up:

The tossup-rated House races are in District 10, where Democrat Larry Mullins and Republican Don Miller fight for the seat vacated by Rep. John Litz, D-Morristown; District 36, where Dennis Powers (R) and Keith Clotfelter (D) face off for the seat formerly held by Rep. Chad Faulkner, R-Luttrell, who lost the primary;

District 48, where incumbent Republican Joe Carr of Lascassas faces Democrat David LaRoche; District 60, home to retiring Rep. Ben West, D-Nashville, where the Democrat is Sam Coleman and the Republican is Jim Gotto; and District 75, where Rep. Butch Borchert, D-Camden, faces a rematch with Republican Tim Wirgau.

Chas Sisk aimed his spotlight on the 48th House District, where David LaRoche hopes to embody one of the Democratic Party’s sought-after turnovers. LaRoche is fronting the charge against freshman Rep. Joe Carr.

David Oatney, a conservative blogger, says that the Republican Party should avoid letting the battle for Speaker distract them from the effort to regain the prerequisite majority.

There is little question that the edge in this election clearly goes to the GOP, but that also means that the majority in the Tennessee House of Representatives is the Republicans’ to lose as well.

Outgoing Republican Leader Jason Mumpower warned the members of his caucus against presuming victory in November. He watched, Mumpower told House Republicans in May, when the Democrats became more concerned in 2008 over who would be Speaker and less concerned over winning an election because they simply assumed they would win in November. Already we see a certain presumptive mentality beginning to sneak into Republican ranks as veteran members announce their candidacies for Speaker before the voters’ ballots have even been cast.

By the end of the week, poll results seemed to buoy Oatney’s and his fellow GOPers’ hopes. Seven districts, including two of those listed as “toss-up” by the Tennessee Journal, showed a Republican advantage—but on a generic ballot, as actual candidate names were not given to those polled.

The chairmen of both the Democratic and Republican parties seem to be fully engaged in this battle, so the next two months will be full of fun for us political geeks. And as Humphrey notes at the end of his piece: “And, of course, there’s the probable independent, Kent Williams.”