Constitution convention

Surely you know that the Republican National Convention will take place in Tampa, and the Democratic National Convention will be in Charlotte; but did you know that there is a national political convention here in Tennessee, and that it’s happening now?

Thanks to a heads-up from a longtime friend in the blogosphere, now you do. The Constitution Party is holding its convention in Nashville. (Personal aside: the apparent frontrunner for the nomination formerly represented the congressional district where I spent my childhood, and earlier was a state senator—and a Democrat).

Former Congressman Virgil Goode is widely considered the front-runner for the top spot on the ticket, though it’s unclear at this moment who will serve as his running mate. Former Savannah State football coach Robby Wells is also seeking the party’s nomination.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, it’s not too late to defect and join this ticket. Think about it: “Goode & Pawlenty 2012” has a certain sweetness to it.

The Constitution Party of Tennessee, which is the state-level affiliate, won ballot access (along with the Green Party of Tennessee) in a recent federal court ruling, although officials for the State of Tennessee have appealed the judgement. It is therefore undetermined whether the Constitution Party’s nominees for president will appear with the party label beside them, but as of right now they would.

To my knowledge, there are no state legislative or congressional candidates running as Constitution Party candidates in Tennessee.

(Updated to add paragraph 4.)

Going through withdrawals

I’ve been filling out the voter guide pages, and have noticed that some names that were expected to show up on the list of qualified candidates for August ended up not being there. Here are a few of them:

Fall of the Marceauxviet Union

The more famous Basil Marceaux’s scion had pulled a petition in the newly combined 28th House District, after having run against Rep. JoAnne Favors in what was the 29th a couple of cycles ago. However, his name was not in the final list. Rest assured: Basil the Elder is in the race, and will face incumbent Rep. Richard Floyd in the Republican primary in District 27.

Over the hills and far away

Rep. Gary Moore decided rather at the last minute not to seek re-election to the 50th House District seat. Nashville-Davidson Metro Councilmember Bo Mitchell is in as a Democratic Party pinch hitter. Three Republicans will vie for their party’s nomination.

Breeding grounds

The only Democratic Party candidate to file for the new 89th House District has had her residency questioned, and some view this with suspicion.

What is love?

Rep. G.A. Hardaway, whose 92nd District was moved to Marshall County (et al.), actually qualified as a primary challenger to Rep. Mike Kernell in the 93rd. But he had pulled petitions for several districts, so we were kind of hoping he’d show up more than once in the list. Which district is Roxbury Street in, anyway?

The indomitable Lady J

Jean Howard-Hill not only failed to return her qualifying petition for the U.S. House 3rd District seat, she sent a defiant press release stating her intent to add “Independent” and “write-in” (along with “feisty”) to the list of adjectives with which she distinguishes her Republican-ness.

Candidates who qualified have until this Thursday to change their minds. If any do, or if any other news pops up, this site will be updated.

Your weather on the tens

Sen. Andy Berke caused an upper-level disturbance in District 10 when he announced that he will not seek re-election. At first the drop in barometric pressure was slight, since it appeared that Rep. Vince Dean would move in and thus push the volatility over to House District 30.

However, more recent data show Dean staying put, which quieted would-be candidates Larry Grohn and East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert. Dean will likely face a comparatively weak Democratic front from either Brock Bennington or Sandra Norris Smith, which means he’ll probably blow right through without too much upheaval.

But oh, there’s a storm brewing in the Senate race. On the GOP side, business developer Greg Vital, who was in before Dean was out, is looking like he’ll produce heavy, soaking rains (of campaign cash) while there may be plenty of bluster from rival Todd Gardenhire.

The super cell we’re really watching, though, is the Democratic primary, which got a boost in severity on Friday when Chattanooga City Councilman Andraé McGary announced his intent to run for the seat. With the new district lines, the Republicans are hoping for a change in wind direction, but tensions between the Democrats backing McGary and those backing David Testerman could cause major damage within the party, which will please the GOP regardless. A potential third Democrat, Quenston Coleman, has yet to return his qualifying petition.

In Nashville, the Senate District 20 vortex caused by retiring Sen. Joe Haynes has drawn a substantial pack of storm chasers. Scooter Clippard, Steve Dickerson, David Hall, and Rob Mortensen are among the Republicans; and James Baxter, Kevin Doherty, and Richard Exton are possible Democratic contenders.

Meanwhile, spotters reported that Hall’s son and daughter have pulled petitions in House District 50; or is that bull? Charles Williamson wants to be the nominee to take on Rep. Gary Moore.

In House District 60, former Metro Council member Rep. Jim Gotto is set to clash with current member Darren Jernigan.

We’re trying to establish communications with Lawrence and Giles Counties to see what the situation is on the ground there. A bungled party switch attempt blew Rep. Eddie Bass right out of the water, and it’s just not clear from here what is left in the wake of that rural storm system.

In Memphis, redistricting caused Mississippi floodwaters to pool heavily in Senate District 30, as Sens. Jim Kyle and Beverly Marrero are forced into a primary match.

So far, no watches or warnings are posted for House Districts 10, 40, 80, or 90; but keep your browser tuned right here as things could change rapidly in most of these areas over the next week or two.