Hello again, Tennessee.
The election cycle is quickly ramping up to full-on circus mode, and it’s causing me to want to rekindle this thing. I had every intention of maintaining a steady pace of updates in the off-season that followed what our elected officials actually do after we send them to their respective capitol buildings, but life happens (and roads get paved). No excuses; just picking-up and moving-on.
A Slow Bern?
I checked in on Tuesday with a small group of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters in downtown Chattanooga. The event was not heavily publicized, so unlike the huge crowds that show up when the candidate is present, this gathering could have fit inside a VW Microbus. A couple of the folks had been to the recent Sanders rally in South Carolina, and spoke rather glowingly of the event.
They also spoke of larger groups active in Upper East Tennessee. I don’t have a good sense for how well the Sanders movement is doing statewide, though. Any comments from the Middle and West?
On the other hand, I’m also not aware of any grassroots organizing going on for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, or for former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb.
Carr going for a Cruz
Last week, a Facebook post by former Rep. Joe Carr declared his endorsement of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s GOP presidential primary bid. Carr, as the leading “Beat Lamar” candidate at a Chattanooga Tea Party event in 2014, had praised Cruz and fellow U.S. Sen. Mike Lee. The Cruz campaign also recruited former Williamson County Republican Party chair Kevin Kookogey as state director.
Cruz recently whisked through Tennessee on a bus tour.
With so many Republicans in the race, it is interesting to see how local support is lining up. Former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp is coordinating U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s efforts in the Volunteer State. Rubio is expected to visit Chattanooga on Sept. 3rd.
Businessman Donald Trump and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum will appear at a convention in Nashville this weekend. There are pockets of support for Dr. Ben Carson and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Anecdotally, a lot of people remain undecided.
Nashville is in the midst of a municipal runoff election. Memphis is gearing up for its own elections in October.
Hamilton County will elect a new Assessor of Property in March—the only county office to be elected along with the presidential preference primary—and that campaign has kicked-off as well.
There is, as you know, lots more going on. I’ll put my thoughts together on some more political happenings.