The first decade of the twenty-first century is ending, and though there is no rule that says retrospectives must be timed to coincide neatly with flips of pages in man-made calendars, such is, in practice, when they are written. Following is a brief recap of Tennessee politics, from the perspective of one who, in late 2000, was just starting to pay attention. Continue reading
The 2010 elections now are fading into memory, and the national campaigns for 2012 have already begun, so this seems as good a time as any to assess Chattanooga’s clout as measured by the roles our elected officials will be assuming. Party caucus elections have been held, committee assignments have been meted, and administrations are being assembled. How did we do? Continue reading
Stephen Shirley, a columnist for the Murfreesboro Daily News-Journal says that the Democratic nominee in the Sixth Congressional District race is just about as good a candidate as anyone could hope for, but has one major flaw working against him: were he to be elected, his first vote in the U.S. House of Representatives would be for Speaker Nancy Pelosi—and that is a real problem for voters in the conservative Middle Tennessee district.
It’s as if [Brett] Carter emerged from central casting for the recruitment of the ideal candidate.
But for all of the skill, abilities and compelling life stories, there is still one seemingly unshakable albatross hanging around the neck of Brett Carter — Nancy Pelosi.
In Tennessee’s 6th District, there may not be a more despised political figure than Pelosi. Just the mere mention of her name is enough to rankle the average voter. Pelosi has come to symbolize all of the worst caricatures of politicians in general and the Democrats in particular. Staunchly partisan, Pelosi has embraced the liberal moniker and has pushed the Obama administration away from the cooperative nature upon which he campaigned and toward an agenda that encompasses an expansive role of government in everything from health care to energy.
One wonders if U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis and state Sen. Roy Herron carry the same handicap in their districts (the 4th and the 8th, respectively). Davis, as popular an incumbent as one might find these days (save lame-duck Gov. Phil Bredesen) is widely seen as a conservative Democrat himself; but is his expected vote for Pelosi a wedge that Dr. Scott DesJarlais can use against him? Likewise, Herron is a well-financed, arguably moderate candidate in a traditionally Democratic district; but the promise that Stephen Fincher would vote for U.S. Rep. John Boehner instead of Pelosi may make Herron a tougher sell to the voters.
But some voters may sense that their representative’s vote for Speaker is a given, a formality; and thus concentrate more on what the candidate would do for the district.
Lastly, the marked contrast between 80 percent of Tennessee’s Democratic congressional delegation (incumbent U.S. Reps. Jim Cooper, Davis, Bart Gordon, and John Tanner) and the party’s Washington leadership says something about the party, or about its leadership, or about Tennessee. Or maybe all three.
Frank Strovel, a radio DJ in Campbell County, today interviewed Fourth District Congressman Lincoln Davis (D-Pall Mall) about the latter’s reelection campaign. Rep. Davis faces Republican Dr. Scott DesJarlais of South Pittsburg/Jasper, and independent candidates Paul Curtis of Winchester, James Gray of Columbia, Richard Johnson of La Follette, and Gerald York of Pall Mall.
UPDATE: While Davis compared his conservative credentials to those of U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker in today’s interview—he said that they are “eleven percent” more conservative than he is—Corker yesterday endorsed DesJarlais, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Larry Henry breaks down the race in the Fourth Congressional District, where Republicans hope, through August primary winner Dr. Scott DesJarlais, to pick up a U.S House seat.
The district is mostly rural and quite conservative, but incumbent Congressman Lincoln Davis, a Blue Dog Democrat, says that the voters of his district are comfortable with him.
Davis enjoys a substantial fundraising advantage, too, but as Henry’s article points out, U.S. Sen. John McCain won far more voters in the district in 2008 than did President Barack Obama, which may bait state and national Republicans to donate to DesJarlais.
Four independent candidates are also running in the November 2 election: Paul Curtis, James Gray, Richard Johnson, and Gerald York. (Source: Tennessee Department of State)