Thursday, October 02, 2014

Race of the Day- Tennessee Governor

33 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Red State (South)

Outlook: Safe Republican

Under any circumstance, Republican Bill Haslam would be a heavy favorite to win a second term as Governor of the Volunteer State. He can point to high approval numbers and economic success in the state as rationale for the voters to return him to office. Early on in the cycle, anybody who could claim to be a top tier Democrat decided to take a pass on this race and once again the party is left with a nominee for statewide office that they pretty much wish stays as much under the radar as possible.

Democrats once ruled Tennessee at all levels, but the state has continued to grow more Republican during this current millennium. Two years ago, the party nominated a white supremacist for U.S. Senate by a 2-1 margin in a primary that got scant notice. Obviously, the party had no choice but to denounce their own nominee. That activist candidate, Mark Clayton, attempted to run for Governor this year, but the state party took successful legal action to prevent him from doing so. Still, nobody of note entered the field for the Gubernatorial nomination. Some in the party likely hoped that John McKamey, a former Sullivan County Commissioner would be nominated, but once again low participated in Democrat primary produced a surprise result. By a comfortable margin, a retired engineer named Charlie Brown was nominated for Governor. He had run for the office before in 2002,  but this time there must have been more "Peanuts" fans among Tennessee Democrats. Like the Clayton situation, his name being listed first on the crowded ballot also probably helped a great deal. Finishing in third place was a man named Kennedy Johnson, who probably evoked memories of a more prosperous time for old time party faithful. There was a collection of oddball candidates rounding out the pack.

After Brown's primary win, people started to look at who exactly he might be, as he had not mounted an active campaign. What they found was a simple Facebook page, (that had his own name misspelled), and in which he posed with some catfish. Some newspaper Letters to the Editor were also found, in which he mused about putting Governor Haslam on the electric chair. Brown did some interviews after his primary win and had a semi-professional looking website made somehow, but that now seems to be offline.

Needless to say, there is not much Haslam has to do to win another term. Some Democrats will vote for his opponent, simply because he has a D next to his name, or maybe because they think that Snoopy deserves to live in the Governor's Mansion, but it will not be nearly enough to matter. I am pretty sure that Brown, for those reasons, will finish second, but in a nod to other goofy primaries of Tennessee Democrat past, there is also John Jay Hooker on the ballot as an Independent. An eighty four year old trial attorney and former newspaper, Hooker has run a variety of offices many times, including stints as the official Democrat nominee for Governor in 1970 and 1998. Hooker seems to be a good deal to the left of Brown, but they will share the distinction of having both been nominated for Governor by Tennessee Democrats. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Haslam campaign link:

Gubernatorial races predicted thus far: 14 D (1 Safe, 5 Likely, 4 Leans, 4 Tossup) , 18 R (6 Safe, 6 Likely, 6 Leans)
Overall totals predicted thus far: 21 D, 25 R (Democrat net gain of 1)


At 6:53 AM, Anonymous Conservative Democrat said...

Haslam should be able to get 21% of African Americans in his reelection victory.

In 2018, Democrats will win the Executive Mansion back.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...



Post a Comment

<< Home