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Oct 07, 2004 12:00 am
Despite having a Democratic governor with an approval rating above 70 percent, Tennessee is so far off the Kerry-Edwards campaign radar screen there is not a Democrat on the payroll for the ticket in the state.
Stephen Lindsey, a longtime Democratic Party operative and campaign worker in the state, had been formally heading up the Kerry-Edwards campaign in Tennessee as the lone paid staffer.
Lindsey said he was moved to the Democratic National Committee's payroll "two to three weeks ago."
Democratic office holders in Tennessee may be more uniquely positioned to push a presidential ticket in a close election this election cycle than any in recent memory.
However, leading Democrats may have their eyes on 2006 in Tennessee.
Governor Phil Bredesen has held over a dozen campaign events in Tennessee since May for his own re-election effort with three discernable Kerry-Edwards events – two fund-raisers at the gubernatorial residence and an appearance with Sen. John Kerry at the American Legion national convention. Despite his overwhelming popularity, Bredesen does not appear to be investing any real political capital in pushing his party's presidential ticket.
And though county party schedules seem full with Kerry-Edwards activity, Democrats who now hold a majority in the state's U.S. House delegation are not exactley burning up the campaign trail for Kerry-Edwards in Tennessee.
An American Research Group poll of Tennessee voters taken Sept. 16-18 showed the margin narrowing to 50 percent for President George W. Bush to 43 percent for Kerry with 5 percent undecided. This strays wildly from a Mason-Dixon poll just weeks earlier showing Bush with a 16 point lead.
The American Research Group poll has gone largely unnoticed in the state.
Fox on a Run
Lebanon Mayor Don Fox very quietly dipped his big toe into the deep waters of the 2006 State Senate race.
Fox's name is on a list of dignitaries and business leaders from the Four Lakes region hosting a $1,000 a couple fundraiser for Gov. Phil Bredesen next week in Lebanon.
Fox, who has traditionally received Republican support for his city races, has never participated in an openly partisan political event other than attending county party dinners for both Democrats and the GOP.
Fox, whose personal voting record shows mainly Democratic primary voting, lent his name to the event which is already said by sources close the fund raiser to have gathered around $60,000 from Wilson, Smith, Trousdale and Dekalb Counties for Bredesen's re-election effort.
The string of Bredesen fund-raisers across the state leaves little doubt the governor intends to defend his seat in 2006. Fox's involvement in this event leaves little doubt the longtime Lebanon mayor is considering his options beyond his own re-election campaign.
Some GOP faithful and some unaligned political watcher in West Wilson County are a little concerned about the impact a small Republican club's voter guide might have on the nonpartisan city mayoral race.
The West Wilson Republicans are well known in this county for having an impact on elections and campaigns. Usually viewed as the more right wing GOP group in Wilson County, the West Wilson GOP club prides itself on activism.
In the 2000 Mt. Juliet City race, the group used a state party list of likely GOP voters in Mt. Juliet and sent our a Republican voters guide that lumped in federal, state and local races. The GOP club's picks included now Mt. Juliet Mayor Kevin Mack and City Commissioner Ed Hagerty.
While Mack would likely have won his race anyway, the voters guide was thought to tip Hagerty's race in his favor and deepen the margin of Mack's victory.
There is already talk of whether the group will again venture into city politics by knighting a conservative du jour this election year.