Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | August 28, 2002

Bredesen next TN governor?

Reader William Burton, a TN native, writes:

Add Tennessee to the states the Republicans will almost certainly lose control of in Nov. While [Democrat] Clement is likely to get smoked by Alexander in the Senate race, [Democrat] Phil Bredesen is the favorite to beat Van Hilleary for Governor.

Part of this is due to Bredesen's rep as a pro-business moderate who brought the Titans and Predators to Nashville while making downtown Nashville a safe place to go at night. He's been endorsed by a lot of moderate Republicans who are afraid of his wingnut opponent. He'll benefit from the same thing helping Kirk in Texas: midstate Republicans and independents have seen his performance up close and won't be prone to vote for an unknown quantity from elsewhere (West, Middle, and East Tennessee don't like each other very much).

Most Tennessee papers have taken to openly questioning Hilleary's intelligence and competence for the job. His opponent for the Republican nomination (Henry) was mailing out articles about Hilleary as promotional materials for his own campaign. I doubt Henry will even endorse Hilleary.

The one thorn in Bredesen's side is the black minister running as an independent. He's polling about 5%, and every one of those votes is coming from Bredesen. Most likely, his support will collapse when it actually comes time to vote and he'll pull less than 2%. If he gets 5%, it could cost Bredesen the election. He seems like a decent guy, I just don't want Tennessee to get Nadered and stuck with an incompetent wingnut.

It's great to get first-hand reports from the political front lines. I've got California covered, but if you live elsewhere and you've got 'em, send 'em in. Given enough interest, I could start a second blog -- "State Political Report" or something of that nature...

Back to TN. While encouraged by the governor's race, I'm still optimistic about the state's Senate race. Much will depend on whether the state's large and influential wingnuts embrace the relatively moderate Alexander. The first post-primary poll, whenever it is released, should do much to confirm or crush my current optimism. Still, Clement doesn't have to win to grievously wound the GOP. By making the race competitive, it forces Republicans to spend money and maybe even some of Bush's time protecting what should otherwise be a safe GOP seat. That's time and money that would otherwise be spent in MO, or MN, or TX. The Dems don't need to win this race, but it is critical that Clement be competitive.

Posted August 28, 2002 11:51 PM | Comments (2)


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