The Tennessee primaries were yesterday, and aside from longtime Hamilton County sheriff John Cupp’s loss in his re-election bid, there were no big surprises. Here’s a breakdown of the major races:
U.S. Senate (seat vacated by retiring Sen. Bill Frist [R]):
Former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker won the Republican primary with a near-plurality of the statewide Republican votes, and he managed to get 67% of the hometown Hamilton County votes. Of course, when you consider that he more than outspent his fellow Republicans combined, it’s not hard to see through that. Harold Ford, Jr., the 9th district U.S. Rep. out of Memphis, will face Corker in the Senate race. Ford has been a fundraising success himself, but he may be out of his league fighting against Corker, despite the fact that he has a moderate (and even conservative by some standards) record.
U.S. House of Representatives (TN-3rd district):
This district covers most of southeast TN and includes Chattanooga and Oak Ridge. Incumbent Zach Wamp (R) easily won his primary (despite doing very little local campaigning), and Terry Stulce won the Dems’ nod to oppose him. Wamp is the widely-known conservative candidate seeking his seventh term in the House with a voting record that mostly backs that up. Since he’s a McCallie graduate whom I’ve actually met, it would seem like a no-brainer for me and my classmates to vote for him, but it’s important to give Stulce a fair chance. Stulce graduated from my wife’s alma mater, Ooltewah High School, and he is a member of the Pilgrim Congregational Church. His career has been in social work and military service, rather than politics, for what that’s worth.
Incumbent Phil Bredesen (D) will face Franklin GOP leader and state senator Jim Bryson in the general election after Bryson won the Republican nomination. Bredesen has been Tennessee’s governor for four years and was formerly the mayor of Nashville. He has a reputation as a moderate, and in his pre-political career, he was a health care executive. Bryson is another Nashville-area politician, with his background coming in marketing. Fundraising efforts would favor Bredesen, though Bryson is considered to be a reliable Republican opponent, whatever that means.
I encourage all Tennesseans to do their homework, consider the issues, and figure out who they’re going to support before voting in the November 7th general election. It’s not enough to support Wamp and Corker because they’re the big local names, nor is it enough to support Bredesen because Tennessee hasn’t imploded under his leadership.
Right now, I’m leaning toward Democrats Ford and Bredesen, and I am as of yet undecided about the Wamp/Stulce race, so we’ll see how that works out. I e-mailed Zach Wamp about President Bush’s abuse of signing statements to get his thoughts, and if he comes up with a suitable response, I might be swayed in that area, despite his support of other conservative ideas with which I do not agree. I am probably least informed about Bredesen and Bryson, so that one could also go either way. I do, however, consider my support for Ford to be fairly strong at this point. I wasn’t a fan of Corker when he was mayor of Chattanooga, and his stances on the issues don’t help his cause with me.
Here are some potentially helpful links:
Former Mayor Corker’s campaign site
Rep. Ford’s campaign site
Rep. Ford’s voting record (U.S. Congress votes database)
Rep. Wamp’s U.S. House site (much more info than his campaign site)
Rep. Wamp’s voting record (U.S. Congress votes database)
Stulce’s campaign site
State Sen. Bryson’s campaign site
Gov. Bredesen’s campaign site