Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hating the Speaker doesn't get you very far

Tom Humphrey has an interesting piece today that is a mixture of post primary analysis and projections about the general election in November. One of the conclusions is that Republicans who campaigned as if they were running against House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh didn't get very far.

Rep. Doug Overby beat Sen. Ray Finney for Finney's Senate seat. He had voted for Naifeh for Speaker. Rep. Kent Williams won an easy reelection victory against Jerome Cochran, who explicitly used Naifeh as an issue. Williams states the lesson clearly:

"I think that should be a wakeup call for our Republican party," said Williams. "We don't need to be running campaigns based on cartoon characterizations and get back to the days of Ronald Reagan, when we were treated with respect.

"People could care less who I voted for, for speaker. People are tired of partisan politics and want candidates who stick with their values and watch out for their interests."

Speaker Naifeh himself brushed off the tactic: "I think maybe that has run its course and they won't be using that anymore," he said.

And why doesn't it work? I guess the better question is, "Why would it?" In an election that drew very little media attention, an election in which few people voted, it's a stretch to expect most voters throughout the State to be fired up about the Speaker of the House when they may not even know who is running in their own district.

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