Monday, November 24, 2008
The end of the west tennessee democrats
Yesterday State Rep Gary Odom(D)-Nashville was elected Minority Leader in the State House. This brought to an end the decades long dominance of the democrats electing west Tennessee democrats to their top two positions in the state legislature. You could make the argument that the beginning of the end of the west Tennessee democrats dominance started in 1992 when John Wilder defeated Estel Mills in the democrat primary. Where would the democrats be today if Mr Mills had won? One things for certain they couldnt be much worse off than they currently are. The even bigger event though happened in the late 90's when the courts ordered the legislature to draw a minority district in rural west Tennessee. This lead to the downfall of liberal GOP State Rep Page Walley and it played a large role in Matt Kisber taking an early exit out of the State House. There isnt a significant amount of black voters north of I-40 in rural west Tennessee so this forced the legislature to start in downtown Jackson and head southwest out of Madison County into Hardeman. That action removed most of the democrat boxes that were providing Matt Kisber and Page Walley with wins and it added them to the district that is now held by the Reverend Johnny Shaw. If the courts hadnt ordered the creation of that district. Jimmy Eldridge would still be selling insurance in Jackson and Matt Kisber would probably still be in the House. Those boxes were so crucial to Kisber in the 90's when Madison County Commission Chairman Gary Deaton(R) ran against him. The creation of that minority district is also playing a role in the so called Naifeh republicans staying on board with Jason Mumpower as the new Speaker. If the districts had been left alone, Steve McDaniel would have received most of Page Walleys district in Hardeman County in the '02 redistricting cycle. Hardeman County was one of only six counties in Tennessee to vote for Obama as President. Its not a stretch to suggest that if McDaniel had those black voters in Hardeman County in his current district. He might be more open to forming an alliance with Jimmy Naifeh to keep Naifeh in power and name him as Co-Speaker under a power sharing arrangement. But whats done is done and my friends you can stick a fork in the infamous west Tennessee democrat mafia because after yesterday they are as done as done can be!