Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The word from the legislature in Montgomery is that Alabama State Senate President Hinton Mitchem(D) is now having second thoughts about giving up the gavel for the top spot in the Alabama State Senate when they go back into session in early Febuary. The plan was for Mitchem to retire this year and hand over the gavel to State Senator Roger Smitherman a democrat from Birmingham. But associates of Mitchem are now spreading rumors that their worried Smitherman is too liberal to lead the Alabama State Senate and that Mitchem will not step down until Smitherman gets a majority of the senate behind him. This could get very messy with white old time democrats battling black democrats. The situation involving Congressman-elect Parker Griffith is only going to make things worse. He has already resigned from the state senate but since there isnt a provision in the Alabama code calling for a temporary/interim State Senator. That seat will be left vacant well into the spring when a special election will be held. This is crucial because Griffith's vote two years ago was the deciding factor in the democrats maintaining a slim 18-17 working majority in the state senate over the GOP and a few renegade democrats. With that vote now gone until the spring and the infighting between the Mitchem and Smitherman camps heating up. This could allow the GOP and the democrat renegades to swoop in and take control of the Alabama State Senate in early Febuary.
Monday, November 24, 2008
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!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Its pretty quiet right now on the political front in bear bryant country. But I thought Id pass along some rumors Ive been hereing out there on the political front. State Rep Jeremy Oden(R) apparently will either run for State Treasurer or Cullman County Probate Judge in two years. Mr Oden has been in the State House since 1998. State Senate President Hinton Mitchem(D) is also rumored to be retiring in two years. This will be great news for the GOP because his seat in Marshall County has become a very GOP friendly area in the last decade. One final note, there are some rumors here and there that have already popped up about Congressman-elect Bobby Bright(D) possibly switching to the GOP. It wouldnt shock me given the make-up of that district if he did eventually switch but don't expect anything to happen on that front for at least a year.
Friday, November 7, 2008
At this moment, Tennessee Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh(D) is now the longest consecutive serving State House Speaker in the country. This is because Delaware Speaker Terry Spence(R) was defeated Tuesday. He had been Delawares Speaker since 1988 but he was washed out in the democrat tidal wave. If Naifeh is unsuccessfull in recruiting a GOPer like Kent Williams to support him. Then Kentucky State House Speaker Jody Richards(D) will become the longest consecutive serving Speaker in January.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
It was a very good night for republicans in Tennessee. They expanded their state senate majority by 3 seats and they won the State House for the first time since the Civil War. This means we will now have a Republican Secretary of State,State Treasurer and Comptroller in Tennessee. Its also my hope that they will make the Attorney General and Supreme Court positions into elected races at some point over the next few years. Vance Dennis was one of the GOPers who picked up a democrat held seat. Mr Dennis is a good man and he comes from a good family. So I was glad he won. Delores Gresham also won the state senate seat previously held by longtime senator John Wilder. This race broke down about as I expected it would. Randy Camp won the three democrat counties of Crockett,Haywood and Hardeman by wide margins. But the margins werent as big as he needed in those areas and he wasnt able to pick off Chester and McNairy like he had hoped. Another thing thats interesting to look at, is that half of the democrat caucus in the state senate now has three years or less of senate experience. Thats a dramatic turn around from a few years ago when the caucus was virtually dominated by longtime members. I expect that number will grow over the next two years. Doug Henry claims he's running again in two years but Ill believe it when I see it and Jim Kyle may give the Shelby County Mayor's post a long look. There will also be a new Chairman of the Tennessee Democrat Party in the next few days or weeks. The current chairman is Jim Sassers son but he will either be fired or asked to resign in the next few days after what happened last night. One final note concerns Gary Odom who was chomping at the bit to become Speaker. But now that dream appears to be lost forvever. It just goes to show, you need to strike while the iron is hot. Because tomorrow may never come.
Monday, November 3, 2008
The answer to the question of who loses if Obama wins tomorrow isnt Republicans like a lot of people think. The answer is the poor. Which ironically will be one of the largest voting blocs tomorrow for Obama. I remember talking to a gentleman back in '92 right after Clinton and Gore were elected and he was on cloud nine. He was talking about how better his life will be now that Clinton and Gore are in office. But here's the catch, three years ago when I last saw him. He was still living in the same house and in the same economic condition that he was one day after Clinton won in '92. You see too many low income people have this mindset that someone other than themselves will make them prosperous. The truth is no one but you as an individual can do that. But if Obama wins tomorrow night with his redistribute the wealth rhetoric, unfortunately that mindset will continue to grow among low income people. It would help of course if we had real conservatives step forward within the GOP and make this case to low income folks. But after the last eight years I wouldnt recommend anyone hold their breath waiting on that to occur.