Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Outlook for Tennessee's Governors race in 2018

As we sit here in March 2017 right now it looks like the democrat nomination for Governor will be between former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh(D-Ripley).  I give Dean a slight edge in that race based on name id and that his time in office was relatively a successful one.  But he'll have to get too Memphis a lot this year to work the vote over there because a good chunk of the primary vote comes from there and its in Fitzhugh's backyard.  The GOP side of things is a bit more complicated but it seems to be working itself out.  Last week it was revealed that State Senator Mark Green(R-Clarksville) who had been looking at running for Governor is now likely to be nominated by President Trump to be his Army Secretary so that removed him from the race next year.  Speaker Beth Harwell is making a lot of noise about running but I think Haslam and his crowd will cut off her money if'/when she jumps in and that'll ultimately force her back into the House by next spring..  Some still believe Congresswoman Dianne Black will jump into this race.  But I have serious doubts about that and the same can be said for US Senator Bob Corker as well.  I think that ship has already set sail and Black and Corker missed the proverbial boat.  Right now as I write this it appears the establishment wing of the Tennessee GOP (Haslam,Lamar!, Frist and that crowd) seems to be in the process of putting all their marbles on the candidacy of East Tennessee businessman Randy Boyd(who by the way owns the Johnson City Cardinals-a minor league affiliate of the St Louis Cardinals-that will play very well in West Tennessee).  Theres only one problem with this though.  Just like with Governor Haslam and Lamar!,  Randy Boyd was not a fan of President Trump's last year and almost certainly still isnt it, deep down.  As we saw last week when President Trump came to Nashville he is extremely popular with folks in this state.  People started arriving at 4am and they spent all day in the freezing cold temps to hear him speak that night at 7.  So that leaves a huge opening in the GOP primary for a "Trump Republican" to swoop in and go for it next year.  Thats why I wasnt shocked this week when State Senator Mae Beavers announced she's thinking about running for Governor.  In a lot of ways she was Trump long before the President ever seriously though about running.  She challenged a deeply establishment democrat in 2002 who was beloved by the democratic party and the media and won to the surprise of many.  She's taken a lot of heat this year for her run ins with the left over Obamacare but a candidate like her probably will play extremely well in the rural counties against Boyd where Trump won with over 70% of the vote last year.  Shes the only one at this time on the GOP side who can seriously claim to be a Trump Republican and have the voters buy it in the GOP primary.  She appeals to those voters who lined the streets of downtown Nashville last week to see Trump in a way that Randy Boyd, Beth Harwell, Dianne Black and Bob Corker can't mainly because their all from the establishment wing of the GOP. If it comes down to a straight up Beavers vs Boyd fight,  it sure will be an interesting June and July in 2018 on the GOP side.  As far as the general election sets up as of today.  Its very hard for me to imagine a scenario where the democrat whether its Dean or Fitzhugh winning this race in the end.  Hillary only won three counties(Shelby, Davidson and Haywood) last November in Tennessee.  To win next November the democrats would have to win somewhere around 25 to 30 more counties on top of those 3 that Hillary won.  Looking at the trends as of today it will be nothing short of a herculian task for the democrats to pull off.  The good news for the democrats though is that 19 months in politics is an eternity and the party that doesnt control the White House generally does well in mid term elections.  So we shall see....

No comments: