February 22, 2008
Dear TennesseeTicket, when is the next election, and on what are we voting?
I'm so glad you asked. The next election for us here in Hamilton County will be held on August 7, 2008, and will involve major party primaries and a county general election.
The lone candidate for Hamilton County Assessor of Property, Bill Bennett, will easily win re-election to another four-year term in that office.
The special election to replace Billy Long as Sheriff will include candidates chosen by each party. The Democrats plan to caucus on March 15. I don't get email from the local Republicans (and I'd like to change that). Does anyone know their plans?
Every seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives (there are 99 in all) is up for election in November. Hamilton County comprises Districts 26-30, and also shares District 31 with all of Rhea County. Although I have been collecting names of challengers all across the state, and will be posting them as soon as possible, I have heard very little about local races that might get interesting. My own state Rep, Vince Dean of East Ridge, was named among those possibly looking at the local Sheriff spot. Will he, or won't he? Who will run in the 30th if he happens to win? Anyway, the primary elections for these seats are on this August date.
Likewise, the upper house of the Tennessee General Assembly, the state Senate, is replacing roughly half of its 33 members. This time around it's the even-numbered districts' turn, which means that Sen. Andy Berke, who only became a senator this past November after Ward Crutchfield's resignation, could face an opponent in District 10. (No, it probably won't be a rematch with Oscar Brock.) I doubt that there will be a Democratic challenger in the August primary, although one should never count out wild cards (and I mean that in the nicest way) like John Wolfe and Walt Ward. What will the GOP primary look like? After Berke's resounding win last fall, don't look for them to get too serious about it.
One of the biggest questions in my mind is whether or not the Democrats, either in population-rich Hamilton County or elsewhere in the Third Congressional District, are seeking a viable candidate to run against U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, whom is most likely going to run for governor in 2010, but could squeeze in an eighth term before doing so. The rumor used to be that Ward Crutchfield liked Congressman Wamp, and thus engineered the state party's funding away from challengers. With Ward out of the picture, will this perhaps change? It would be an uphill climb for any Democrat, given the gerrymandering, but the national election trend is in their favor, and they may take some unprecedented risks because of that.
Now to the U.S Senate seat currently held by Lamar Alexander: the Democrats really can't seem to decide what to do with this one, either. Early on, it looked like Mike McWherter, son of a popular former Tennessee governor, might try for it. But he quickly backed out. Nashville attorney Bob Tuke, who recently chaired the state party, was another name floated early on. There were a couple of others, but no one officially announced until Chris Lugo, who ran as the Green Party's candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2006 against Bob Corker and Harold Ford, Jr., stated his intent to be the Democratic nominee in this year's race. Not too much later, others must have decided that Lugo, as a Green, was surely unfit to receive yellow-dog votes, so there are a few more names from which to choose, perhaps including, once again, Bob Tuke.
However, a healthy number of prominent Democrats are openly backing Lamar Alexander, so this lack of a unified front could spark some debate within the party as the year progresses.
On the Republican side, I've only known of one primary challenger to Alexander. That was our own Mark Albertini, who ran for governor in 2006 and for the District 10 special election last year. But notice that I said "was." Mr. Albertini got a talkin'-to by state party officials, and he hastily rescinded his primary bid.
By the way, the qualifying deadline for this next election is April 3 at noon. If you plan to run, get your papers, and get your petition signatures, because March will be here and gone before you know it. (If you're an independent like me, and wish to run in the November general election, your qualifying deadline is August 21. Don't let the Election Commission tell you otherwise; they've been known to do that, even though it was possibly an honest mistake.)
I think that's it for August, locally speaking. I'll have a look around the state at some other interesting races later on. Check back, or subscribe to this site's feed.
Elections | By joe lance | 09:41 PM