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December 31, 2007

Obama's lead in latest Iowa poll explained

Via Political Wire:

"Obama's rise is the result in part of a dramatic influx of first-time caucusgoers, including a sizable bloc of political independents. Both groups prefer the Illinois senator[…]"

-- Thomas Beaumont, Des Moines Register

I wonder if Mike Huckabee's lead is due to the same factors. (Not really.) I also wonder whether or not these ostensibly younger, seemingly independent-minded voters will play a major part as the primaries roll through the states.

And if they aren't able to prevail in the Democratic contest (meaning, Senator Clinton wins it), will they then jump ship for a third ticket?


"Of those who have decided on a candidate, 34 percent of the Democrats say they could still be persuaded to change their minds. Among Republicans, it's 46 percent."

-- David Yepsen, Ibid.

Ambinder: In any event, the poll suggests that independents are asserting themselves in a way that's confounding the pollsters and the establishment.

Posted by joe lance in Presidential Elections at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2007

FOX News shows its fairness and balance (updated)

(Please disregard this post. It was composed using erroneous information. My mistake.)

UPDATE II: Nope. Now it looks as though it's real, again. But for some reason, when I earlier perused the schedule at FoxNews.com, I could find no 6 January Manchester forum. This whole thing gets weirder and weirder. Original post follows:

Admittedly, I have taken a step backward from the Ron Paul effort in recent days, for a variety of reasons (plus a little bit of the unknown); but I still admire the Texas congressman's honesty, consistency, and tremendous ability to inspire.

So it makes as little sense to me as to anyone why FOX News would exclude Ron Paul from an upcoming GOP debate, yet would include, say, U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter.

Ron Paul's impressive fundraising totals are not due to lobbyists and special-interest groups. They are the results of a powerful (mostly online) community of individuals who desire to see Paul as GOP nominee and, ultimately, as President of the United States.

Likewise, Paul's poll numbers have risen because of countless grassroots organizers and volunteers working to get the message in front of "likely voters."

So what is it that disqualifies him from the debate? It really makes one wonder.

Posted by joe lance in News | Presidential Elections at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

Who's with Bloomberg? (updated)

Today's Washington Post contains an eyebrow-raising story by David Broder (which, as I write this, Bob Schieffer is also mentioning on CBS) about a bipartisan group that will meet at the University of Oklahoma next week, to discuss the possibility of an independent candidacy.

At the head of the table, as it were, is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former Democrat, and a former Republican, and now an independent. Other names that we've seen circulated before in terms of a bipartisan candidacy (such as that sought by Unity08): former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, a socially conservative Democrat who has worked in earnest to reduce global nuclear armaments; former New Jersey Governor and EPA chief Christie Todd Whitman; and former Sen. David Boren, who is now president of the host university.

Interestingly, a Chattanooga area former politician was also among those named: former Congressman, U.S. Senator, and Republican Party chair Bill Brock — father of Oscar Brock, who recently and unsuccessfully ran for Ward Crutchfield's former state Senate seat. It is no small indicator that a former national party chair is among those seeking an alternative to the "hyperpartisanship" now sensed in American presidential politics. (New ticket idea: Obama/Brock, or Brock/Obama — for purely pun purposes, of course.)

Oh, and don't forget Chuck Hagel, a moderate Republican senator from Nebraska, whose name has been floated before as a potential Bloomberg running mate. If the 2 major parties end up nominating polarizing or ineffective candidates, this Oklahoma meeting could be the start of one of the biggest political stories of 2008. Go check out the rest of the names.

Hat tip: Political Wire

See also this analysis by Political Insider.

Posted by joe lance in Presidential Elections at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2007

The Five W's of Elections

My domain auto-renewed about a week ago, so I guess I'll try to keep this thing going. It has been about 2 years since the rebranding as TennesseeTicket.com occurred, and almost 3 years since this blog's initial launch.

The end of a (Gregorian) calendar year provides a convenient opportunity for reflecting on the past and for devising some sort of plan for one's future. (There's Janus, and all that.) As we gear up for another election season in Tennessee, I want nothing more than to provide the very best resource for voters. In light of that, I have given some thought to data organization.

My ideas are not completely cooked, but I'm essentially starting with questions I receive most often from friends, neighbors, and co-workers. It is sometimes difficult to remember that even though I, a political news junkie, seek out election dates, candidates, and issues early on, and move from there into amateur punditry (or whatever you want to call it -- you don't have to be nice), a shocking number of people don't know a) when election days are scheduled, or b) what will be on the ballot, until the very last minute, if then -- let alone where the precinct/district boundaries lie, who else is supporting the various candidates and ballot initiatives, or why a person should involve him/herself in the process any more deeply than one does in a text-your-vote reality TV show.

Internet searches recorded on the tracking software I use reinforce the idea that folks are seeking the basics, even though it can be argued that the basics are dutifully provided by such resources as the county and state election commissions and the mainstream press -- and that people supposedly look to blogs for personalized content that is otherwise unavailable. I find plenty of evidence that, outside the insulated community to which you likely belong, seeing as you're here, there is an enormous opportunity to elevate the essential civic knowledge of our fellow citizens.

The question is, how do I go about getting the word out that this resource is (or, at least, will be) here? I don't have a marketing background, though I read plenty of blogs that suggest one is not needed. I'm also not as technically proficient as I would like to be (read: I don't have the time it would take to learn, but I'm confident in my capabilities), so some of my conceptual fragments may not ever implement. Still, I will do my best to create useful solutions.

So, you might expect some changes around here, even though the principal mission remains constant. I'm not in this to make money, although a nice thing happened: royalties through the Newstex Blogs on Demand service paid for the domain renewal, and ads made me enough to buy a portable external hard drive so I can do more with video. Breaking even on hardware/infrastructure is fine; and my time is gladly donated as a service to all Tennesseeans.

To those of you who visit and read often, thank you for your friendship and support. Your creative suggestions are most welcome, as are those of any newcomer who just happened by.

Let 2008 be the greatest year yet for this website.

Posted by joe lance in Site News at 02:23 PM | Comments (1)

One week to betrothal

Like a grossly outdated storybook heroine, Iowa voters are busily trying out their signatures with new last names.

"Mrs. Iowa D. Edwards"

"Ms. Iowa D. Clinton" (Relax, it's the 21st Century.)

"Mrs. Iowa D. Obama"

"Mrs. Iowa R. Huckabee"

"Mrs. Iowa R. Romney"

"Mrs. Iowa R. McCain"

...and so on.

Whose engagement will we be waking up talking about a week from now? And why do we care so much?

All jokes about "idiots out wandering around" aside, because I'm certain there are great people in the Hawkeye State, it simply amazes me that the two early states bear such weight in the nomination process. Chronologically, sure, I can sort of see it; but in terms of capturing the will of the entire nation? I just don't, sorry.

Posted by joe lance in Presidential Elections at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2007

Independent online primary results (updated)

As if to prove some of the writers listed in my last post right, the ragtag throngs of cyberspace have spoken, and have selected two presidential nominees, thusly:

Democratic Winner: Dennis Kucinich

Republican Winner: Ron Paul

We know that neither of these good U.S. House of Representatives members, between whom there is mutual respect, will be his respective party's nominee in the "real" world. But how real is that world? What part does the national media play in shaping the outcome? How much distortion ends up translating to ballot choices in the end?

By the way, if you missed that poll, there's a brand-new one up by Unity08.com, and it features some different names than the ones you've been hearing so much.

Posted by joe lance in Presidential Elections at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

Mike Huckabee is right, but don't listen too closely

Via Volunteer Voters:

There is a level of elitism that has existed, the chattering class if you will who lives in that corridor between Washington and Wall Street [...who] were more than happy for us to come to the rallies and stand in lines for hours to cheer on the candidates, appreciated us putting up the yard signs, going out and putting out the cards on peoples doors and making phone calls to the phone banks and – really appreciated all of our votes. But when they got elected, behind closed doors, they would laugh at us and speak with scorn and derision that we were, as one article I think once said ‘the easily led.’

-- Mike Huckabee

This is pure, golden truth, although I think the speaker just a bit disingenuous, simply by his being a former governor of one of the fifty states. You think he's not in some elite circles? (UPDATE: it turns out he may have been reacting to, of all people, Ann Coulter.)

However, I posit* that there is yet a third class — a middle class, if you will (though I speak not of economics) — one that is not easily led, but neither do its members have access to the secret places behind those closed doors. We are observers, and we see the sheep, and we see the shepherds; and we are neither. Are we the sheepdogs in this metaphor? I'm not, because I don't necessarily help get the sheep to do the shepherds' bidding. (Come to think of it, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Jane Fonda, Randi Rhodes, et al. could be considered the sheepdogs.) I am searching, however, for what my real role might be.

I sometimes harbor a nagging fear that I am really just one of the sheep, and I merely imagine otherwise, like Christopher Lloyd's character in The Dream Team. Yet I comfort myself with whatever solidity there is in being able to sense a difference.

Tim Price wrote a letter that I find similar enough to link here, although his is pro-Ron Paul, rather than pro-Huckabee, and is less about patricians and plebeians than about what he considers true conservatism and the "RINO" quality he sees in mainstream Republicanism. (Is that a paradox? How can mainstream Republicans be "Republicans In Name Only"?)

Another perspective along this same vein, more or less, is the frustration felt by many grassroots Democrats (like 10,000 Monkeys) over their seeming betrayal this year by their counterparts in Congress. All across the political spectrum, and on any given issue, the masses are disconnected from the powerful, even as the former continue to enable the latter. But should they — and, for that matter, could they — do something about that?

I used to, even until recently, fancy a revolution of the American political underclass. I'm not so sure now. I'm not asking for anyone's pity here, but I am embedded in a very thin layer between the rulers and the ruled. Those of us in this category maintain a dicey existence on the tightrope of tension between the other two groups. History has shown, too, that when the balance shifts the other way, such as in a Marxist or Maoist upheaval (this is in no way to suggest that that is what Huckabee's about; again, we're not talking economics per se), this paper-thin third class is among the first to be slaughtered or otherwise marginalized. We owe our (relative) good fortune to the time-honored status quo.

*I'm not the author of this thought. A good friend and I have discussed it many times, but I credit him with its origin.

Posted by joe lance in Politics is Personal at 09:38 AM | Comments (1)

December 20, 2007

Using discretion with expenses

Two stories surfaced almost a week ago in the local media, and, as far as I know, they have escaped commentary in the "after-marketplace of ideas." Then again, I never listen to talk radio, so maybe the subject came up there.

The first item had to do with an increase in the amount each Hamilton County Commissioner receives per quarter for expenses. It seems that the budget voted on earlier this year that contained a 26-cent property tax increase also raised the quarterly expense check by 122 percent, from $900 to $2000. That's not the shocking part.

The only commissioner who seems to have clearly known of the increase's existence is then-Chairman Larry Henry (R-7th). Commissioners Richard Casavant (R-2nd) and Jim Coppinger (R-3rd) were apparently in the dark, as they raised questions when they received the much-larger checks. The article also states that there was no public discussion prior to the vote.

It's good that some of the commissioners have raised their eyebrows, and that they have stated an intent to itemize expenses and to thus forego the blanket amount; but it's terrible that they were not aware that they voted to approve this nearly $40,000 per year increase.


Now, the second story: When I read its headline on Sunday morning, I at first thought that the daily paper had done a follow-up to the expenses story above. But it turns out that this was a piece about discretionary monies funded by bond issues -- $100,000 to each commissioner, twice, for a total of $1.8M -- and the reluctance of some to spend theirs, as contrasted with the gleeful ability of others to throw some money around.

Drew Johnson, who heads the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, is quoted in the article with a suggestion to lower tax rates instead of spending the funds. By contrast, Commissioner Curtis Adams (R-8th) "said he likes to get discretionary funds to recipients as soon as he can." (Interestingly, Adams is also highlighted in the expense-account piece for spending heavily on his district office.)

Most of the commissioners have spent quite a bit more of their 2008 money than they have of the 2006 allocation. Why, you ask? There are very few restrictions on the newer fund, while the 2006 fund must be spent on long-term projects that benefit the public at large (theoretically, by being on public property) and go through a bidding process. (Why aren't the 2008 funds restricted the same way? I ask you to help me find out. I only have so much time.)

I think there must be a balance somewhere between the Drew Johnson approach, where absolutely no help can be provided to a representative's constituent communities; and the Curtis Adams approach, where one gets the impression of a bacon-haulin' daddy strolling the streets of East Ridge and racking up all kinds of political favor.

Related: State Rep. Susan Lynn's (R-Mt. Juliet) take on a similar situation at the state level.

Posted by joe lance in Government at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2007

It happened somewhat the same way here

An account from about a year before my discovery:

I was watching a Christmas episode of "Sanford and Son" that I'd TiVOed. After a two-act riff on "A Christmas Carol," grumpy but gold-hearted junkman Fred Sanford decides to attend flinty Aunt Esther's Christmas party after all. Seated at stage-right was a white-haired white guy with a guitar. I was instantly suspicious: in all my years of Sanford And Son scholarship, I'd never seen this guy before. He was assaying the role of Aunt Esther's landlord, though he had no lines and the camera seemed to be ignoring him.

Fred favors the group with "The Christmas Song." But who can pay attention to the vocals? The landlord is ripping it up, trilling over and under and through the whole tune like an Olympic slalom skier on a gold-medal run. No actor he…this was clearly a skilled musician, mingling among the extras like a trained assassin, attracting no notice until it was time to unleash hell.

I leaped straight up from my chair and shouted "Ringer...Ringer!!!" in such a startling volume that my goldfish dropped their Soduku puzzles.

Single-framing through the end credits, I learned that the landlord was played by Herb Ellis.

I found the vocals by Redd Foxx reminiscent of Louis Armstrong enough for a toast. But Ihnatko is right: Herb Ellis was, indeed, "ripping it up."

I leave you with this absolute gem from almost a half-century ago:

Posted by joe lance in Christmas | Guitar Blogging at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

Let there be choices

2008 could be a most interesting election year. We stand to have:

A Ron Paul campaign with somewhere in the neighborhood of $20M and a horde of devotees (and Bob Barr around somewhere)

A ticked-off Republican base, if somehow Rudy Giuliani is able to make it through the primaries (how could he mend fences?); alternatively, a major contingent unhappy with an unholy Mormon in the running, should Mitt Romney do well

A ticked-off Republican establishment, if Mike Huckabee's Christianist populism somehow prevails

Independent Michael Bloomberg, able to self-finance with the best of them (Bloomberg is making slow, but deliberate, moves) (UPDATE: with Chuck Hagel?)

Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, about whom the distant rumblings won't cease

Plus: if the GOP nominates Romney, Giuliani, or Huckabee; and if the Democrats pick, as surely they will, from among Clinton, Edwards, and Obama, then here's an alternative ticket I just thought of today. I don't know why. I wonder if Unity08 could recruit these guys?


It may be the most out-there combo I've yet conceived. Eh? Yes? No?

Posted by joe lance in Presidential Elections at 10:27 PM | Comments (1)

Tennessee third parties, rise up this Friday (updated again)

Ballot access is such a sexy topic, isn't it? (Don't answer that.) According to a report filed last week by Ballot Access News, a much-delayed lawsuit may finally be filed on Friday, December 21, to challenge one of the strictest barriers in the nation against third parties.

Tennessee is one of only two states in which no party (other than the Democrats and Republicans) has been ballot-qualified in the last 25 years, other than the Democratic and Republican Parties. The other such state is New Jersey...

Count on TennesseeTicket.com to follow this court action and to provide commentary as needed.

UPDATE: Delayed again. I can't help but wonder if these delays are related to the fact that just about every lawyer, judge, and elected court official in this great state is an active member of one or the other major political party. (Post-update: see comment below from Richard Winger.)

UPDATE II: The 28th came and went, but a new timeframe has been tentatively set.

Posted by joe lance in Elections at 08:53 PM | Comments (1)

December 18, 2007

Breaking news, or tabloid nonsense? John Edwards' supposed illicit affair with staffer

I just caught a story on Politics1.com that, though it bears much fact-checking, has the potential to shake up the race for the Democratic nomination:

Buzz is that the new cover of the National Enquirer -- hitting the streets on Wednesday -- will feature a shocking scandal story about a leading Democratic Presidential candidate fathering a soon-to-be-born "love child." National Enquirer claims John Edwards had an 18-month affair with female staffer on his campaign, who is reportedly now six-months pregnant and in hiding. Edwards and the staffer reportedly are vehemently denying the story -- although the newspaper purportedly has interviews with friends of the woman in whom she reportedly confided about the Edwards details.

Of course they will use the term "love child."

Oh, and if the staffer is in hiding, how is she "vehemently denying" anything? Gaaa. I hate it when I have to start asking so many questions.

UPDATE: Drudge, too. Not much better than the Enquirer?

Posted by joe lance in Presidential Elections at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

An Unreasonable Hour

PBS is airing the documentary about Ralph Nader called An Unreasonable Man. I don't know if I'll be able to stay up through all of it.

Then again, as the wife just commented, watching footage of Nader being very physically excluded from the 2000 debates raises the hackles. No matter how you feel about the man's positions, or about the perceived effect votes for him had on the electoral college outcome, some little part of you must admit that he, and the newly unified Green Party, got a raw deal that year. 2004 offered no comparison. The year 2000 was make-or-break for the pro-Decentralization left, and it broke.

I wonder how many current Ron Paul backers are former Naderites? Many of us went on to grow fond crushes on Dennis Kucinich (but held our noses and voted for John Kerry in the general), and I just read somewhere that actor Tim Robbins is actually supporting John Edwards this time around.

But there are several obvious differences between Tim Robbins and me. I'm wavering between voting in the Republican primary for Ron Paul, and voting in the Democratic primary for Barack Obama. I'm also a member of Unity08, just in case both major parties royally screw it up. I hate to say it, but at the root of all of that is a deep desire to avoid a Hillary Clinton presidency (speaking of royalty).

I'm not a misogynist, I'm just an outsider. And some of us outsiders, independent to a fault (perhaps), abhor the concept of continuing the dynastic duet that has already absorbed a whole generation of our nation's history. George H. W. Bush became Vice President in 1981, and a second Hillary Clinton term would end in 2017. Such is unthinkable.

Well, Tavis Smiley is on, so I missed the end of the movie even though I didn't fall asleep. That's what blogging will do to you.

Posted by joe lance in Politics is Personal at 11:16 PM | Comments (3)

My Christmas Allies

It looks like I have some help here in the blogosphere: help, that is, with the endless task of reminding people that December 25 is Christmas, not "Holiday," and that all other winter celebrations are inferior (even, yes, those that came before, and upon which Christmas is modeled).

David Oatney righteously blasts those godless heathen liberals for their "spineless, gutless approach to the world." (I'm certain it was a mere oversight that caused him to leave out "brainless.") Oatney goes on further: "[A]fter all, we can't have public Nativity Scenes and mentions of the Incarnation in any form, since that would be acknowledging that there is a God and giving HIM a name and a face."

That's right, ye philosophical types: God is a HIM, with male parts and everything. Like, you know, Osiris, Mithras, Adonis, or Baal. Only more American.

Oatney's final mantra should be emblazoned on every red-blooded patriot's manly chest: "Merry CHRISTmas, Merry CHRISTmas, Merry CHRISTmas!!!"

Make sure you read the comments, too.

Posted by joe lance in Christmas at 05:54 AM | Comments (1)

December 11, 2007

A lot going on

It's just too busy these days to write a lot about anything, but here are some stories being followed/worked on by the Ticket:

There's more, but I'll get to it later.

Posted by joe lance in Miscellaneous at 10:13 PM | Comments (1)

If you want to view the final draft of the Homeless Blueprint..

..get thee to the City Council building by 4 pm, and make haste toward the Collins Committee Room. The city's Health, Human Services and Housing Opportunities Committee will be presenting.

If you can't make it today (what? you need more than twenty minutes' notice?), you'll have another opportunity next week: same day, same time, same place.

Kind thanks to Angela Tant, news editor of the Pulse, for the tip.

Posted by joe lance in Community at 03:42 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2007

Input on the blueprint

Did you go to the public meeting this morning where your input was requested on how the city will fight homelessness? It is going on right now, 9-noon, at Bessie Smith Hall. I wish I could have gone.

If you went, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Posted by joe lance in Community at 10:55 AM | Comments (3)

December 04, 2007

Civilization a misnomer?

This is one of those strange synchronicity days. One of my first thoughts this morning, just as the caffeine had begun to work, was about the word "civilization," and how history shows that this concept comes with a dark side, which leads to organized armies and persons who devote themselves to fabricating ever more destructive weapons for those armies to use.

I don't know what got me thinking about the fact that war has been such an ever-present part of our human story -- and how religion can play such a part in creating reasons to go to war -- but it seems like I wasn't the only one contemplating the topic of late.

Fast-forward to just a few minutes before eleven o'clock (time for a little smackerel of something, as Pooh would say), and I'm checking my Bloglines on a quick break, and come across this:

“Since 3600 B.C. there have only been approximately 270 years of peace. An estimated 3+ BILLION people have been killed directly or indirectly in the war years by conflict. Enough wealth has been destroyed or assets expended to promote these wars to provide for EVERYTHING for EVERYONE on earth for the next 1000 years.

Sounds horrible, and it is. War sucks. I just wish other nations would not force us to make war.“

~ Tennessee Representative Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma)

I don't know about other nations forcing us to make war. (I acknowledge there are solid arguments regarding the Confederate States of America, Japan, Hitler's Germany, and, perhaps, England; but not so much when it comes to Native North American tribes, Mexico, Spain, Korea, Vietnam, Central America, Serbia, Iraq, or even perhaps Kaiser Wilhelm's Germany.)

I do think it's interesting that Rep. Matheny (whose name has crossed my mind recently for inexplicable reasons) and I have had these strikingly similar thoughts.

Posted by joe lance in International at 11:13 AM | Comments (1)

December 03, 2007

Open seat bonanza

Adam Groves posted this morning that Rep. Parkey Strader, a Republican from Knoxville, will not be seeking re-election in 2008. Strader has not only been battling liver cancer, but has also been somewhat embroiled in the never-ending mess that is the Knox County government. (Hey: I make no claims that we don't have messes of our own here in Hamilton.)

Volunteer Voters carries the theme by pointing us to several news stories relating the unsurprising news that Senator Jerry Cooper, a Democrat from Morrison, will be retiring as well. Cooper has had a full share of legal and financial troubles of late, even with his acquittal on federal fraud charges. (Note: also found via VV, Bob Krumm puts his perspective on the reasons for this retirement announcement. Makes ya think.) Rep. Judd Matheny has been known to have his eye on this Senate seat.

Okay, so two retirements do not make a bonanza. Let's dig into the clippings archives. It was about a year ago that state Sen. Tommy Kilby (D-Wartburg) announced his intentions. Back then, Tom Humphrey (via Terry Frank) floated former House leader and gubernatorial candidate Jim Henry, along with some other names:

Other prospective Republican candidates include state Rep. William Baird, R-Jacksboro; former state Rep. Bruce Cantrell of Kingston; former state Rep. Mark Goins of LaFollette, who as the Republican nominee was defeated by Kilby in a 2003 special election; and former Roane County Executive Ken Yager.

And here's more on Senate District 12 (link broken, from the defunct Go4Truth blog):

KINGSTON – Roane County native and real estate broker Joe Caldwell Wednesday announced that he will run for the District 12 seat in the Tennessee Senate that current Senator Tommy Kilby will vacate in 2008. Caldwell’s decision comes after State Representative Dennis Ferguson, D-Harriman, told the Knoxville News Sentinel that he will not run for the seat, instead throwing his support behind Caldwell’s candidacy.


Becky Ruppe, County Executive of Morgan County , has announced her bid for the open senate seat that will be left from Tommy Kilby's vacancy. According to a press release, Ruppe has the endorsement of Lincoln Davis, Tommy Kilby and Dennis Ferguson…

More recently, it was announced that Rep. John Hood, of the fighting 48th in and around Murfreesboro, is not running. Bill Hobbs sees this as a potential GOP pickup.

More of these as I have time....

Oh, and see Mr. Turnbow, who also reminds us of Chris Crider's departure due to being elected Mayor of Milan (uh, not the Italian one).

Posted by joe lance in State House Elections | State Senate Elections at 08:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2007

Chattanooga District 6 update

Signs are going up along Brainerd Road and in other parts of Chattanooga's 6th City Council district as the race to replace Marti Rutherford quickens. The special election will be held on February 5, 2008, and early voting will begin before you know it on January 16. (It is this same early voting date that provides an interesting angle to the upcoming presidential primaries.)

A representative of the Brainerd Unity Group tells me that, so far, three of the six candidates running in the local election have committed to appearing at the group's forum on Thursday, January 24, at the Friendship Community Church. They are Carol Berz, Julie Chamberlain, and Charles Shaw. I hope all six will make it.

Since I will be moderating that event's candidate debate, I will not be endorsing anyone or otherwise commenting in such a way that would influence voters. This is harder than it looks, y'all, because this is my district, and I really want the candidate to win that will best serve the interests of my family, my neighbors, and my fellow Chattanoogans. However, it is the obvious choice.

As far as handicapping this race goes, it's a little tough to tell at the moment. Carol Berz seems to have established a well-defined presence; Julie Chamberlain ran in 2005, so she has some name recognition; Charles Shaw's wife, Uneva, ran a respectable campaign for County Commission a few years back, so they are experienced; and Rick Igou also has name recognition, and was leading the Chattanoogan.com poll the last time I checked. I haven't seen as much activity from or around Barbara Kelley or Melinda Hickey, but there's still time for them to join the fray.

A couple of the candidates have websites (three if you count Rick Igou's Nooga.com, which isn't explicitly a campaign site, but has mentioned his candidacy). Go here to get your links, and let me know what is missing from that page! I'm trying to catch up from a very busy time here at the household.

(Title updated for clarification)

Posted by joe lance in Chattanooga City Elections at 11:36 PM | Comments (1)