Sunny, there is absolutely no basis for that statement.
2006 was a huge Democratic year with a popular Democratic governor on the ballot running for re-election. Corker wasn't losing and it would have been a misallocation of resources for the party to have expended time and energy on that race rather then the state house, state senate, and Eric Stewart races.
100% agree with Mark. The state legislative races were the key. The US Senate race is "sexy," but ultimately less important given Corker's near invincibiilty. I do agree that the party screwed up by allowing Clayton to appear on the ballot as a Democrat.
The sum total of your criticism of Garrison is that he was at the TNDP when Chip Forrester was. You have absolutely no idea what Garrison will do as chairmen of the TNDP, but assume that because he isn't disdainful of Chip, that he is somehow unqualified.
You are myopically focused on Forrester, while ignoring the other Democrats who've endorsed Garrison (including Jim Cooper, Karl Dean, A.C. Wharton, and Madeline Rogero).
The party chairmen's primary responsibility is to raise money. Garrison has shown that he is great at that. He was on the national finance committee for the Obama campaign and was one of the largest budlers in Tennessee. The idea that he has "no background in the political arena" is simply not accurate. Personally, I think Garrison's national contacts (especially with the Obama administration) could come in handy as the party seeks to rebuild.
You seem like a passionate Democrat, which is why I'd surprised you're so gung-ho for a party chairmen who co-sponsored the guns in bars and guns in parks bills, and is anti-choice.
Any resurgence on the part of the Tennessee Democratic Party will emanate, in part, from the state's major metropolitan areas. That the mayors of the 3 biggest cities in Tennessee are all endorsing Garrison is a big deal and something members of the Executive Committee should take seriously. These are successful politicians (after all, they were elected), who have an interest in a strong, vibrant TNDP. Democrats would be well-advised to look to the state's mayors for leadership as we present an alternative to the people of the state about what their government can look like.
Mayors are responsible for pragmatically governing rather than ideologically legislating. Tennessee would be much better off if the legislators in Nashville were as interested in effectively governing as they were at pushing an ideological agenda that has little change to address the actual problems this state faces.
Garrison has been endorsed by Congressman Jim Cooper, as well as Mayors Dean, Rogero, and Wharton, all people who know about winning elections in Tennessee. More importantly, these are all leaders the TNDP needs to be engaged. The criticism of Garrison seems to be that Chip Forrester likes him. Although that might be a problem for some, it wholly ignores the others who are supporting him as well. Garrison isn't simply "Forrester's hand picked successor."
Perry says that Roy Herron is the "only really qualified candidate, and the only one who will have an ounce of credibility as chair." Why? I am not aware of any specific plans Roy has put forward to lead the party back from "irrelevancy." Moreover, the only support for Herron I've seen came from a guy who no one in Democratic politics had ever heard of until he announced he was running for chair.
Why is Herron the "obvious choice?" That seems to be the conventional wisdom, but I haven't heard a compelling reason why.
The most important thing the chairman of any state party can do is raise money. Dave Garrison has shown himself extremely capable on this front, both for President Obama, and the Tennessee Democratic Party. Perry Aubric's post asked for "an accounting of the money that was raised under his watch, how much of it actually helped Tennessee Democratic candidates, and generally how every dime of it was spent." That information exists in the form of public disclosures. No one is hiding anything.
Local Dem makes a very strong argument that the money Garrison helped raise was critical in electing Jason Powel, Darren Jernigan, and Bo Mitchell to the Tennessee State House. Without these gains, a bad situation would have been that much worse.
I've seen Garrison on with Bob Mueller and I think he's a very effective spokesmen for the party. He makes a great point about the Democratic Party that is often overlooked: the party is thriving in the cities of Tennessee. Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Clarksville, and Murfreesboro all have Democractic mayors (and soon Chattanooga will when Andy Berke is elected). It is from these areas where the party needs to build and show the people of Tennessee that Democrats are pragmatists committed to effective goverance, rather than wasting time on Sharia law and bills like "don't say gay."
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