Bob Clement swept the mayoral straw poll at the county Democratic Party fundraiser last night, and Karl Dean's campaign was complaining about it even before it happened.
Dean campaign manager Jim Hester phoned us yesterday morning to say Dean wasn't even trying to win the straw poll because he was committed to a speaking engagement in Old Hickory. "I'm sure Clement will win and try to make a big deal out of it," Hester said, "but we're not participating."
Except for a little publicity value, it's true the straw poll is meaningless. It's a fundraising gimmick for the party. Ballots cost $10 and the campaigns bought the voting tickets for supporters.
For the record, Clement had 144 votes, followed by Buck Dozier with 52, Howard Gentry with 44. David Briley, who also didn't attend, got 35 votes, and Dean had 18.