Forrester's predecessor as chairman, Gray Sasser, made $115,000 a year. Cheek is trying to cut Forrester's pay to $75,000. Cheek thinks Forrester doesn't deserve $115,000 because the party expects to raise only about $500,000 this year--and that's if Democrats are lucky. That's about half as much as the party raised and spent each year under Sasser. We're told Forrester tried to oust Cheek but couldn't because Cheek's term doesn't end for another year. Forrester apparently didn't know that. Now he does.
The party is beset by troubles under Forrester. Four Democratic congressmen and Gov. Phil Bredesen backed Bone. The party's executive committee defied them by electing Forrester in January. Since then, the elected officials have been pouting and refusing to meet with Forrester, sources say. They see Forrester as a little weird, and they have decided they don't need the party anyway.
"Chip is kind of squirrelly," one source says. "He's not a dumb guy, but his thought processes are not good and he ends up doing stupid things."
It's not all Forrester's fault. Other factors are hurting fundraising as well. The economy sucks for one thing. Also, Republicans took the legislature in the last election (remember that?), and that cost Democrats the constitutional offices and the state Building Commission, which help with fundraising because they are powerful and they can extract contributions in exchange for state contracts.
Update: In a comment below, Forrester confirms our smug anonymous insiders are telling the truth as usual. But he's upset that we didn't obtain his permission for this post.