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The state Democratic Party took in $61,000 in March with Bill Freeman as treasurer, according to this week's Tennessee Journal
. That sounds pretty strong, considering the state of the economy, until you know Doug Horne tossed in $10,000 of that. Freeman probably snagged the rest from a few big donors and then hit a brick wall, with everybody holding back for fear of pissing off the governor. At that point, he quit. More from the Journal
on what's keeping chairman Chip Forrester busy these days as the party twirls down the toilet:
[Forrester] has a standing Thursday breakfast with House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville and Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Roy Herron of Dresden. He's launched a new website and is making preparations for a party summit May 2 and 3 in Monteagle, as he promised when he was elected. He has studied the possibility of moving the state headquarters from the Freedom Center near the Capitol to a less expensive location but has no current plan to do so. He is operating with a skeleton crew -- office manager Vionne Williams and fund-raising coordinator Meredith Puleo -- and volunteers.
The crucial test for Forrester comes with the Jackson Day dinner, the party's biggest fund-raiser, which is set for May 30 at the Factory in Franklin. If this fund-raiser flops, as expected, it may spell the end for the chairman--that is, if anyone cares enough to force his resignation.
Forrester has never really had a chance to succeed. As you recall, the party's elected leadership decided late in the process to back Charles Robert Bone, but Forrester won anyway because he'd already nailed down enough support within the executive committee. So the governor and congressmen just stopped helping the party. Bredesen, for instance, canceled his quarterly breakfasts with high-dollar donors--one of the party's main fund-raising gimmicks. As one reporter here at the Legislative Plaza put it this morning, Forrester didn't really win anything when he won the chairmanship.
"It's like when I used to play checkers with my brother when we were kids," this reporter said. "If I got close to winning, he'd just flip the board over so I couldn't win. That's the way it is with Chip."
: Sean Braisted spells out
three options for the party.