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Roy Herron won the Rutherford County Democrats' straw poll Saturday. That's surprising in itself, but he also trounced Mike McWherter, the one most people see as the party's strongest candidate for governor. McWherter finished behind even Kim McMillan. He's always seemed like a dud to me, a guy capable of sucking the excitement right out of a room. But everybody kept saying he'd win the nomination anyway. Well, maybe they were wrong. Here's what Herron had to say:
"I think the election results reflect our hard work. I am humbled, grateful, and inspired to work harder than ever. This strong victory shows we can win."
Thanks to Jonathan Fagan, Rutherford County chair, the event probably
will gain more importance than it deserves among donors and insiders,
the only ones paying attention at the moment. Fagan said:
candidate that wins this straw poll will send a strong message to the
party, press and donors for weeks to come that they are a serious
candidate to move our state forward."
Herron won with 119 votes, 38 percent in a five-candidate contest. The results:
1. Sen. Roy Herron - 119
2. Sen. Jim Kyle - 81
3. Kim McMillan - 58
4. Mike McWherter - 32
5. Ward Cammack - 13
6. Undecided - 12
are beginning to worry about their frontrunner, Bill Haslam, because
even nine months into his campaign he still sounds befuddled at times
when asked about big state issues. Now, because of this straw poll,
Democrats have to wonder a little bit about McWherter too. Update: Sean Braisted's already
dumping on McWherter, saying he "has failed entirely to inspire passion in his party activists." Plus, a report from Ilissa Gold.