Today's fish wrapper features former state Rep. Debra Maggart looking back on her primary loss last year to current state Rep. Courtney Rogers.
This quote from the former House Republican Caucus chairwoman, in which she identifies where her re-election campaign went wrong, stands out:
“I should have made sure that the people of my district had an opportunity to hear her speak and answer questions” in a debate, Maggart said of Rogers. “If she has a challenger, she’s going to have to run a completely different campaign. She won’t have all these outside influences running it for her.”
By citing "outside influences" running Rogers' campaign, and suggesting that the political newcomer would have struggled under the glare of an in-person opponent and a crowd of voters, Maggart seems to invoke the main criticism of Rogers during the race; that she wasn't running for a state House seat so much as she was being run to punish an incumbent. In other words, that Tea Party conservatives and gun-rights activists had a mission and they just needed to plug in a candidate — any one will do — through which to accomplish it.
The Rogers camp spent election night 2012 beating back that perception, as former Scene staffer Jonathan Meador reported at the time.
Of course it's possible that Maggart is just playing pundit. She tells The Tennessean that she's happy working for the schools-oriented nonprofit Compass, and raising money for other Republicans. But earlier this month, Maggart left the door noticeably open when asked directly about a rematch next year. That makes us wonder if there's more than analysis behind this "If she has a challenger, she’s going to have to run a completely different campaign" talk. We weren't there for the interview, but we can't shake the image of Maggart elbowing a reporter and winking as she says it.
If you're going to not-so-subtly suggest that someone can't take the heat, wouldn't you think about turning it up?