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TN-Gov: McMillan Drops Out

by: James L.

Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 8:07 PM EDT

It looks like Tennessee Democrats have their gubernatorial nominee settled out:

Former Tennessee state House Majority Leader Kim McMillan announced Wednesday she is ending her bid for the Democratic governor nomination, clearing the field for businessman Mike McWherter, and instead entering the Clarksville mayoral race.

McMillan's departure had been rumored around the Volunteer state after a recent poll showed she would be competitive should she run for mayor in her hometown. [...]

"I believe I can make a difference as Mayor of Tennessee's 5th largest city," McMillan concluded.

McMillan's exit leaves business Mike McWherter, the son of ex-Gov. Ned McWherter, as the presumptive Democratic nominee. McWherter recently pledged to put in $1 million of his own money into the race, and, very pleasantly, is taking a non-bullshit approach on healthcare reform:

McWherter called the health care overhaul signed by Democratic President Barack Obama last week "the law of the land," and criticized Republicans for urging the state to join a lawsuit seeking to block the law.

"Access to affordable, adequate health care is something that every Tennessean ought to have," McWherter said. "And this should not be an issue that we politically grandstand about."

McWherter will have to face the winner of a three-way Republican primary between Rep. Zach Wamp, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey.

James L. :: TN-Gov: McMillan Drops Out
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McWherter sounds like my kind of guy, which almost necessarily means he's not Tennessee's kind of guy.

34, WM, Democrat, FL-11

wouldn't speak to quickly. I seem to remember reading that he opposes gay adoption, which I think is extreme.  

Proud member of the Indiana Democratic Party from IN-9.  

[ Parent ]
That is extreme
But I imagine that in TN, that probably won't hurt (or help) him at all.  

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

[ Parent ]
For Tennessee - probably not

[ Parent ]
His daddy was popular governor
Ned McWherter was a very two governor who's tenure ended in 1995, so that buys him a little something. I think he has a chance if the Republican candidate is Zach Wamp, then he'll have the outsider candidate thing working for him.

Also, technically Ron Ramsey is the Lieutenant Governor.

Who's the most formidable?
Among the Republican candidates? I don't know enough about TN politics to know....but who should Team Blue fear the most?

Kansan by birth, Californian by choice, and Gay by the grace of God.

If Rasmussen is to be believed
Democrats' order of preference is (1) Wamp; (2) Ramsey; (3) Haslam.  From what little I know about the candidates, that actually seems right to me.

34, WM, Democrat, FL-11

[ Parent ]
My hopes for this race just went up.
No-bullshit sons of popular former governors who can stand up for themselves play well in that part of the world, especially against an empty suit like Zach Wamp. (Also, Wamp represents the hillbilly part of Tennessee. I doubt he'll play well in Nashville or Memphis.)

I'm hoping McWherter is another Mike Beebe, and the fact that he can self-fund really doesn't hurt. I was pretty pessimistic about this race given the erosion of Obama's numbers in Appalachia compared to Kerry, but it looks like it might get pulled out of the fire after all. Here's hoping.  

This South is really weird this year
Without seeing any polls or anything I feel like McWherter has a pretty good chance if Wamp wins the primary just because he has a really attactive profile and the ability to self finance. Also, GA, SC and AL are competitive for GOV when the approval numbers for Obama aren't great for any of these states and I don't see Democrats losing any Congressional seats in any of these states. Everything except for TN 06 looks alright for Dems honestly in  TN as well.  

We shall see
Haslam, if i remember correctly, is very well connected (and, at the same time - isn't an insider like Wamp), has money and closer to "moderate" (by modern Tennessee standards that's not too much, but still..) wing of Tennessee Republican party. So, if he wins primary - he is, probably, THE most formidable candidate. But that same qualities may create numerous problems for him in winger-dominated primary.

McWherter is by far the best candidate, but it will be a tough race
The clearing of the field for Mike McWherter, along with his one million dollar self-endorsement, will go along way in making him more competitive this fall. In addition he can rely on the remnants of his father's political machine, esp. any in-roads that remain in East Tennessee. However, he is not his father, who had built up decades of political capital statewide as the House Speaker, nor does Mike possess the charisma and persona of a farm-boy from Palmersville "made good" that his father used to great advantage to relate to the average voter.

Mike is by far the best candidate we could field, but this will be a historically rough year for the Tennessee Democratic Party.  

Democrat: TN-8

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