Rep. Wamp: Why Republicans Won In Tennessee

Monday, November 10, 2008 - by Rep. Zach Wamp

Before the analysts and pundits completely misread the state of the Republican Party in America, folks need to look at what happened last week in the previously bellwether state of Tennessee. With a strong mother and businesswoman turned political activist at the helm of the Tennessee Republican Party, Chairwoman Robin Smith led the GOP to a historic new majority in the General Assembly.

Under Smith’s leadership and with the help of many quality new candidates like country music singer Terri Lynn Weaver and young entrepreneur Josh Evans, the Tennessee GOP captured 14 non-incumbent seats in the State House and State Senate to win the first constitutional majority in both bodies since Reconstruction. Former House minority leader Jason Mumpower now stands ready to be the Speaker of the house and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey increased the majority in the State Senate necessary to keep him in that post dramatically changing the future of Tennessee politics as the 2010 census draws near.



This victory comes without any coattails from John McCain. President George W. Bush won Tennessee in 2000 and 2004 and didn’t really impact the outcome of the Democratic majority in the General Assembly. President-elect Obama came within 1 percent of the vote that former presidential candidate John Kerry did in 2004. In a year where Tennessee experienced record voter turnout, this was not a coattails election.

Nor was the Tennessee outcome about race. Two years ago Harold Ford, Jr. ran a very competitive state-wide campaign in Tennessee for the U.S. Senate. Having been in politics in Tennessee for over 25 years, I can assure you that Colin Powell, J.C. Watts or Condoleezza Rice would have carried our state had they run for President.

The winning approach for the Tennessee GOP was recruiting excellent candidates and articulating a consistent message. Standing on conservative principles with a positive platform, Tennessee Republicans have changed the status quo. This election basically rolled out the “good old boy” leadership of our state legislature, replacing it with fresh people. The message from the candidates was one that included limited government and low taxes, but took the position of funding education before all of the other priorities are decided upon. This pro-education message for primary, secondary and higher education funding levels, in addition to the social and values issues important to our voters brought about this stunning result.

While the GOP experiences huge branding challenges in our nation, a state like Tennessee with a simple message, outstanding candidates and hard work at the local level serves as an example to the nation how to win the old fashioned way-earn it.

Rep. Zach Wamp



Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Bill Pennington, a sports writer for the New York Times, was lamenting the “huddle” is slowly disappearing in football due to the faster pace of the game and, during his search for more information, he called former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. Bill wrote that Joe couldn’t stop laughing about the funny things that would happen between plays. Joe told this story: ... (click for more)

Managed Hunting Is Necessary In Maintaining A Stable Deer Population - And Response

I enjoy seeing the whitetail deer that we have in so many areas here in East Tennessee, but here in Hamilton County we have been approaching the maximum habitat sustainability in some places including the Enterprise South area. I make this statement due to the fact that I have seen up to 20 deer driving around in Hixson in one evening during the summer. I believe that TWRA is doing ... (click for more)

Man Shot Multiple Times In Cleveland; Jesus Teague, 14, Is Arrested

On Saturday, at 6:12 a.m., Cleveland Police Department responded to 1210 Elrod Place SE in reference to a domestic disturbance.   A man sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was transported to Erlanger by Life Force. His condition is stable, at this time.   The suspect, Jesus Tyler Teague, 14, was located and was in custody as of 3:25 p.m. ... (click for more)

Travis Caslin, 42, Shot While Walking Along South Willow Street

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot on Friday night while walking along South Willow Street.   The victim was identified as Travis Caslin, 42.   At 7:37 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers were called to a local hospital after a person showed up with a gunshot wound.   Police were informed that the victim's condition was non-life threatening. ... (click for more)

John Gilpin Dominates Signal Mountain Pie Run

You can almost be guaranteed of one thing when John Gilpin approaches the starting line of a road race. Chances are better than average that the former Chattanooga Moc track and cross country standout is going to win. Such was the case at the annual Signal Mountain Pie Run Saturday morning as the 25-year-old Nashville resident covered a hilly and challenging 10K course in ... (click for more)

Top-Ranked Alabama Smashes Tennessee 45-7

(This story has been updated) Tennessee, a 34-point underdog in one of college football’s better long-running series, stayed close for one quarter before top-ranked Alabama switched to another gear and pummeled the struggling Vols, 45-7, Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The rock-ribbed Crimson Tide defense locked down Tennessee’s ground game, hounded quarterback ... (click for more)