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


Great Work, City Auditor

As a voter, I was skeptical about having an independent city auditor’s office. This office was created by referendum of the voters. The public wanted third party oversight of city government, for good cause.  I will be the first to admit I was wrong.  A primary problem was the auditor being hired and fired by the mayor’s office, who could also set the auditors operating ... (click for more)

Commissioner Mackey Asks All to Support Football Mocs

The moment that many of us have been waiting for six months is upon us---it is football time in Tennessee.  If you live within the greater Chattanooga area I am asking you to join me in looking upon the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as being our hometown football team.  And it is an exciting team that we can be proud of.    The Chattanooga Mocs will ... (click for more)

Plan Revived For 5-Story Boutique Hotel Next To The Walnut Street Bridge

Plans have been revived for a five-story boutique hotel next to the Walnut Street Bridge. Vision Hospitality Group said the yet-to-be named hotel will provide 90 rooms featuring high-end amenities and exemplary service in the city's art district. Plans for a similar hotel were announced in 2012, but the proposal was later withdrawn. The hotel is slated for 102 Walnut ... (click for more)

Grand Jury Says County Needs To Start "Immediately" On Funding A New County Jail

Members of the Hamilton County Grand Jury said in a final report that the county needs to start "immediately" on funding a replacement for the Hamilton County Jail. The report, read by Foreman Robert Smith, says, "The Jail is near and/or over capacity and understaffed!  Hard-working corrections officers are in constant danger.  Being responsible for 80-100 inmates per ... (click for more)

Orr In On Four Touchdowns, Irish Defeat Pioneers, 34-20

Notre Dame’s Kareem Orr, one of the area’s top college prospects, showed his versatility Friday night while leading the Fighting Irish to a 34-20 non-district football victory over East Ridge at Raymond James Field. Orr caught three touchdown passes, threw for one and had 121 yards of offense as the Irish leveled their 2014 record at 1-1. The Irish play at Chattanooga Christian ... (click for more)

Baylor Comeback Swamps Webb, 34-7

Baylor lost a fumble on the third play of the game and the visiting Webb Spartans scored five plays later, but the Red Raiders came storming back to win their second-straight game, 34-7, over the D-II, Class A two-time defending state champions. Quarterback Nick Tiano, who has already committed to Mississippi State, hurled two touchdown passes and scored a third on a sneak from ... (click for more)