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



Vouchers Are Back, Professional Educators Is Still A No

Vouchers are likely to return both at the Tennessee General Assembly in 2018 and in the upcoming gubernatorial election. The issue has been debated and discussed for many years across our state. Public school teachers, administrators, superintendents and school boards, especially the members of our organization, are almost universal in opposition. Almost 90 percent of the children ... (click for more)

High School Activities Bring Communities Together

Tailgates. Pep rallies. Friday night lights. The new school year is here! And that’s exciting news for student-athletes and high school sports fans alike. Research shows that being a student-athlete is about a lot more than fun and games.  It teaches important life lessons, too. In fact, high school athletes not only have higher grade point averages and fewer school absences ... (click for more)

Opposing Sides Expected To Show Up For Coolidge Park Rally Thursday Night; Some Urged To "Bring Your Guns"

Chattanooga Police said they will be closely monitoring an organized rally at Coolidge Park on Thursday that may draw some of the same opposing sides that clashed - with deadly result - in Charlottesville, Va. The rally is set for 7:30 p.m. and initially was  in memory of a woman who was killed in the angry Virginia confrontation that initially began over a decision to ... (click for more)

As Eclipse Approaches, Residents Urged To Get Full Tank Of Gas, Leave In Plenty Of Time For Watch Destination

As the heralded solar eclipse approaches, Chattanooga residents are urged to get a full tank of gas and to leave early for their watching destinations.   The total/partial solar eclipse on Monday afternoon will be visible in Hamilton County as well as surrounding counties. Viewers who gather in the Spring City (Rhea County) area will experience the longest period ... (click for more)

Lookouts' Nick Gordon Reveals His Mature Baseball Savvy In Interview

Nick Gordon has already hit more home runs this season than he had in his first three years combined. Although last Monday in Birmingham the home run he probably wanted most proved elusive, it didn't dampen what was arguably the best overall game in his professional career. Gordon matched his career high with five hits and fell a homer shy of the cycle as the Lookouts ... (click for more)

Lookouts Open Series At Smokies Wednesday With 6-3 Win

KODAK, Tenn. -- Andy Wilkins hit a run-scoring single in the fifth inning, leading the Chattanooga Lookouts to a 6-3 win over the Tennessee Smokies on Wednesday. Chattanooga right-hander Zack Littell (3-0) picked up a quality start and the win after allowing one run on five hits over six innings. The single by Wilkins started the scoring in a three-run inning and gave the ... (click for more)