Political campaigns are ramping up for November’s critical election, from the Tennessee Governor’s race to the U.S. Senate seat. Local 24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the messages sent to voters.
If you’re paying close attention to the campaigns for Senate and Governor in Tennessee, two things will become apparent. The Democratic candidates are shunning partisan politics while trying to make the case that they will work across party lines to get things done. And the Republican hopefuls keep stressing their conservative credentials, hoping that Tennessee voters who have been loyal to the GOP the last 12 years will stay that way this year.
It sets up a clear contrast ahead of the November midterm election. You won’t hear Democrats Phil Bredesen, the senate candidate, or Karl Dean, the gubernatorial candidate, touting their party affiliation that much during the campaign. Over the weekend, Dean told a middle Tennessee audience that partisan politics should fall by the wayside in the gubernatorial race. And Bredesen’s numerous TV ads constantly remind voters that he has bipartisan appeal.
But on the Republican side, it’s all about partisanship. Senate hopeful Marsha Blackburn is playing heavily to the Republican base by clinging to President Donald Trump, who remains popular in Tennessee. And gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee, who pulled a stunning upset in winning his party’s nomination, stresses that he’s a political outsider. A businessman with strong conservative principles, and the emphasis is on conservative.
The question now is which strategy will be most effective; the middle of the road or the sharp turn to the right. In 78 days, we’ll find out.