Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Special Election Alert: Tennessee


Tennessee's 14th senatorial district includes all or part of 5 cities: Ardmore, Fayetteville, Lewisburg, Murfreesboro, Shelbyville and all or part of Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore and Rutherford counties. The median household income is $45,900, somewhat higher than the state's median ($42,500). It's part of Scott DesJarlais' congressional district, which has a PVI of R+20. Trump won that congressional district 68.6% to 27.4%. This is a really red district-- and it's 82.5% white. The incumbent, Jim Tracy, resigned at the end of 2017 when Trump appointed him state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development office. There's a special election coming up on March 13 pitting primary winners Gayle Jordan, a progressive Democrat, against right-wing extremist Shane Reeves. We asked Gayle to give us some idea of the kind of campaign she's running in a deep red area. Spoiler alert: it sure isn't the kind of Republican-lite campaign the Democratic establishment is always urging red-state Democrats to run. Below is her guest post.

Running Blue in a Red State
by Gayle Jordan

I’m a farmer, lawyer, mother, Ironman, and I’m running for state senate in District 14, composed of 5 counties from south of Nashville to the Alabama state line.

As the banners in the yards screamed in the 2016 election cycle: THIS IS TRUMP COUNTRY. Trump won in this district by 50 points.

Our Republican supermajority legislature has refused to expand Medicaid, not even bringing it to the floor for a vote. We have had 10 rural hospitals close in the 8 years the Republicans have held the supermajority.

We have no comprehensive infrastructure plan in a boom period, and a large number of our folks in the rural areas have no broadband.

Our schools face threats from vouchers and charter schools, our students are overtested, and our teachers are undervalued. Their union was busted in the 8 years the Republicans have been in power.

We have an opioid addiction epidemic that killed more Tennesseans than died by car accidents in 2014.

I’m a progressive, liberal, atheist, Democrat.

I believe our hospital closures will not cease until we provide healthcare for the 300,000 uninsured working folks in our district.

I believe public money belongs in public schools. Period.

I’m an advocate of cannabis legalization for treatment of our opioid problem, business and tax benefits, and criminal justice reform, as well as pain management and disease treatment.

I am a supporter of, and have been endorsed by, unions in my area.

We have serious issues facing us here in Tennessee. Democrats in my district are motivated and are phonebanking, canvassing, texting, emailing, and post carding daily, in every corner of our district.

Our primary was last Thursday. My opponent is a wealthy pharmacist, who has spent over $260,000 dollars on his campaign through a primary where both men attempted to out-Trump one another on TV, newspaper, and radio.

Goal ThermometerWe’ve seen Virginia, Alabama, and Oklahoma flip seats no one would have predicted. In Tennessee in December, in a district which shares a border with ours, our outstanding Democratic candidate closed the Trump gap to within 2 points, losing an 11,000 vote election by 300 votes.

We are outnumbered in our district 4 to 1. We had the worst voting statistics in the nation in 2016, ranking 50th in voter turnout. We recognize the steepness of the hill we must climb. We welcome help from every direction, and have been humbled and grateful for the support we’ve received from every corner of the country.

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At 1:21 PM, Blogger Garry Gentry said...

First paragraph has Alabama and should say TN. Since I lived there for 18 years before moving back to GA this is the area where Rep. Dejarlais ??sp ran and was re-elected after being outed for having an affair with his nurse and then demanding she have an abortion. It is about as Red a District as exists. The reason income average is higher there is because it includes the Union Represented Saturn now GM in Spring Hill and the Non-Union little bit higher than average wage Nissan plants with a lot of supplier plants around the District. If this turns into a win watch out.

At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

The best of luck to you, Gail. Your are courageous and a fighter.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Thanks Garry, I fixed it!

At 4:12 AM, Blogger Susan Steen said...

Thank you. Yes, it's Tennessee and it's red. The hearts of so many, though, are blue and desperate for a positive change. Gayle can do this. We need voices and votes (and always money). Change is coming. It's going to be good.

At 4:13 AM, Blogger Susan Steen said...

Thank you so much for sharing the story. I'm in the next district, but I know that if Gayle wins we will all begin to win. She is a voice of reason and compassion. Thank you so much.


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