Democracy is on the rise in Tennessee as progressive candidates up and down the ballot scored major victories on Thursday in an election that had Phil Bredesen and Harold Ford Jr. receive the Democratic Party nominations for Governor and U.S. Senate. Thanks to the hard work and determination of the grassroots, candidates endorsed by Democracy for Tennessee and supported by local DFA chapters won all across the Volunteer State, demonstrating the new people-powered network that DFT has been organizing for the last year and a half.
In Chattanooga, DFT-endorsed Billy Long was elected the new Democratic sheriff of Hamilton County, defeating a three-term Republican incumbent in a nail-biter of a race. Long, a longtime deputy sheriff and a veteran of Vietnam and Iraq, is intent on bringing new accountability and new community policing initiatives to Chattanooga.
In Knoxville, Mark Harmon surprised local politicos by beating an incumbent and winning a seat on the Knox County Commission. Mark is a communications professor at the University of Tennessee and an outspoken voice in the community as the host of one of the only liberal talk radio shows in the state. Harmon's progressive voice and values will be much-needed on the county's dysfunctional commission.
Aside from the candidates that Democracy for Tennessee officially endorsed, several won races that the local DFA chapters campaigned for. Democracy for Memphis' endorsed candidate Steve Mulroy - a solid progressive - was handily elected to the Shelby County Commission. Two candidates, Sam Sallee and Alma Anderson, who were aided by members of Democracy for Cookeville, were elected to the Cookeville City Council. And David Clark, DFT Steering Committee member from Coffee County, won his primary battle for the state House of Representatives and will square off against the terminally corrupt Republican Judd Matheny in November.
As DFT activists recover from a relentless and sweltering campaign season, there is time for reflection. Time to learn from our victories and our failures and prepare for the next phase of our plan to take back America. Now that our county elections and state primary races are over, DFT will be organizing to target several state House and Senate races for November. Nearly all of them, including the seat for our endorsed candidate Kevin Smith in Bristol, will be in Republican areas that the Democratic Party has written off as lost causes. DFT is going to take the fight into the heart of enemy territory and make more seats competitive and help deliver a progressive message to every part of the state. We can only do it with your help, so please consider contributing to Democracy for Tennessee or by signing up for our Volunteer Team.
Congratulations to our candidates who won their races and a special thanks to their campaign teams - the DFA grassroots volunteers - who were key to these victories. Together, we have the power to take Tennessee back!