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From the folks at Democracy for Tennessee, the statewide DFA coalition (

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 Nashville, Gracie Porter's election to the Metro School Board was a major victory as local Republicans tried to install a radical conservative home-schooling advocate in office.  Progressives responded in overwhelming force, delivering a major victory for Gracie, who got 55% of the vote in a four-way race.  Meanwhile, across town, DFT-endorsed candidate Karen Johnson knocked off the incumbent school board candidate in District 6.  Two landslide victories for these candidates will help re-shape public education in Music City.  Also in Nashville, two State House Representatives who have received past support from Democracy for America and the local DFA chapter - Sherry Jones and Janis Sontany - cruised to re-election.

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!

Originally posted to The Crusader on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 02:33 PM PDT.


If you are a Tennessean, will you pledge to help on a DFA campaign in TN this fall?

57%4 votes
28%2 votes
14%1 votes

| 7 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  As a Tennessean, (0+ / 0-)

    so you think Ford has a shot?

    touche pas à mon pote!, -7.63, -6.56

    by Mr Bula on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 03:12:56 PM PDT

  •  Not particularly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hardleft, Mr Bula

    Why not you ask?

    1. Ford has successfully alienated vast swaths of the grassroots activists in the state, not just on the issues, but because of his Lieberman-like tendency to adopt Republican framing and provoke liberals.  This strategy, which Ford thinks will attract independents (who simply don't vote in non-presidential years in Tennessee) and moderate Republicans will fail because...
    1. The Republican candidate is Bob Corker, who is in fact a moderate Republican.  He made a lot of noise about being "pro-life" in the GOP primary, but most insiders believe that he will not be an anti-choice crusader when in office.  Much like Lamar Alexander.

    The final analysis is that Ford will only appeal to the media, who desperately want to write a "first black Southern senator" script about this race to prove that we aren't all racists down here.  And the truth is, Ford will NOT lose because of his skin color.  He will lose because he is a DLC hack who will not differentiate himself from Corker in a misguided effort to get Republican voters.  Ford has and will say anything to get elected and once again, a Republican-lite candidate is going to get stomped.

    The best way to have avoided this would have been to nominate Rosalind Kurita, who, while not particularly progressive, would have taken the fight to Corker hard.  Ford will not.  The other thing we were all hoping for was that the GOP would nominate Van Hilleary, a complete dolt that the press hates and who is a shitty campaigner.

    Neither is the case.  As it stands, though, you will see a lot of Democratic Party insiders - both in D.C. and in Tennessee - saying this race can be won.  This is based on two things: wishful thinking and the desire for campaign cash to be spread around the state for vendors.

    Let the Ford people pay for their volunteers with all the money he's raised from Hillary Clinton and Hollywood.  If progressive Tennesseans really want to make a difference and campaign for someone who shares their values, I suggest you keep watching Democracy for Tennessee to see which state House and Senate races they want to target and work on.

    •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

      Typical far left attitude. You don't get the far left candidate you want, and so you take your ball and go home so that you can crow about "the message that you sent" when someone completely hostile to all your beliefs is elected because you couldn't gets omeone from the Michael Moore crowd nominated.

      •  Someone obviously unfamiliar (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        witht the Ford family history in TN politics.  

        Look, if Ford is going to be the apologetic Democrat that he's always been, he'll lose on his own acord and not because of a lack of grassroots support.  

        Successful candidates give voters clear choices.  Ford won't do that.  Jim Webb will do that.  Stephanie Herseth did that.  You don't have to be a far lefty to call corporate Republican scumbags corporate Republican scumbags.

      •  WTF? (0+ / 0-)

        What the hell are you talking about?

        There was nobody from the "Michael Moore crowd" to be nominated.  Didn't you read what I said - that Ford's opponent wasn't a progressive either.

        I know your type, jiacinto.  You're one of the "New Democrats" like Ford who want to make all this be about left vs. right for the Democratic Party, which is Republican framing.  Ford doesn't suck because he's a conservative Democrat - most of them are in the South.  He and Joe Loserman suck because they are practically ashamed to be a Democrat.  And that has so many repercussions on policy, strategy, tactics, and the ability to gain a majority, that it's criminal.

        But you just keep on saying things like we "don't get the far left candidate you want".  Dig yourself in a hole even deeper and make yourself look stupid.  Never mind how the grassroots was supporting Paul Hackett (less liberal than Sherrod Brown), Stephanie Herseth, or Jim Webb.  Keep going along with what the corporate media and their Republican handlers are telling you.  That's fine.

        Just stay the fuck out of our way.

  •  Thanks for coming by with success stories! (0+ / 0-)

    It is very easy to get down on the current state of the world, but it is terrific to hear that there are actual wins coming our way!

    Really, thanks for your work, DFT--more, please!

  •  Glad to hear (0+ / 0-)

    about good things happening in the rest of the state.


    "Those who would divide us will never be able to lead us."

    by vibinc on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 05:08:30 PM PDT

  •  Harold Ford is not a progressive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Will all due respect to you folks in Tennessee who are doing important and hard work, there's a rotten apple in your barrel. Harold Ford is not a progressive.

    No way, no how. Seems like a centrist in general, but he's also, effectively, anti-LGBT rights. You can tell me all you want about how compromises need to be made in a red state like Tennessee, but I ain't gonna buy it. I refuse that hokum on principle -- tell me, should black folks have supported Dixiecrats to help the Democratic Party? -- and on family history -- my grandfather was an organizer for the boilermakers in Tennessee, and although that was no radical union, he knew that there were some baseline issues on which you just don't make deals with the devil. There were times in his life when that meant carrying a gun, lest company goons keep him from going home to his family. So he did what he had to do. Now, that's a Tennessean.

    And for wavering liberals out there wondering if Ford is just ducking a controversial issue in Tennesse, forget it -- this man's practically a crusader against equal rights for LGBT folks. Not only does he oppose gay marriage, he voted WITH REPUBLICANS for a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT banning same-sex marriage. That's what this guy thinks is important.

    But he didn't stop there. He supports the state's anti-gay initiative as well, a totally pointless symbolic gesture that exists just to remind all LGBT folks in Tennessee that they better not expect equal rights.

    Ford's also taken time out to support desecrating the Constitution by making an amendment against flag burning -- a "progressive" issue in which he's right in line with a GOP that used the stunt to deflect attention from real issues -- and to create a law PREVENTING COURTS FROM EVEN HEARING cases about the Pledge of Allegiance. So much for checks and balances.

    That stuff reveals the weak character of this charlatan, but his anti-gay work is the line that progressives shouldn't cross. Especially not here on Daily Kos, where so much work is being done to restore the Democratic Party to its progressive roots and to send the pseudo-dems like Lieberman packing. Ford's in that vein. Why work to get rid of one only to bring in another?

    I know, I know -- committees, control of the legislative process. Great. Can't wait to control that legislative process so it can be Democrats kicking LGBT in the head instead of Republicans.

    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you run a far left Democrat in TN you don't win. That's the blatant truth. A Dennis Kuchinich Democrat in TN won't win.

      •  Guess Again! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Ford's replacement in the House will be State Senator Steve Cohen.

        And make no mistake, Cohen IS as liberal as Kucinich.  

        Cohen's for medical marijuana, opposed the War in Iraq, he's an environmentalist, he's pro-choice, gay rights, progressive taxation, gender equality, wants universal health care.

        Since the ninth district is overwhelmingly Democratic, whoever wins the primary faces only token opposition from the Republican.  Cohen has it locked and we will, in fact, have our own Dennis Kucinich now.

        Again, jiacinto, you don't know what you're talking about.  Give it up.

    •  He needs to be a centrist to win TN (0+ / 0-)

      plain and simple

      "The road to tyranny starts with the destruction of truth"

      by SensibleDemocrat on Sat Aug 05, 2006 at 07:39:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Harold Ford is not a centrist. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Fine. There are a lot of centrists who aren't pro-actively pursuing policies that encourage violence against queers. Hell, there are Republicans -- even fairly conservative Republicans -- who call the bluff on this homophobic, pandering to the lowest element bullshit. There's a mighty big spectrum between Kucinich, on the left, honest, non-hating centrists in the center, and gay-bashing shmucks on the right of an issue that effects millions.

        This is the vision? This is what we're working toward? Electing assholes who tell us that if we're gay we don't have the right to visit our life-partners in the hospital? That if we're gay we're second-class citizens? That if some shmuck calls us "faggot," well, he's really just putting in less euphemistic terms the law of the land?

        Forgive me if I don't jump on the bandwagon. Don't give me your centrist spiel -- wait till the next gay man's lying bloody in the gutter in Nashville, or the next dyke is booted from her home in Memphis, or the next queer rots away without healthcare because Ford, in his Christian wisdom, deems the faggot's 20-year monogamous relationship not as worthy as two 18-year-old fools married after two weeks.

        This isn't centrism, it's bigotry, plain and simple. I'm not asking Ford to be Kucinich -- hell, I'd settle if he was as "radical" as that famous progressive, John McCain. But the man utterly lacks balls. That tells us what he'll be like as a senator -- a spineless, bigoted, self-serving creep locking down a senate seat that could've belonged to a real Democrat, voting with the GOP, whining to Democrats that they need to support him because we shouldn't expect any better of Tennessee.

        That's what Tennessee wants? For the rest of the country to say, Well, you can't ask for anything more, they're just a buncha dumb bigots?

        I don't think Tennesseans are, and I don't think that's what they want.

    •  Well duh! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't think anyone that actually follows Ford's career or Tennessee politics would say that he's progressive.

      The best we got out of him during the whole primary race was that he was "for" alternative energy sources and that we had to "get off of foreign oil".

      Wow, Katie bar the door - that's some commie talk there!

      Even on that issue, it should be noted that he decided to be on board with that policy only after Rosalind Kurita got screaming applause for it everywhere she went.  Ford stole her message.

      Oh, and he never had the balls to debate her, either.

      This is our nominee, folks.  Enjoy!

  •  The largest and by far most progressive city (0+ / 0-)

    in the state is treated like an also-ran. Anyone more concerned with Chattanooga and Knoxville politics than Memphis has NO RIGHT to claim the title "Democracy for Tennessee".

    Cookeville is mentioned more times in this diary than Memphis. Cheesh. More glad with each passing day I got the hell out of Dodge.


    Where are we going? And why are we going this fast in something as shoddy as a handbasket?

    by grndrush on Sun Aug 06, 2006 at 10:11:52 AM PDT

    •  Except... (0+ / 0-)

      That there was one candidate mentioned from Memphis who was mentioned... and won.

      Also, I think this group endorsed another candidate from Memphis and that election was just a couple of months ago.  So that makes two from Memphis.

      Happy now?

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