Monday, September 25, 2006
Following the Money
In between daily doctor's appointments for the VOLConWife and more football games than most people could stand, more than a few people spoke with me this weekend about the U.S. Senate race. My conclusion?
Harold Ford is galvanizing Republican support for Bob Corker.
Two areas that each voter mentioned in regards to their newfound support for Corker were 1) Ford's poor choice to film one of his negative ads against Corker in a church and 2) Ford's money pipeline from out-of-state sources.
On the former issue, I wasn't sure at first how Ford's use of a church to attack a political opponent would play in the Bible Belt. After recent discussions, I think it's safe to say that it has turned many people off, and many of these people were confirmed "Undecided" voters and fence-sitters.
On the latter issue, the same people who felt that Bob Corker was trying to buy the Senate seat in the primary by dumping huge amounts of personal cash into his campaign coffers are now flocking to Corker as Hollywood and New York liberals continue to fund Ford's general election bid. It's a well-known fact that Appalachians - which would include East Tennesseans - find little more offensive than the notion that someone is attempting to buy someone's actions. In this case, that action is walking into the voting booth in a few weeks and pulling that lever for Harold Ford. From a recent Corker press release:
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Bob Corker has raised 93% of his campaign funds from inside the state of Tennessee, while Congressman Ford has raised a paltry 32% in state.
When traditionally Republican voters see that statistic and others that show Harold Ford as the #2 most-prolific fundraiser in Hollywood behind only the current U.S. Congressman representing the district that includes Hollywood, it strikes a nerve. Certain voters who might not have joined on with Bob Corker's earlier attempts at party unification may be finding their way into the Corker camp simply by the actions of the Ford campaign.
I suppose this isn't entirely unpredictable. The more that Harold Ford tries to make conservatives think that he's one of them, the harder they look at his record and motivations. In the end, they cannot come to any other conclusion than this - Harold Ford is not one of us.
MORE: Although it isn't an issue that resonates with many Tennessee voters, I do like to read about Bob Corker paying attention to issues like the one below, one that Harold Ford dares not touch for fear of angering his trial lawyer friends:
Brownsville, TN - Corker expressed his concern about the lack of specialized doctors, including no OB/GYNs in Brownsville and Waynesboro and numerous other rural counties in Tennessee.
"I have talked to many doctors and patients across the state and the one thing they all agree on is that we need to get commonsense medical liability reform passed as soon as possible," stated Corker. "Excessive lawsuits have caused many physicians to stop practicing, and today in many rural counties across Tennessee, there are no residing OB/GYNs providing patient care in places like Haywood and Wayne Counties, or are seriously underserved as I learned in Hardin."