Friday, May 29, 2009


The Next Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party

I have been lax to post anything regarding the race to become the next Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. It's not fair to the candidates or to my wife, who, as the State Executive Committeewoman for the 6th District of Tennessee, will cast her ballot for one of the three gentlemen who have put their name into consideration.

I know both Chris Devaney and Oscar Brock well. Chris and I share the bond of having both worked for Senator Fred Thompson while he was in Tennessee, and I had many dealings with him when he served as Executive Director of the TN GOP. I know Oscar through his work with the State Executive Committee (including my time serving as a proxy on the Finance Committee of the SEC, of which Oscar is a member), and we had many memorable experiences in Minnesota as part of the Republican National Convention in September of 2008.

(Regarding Rep. Eric Swafford, who is also a candidate, he has not made the trip to Knoxville to meet with the SEC members in this area to my knowledge, more than likely due to his responsibilities in the House. Because of this (and my solid opinion that he cannot raise money as Chairman when the House is in session under current Tennessee law), I'm going to comment as if this were a two-man race, because, in my opinion, that is exactly what it is. Eric has been a solid conservative vote in the House, and I am of the hope that he will remain there, serving the people of Tennessee's 25th House District.)

Both Chris and Oscar are fine men whose ideas about where the TN GOP needs to go from here strongly overlap. I will admit that while their ideas are similar, their styles do not appear to be. And I think this is what this will come down to - personality. With this being a close race - a fact accentuated by there being at least 8-10 SEC members who will not be making the trip to Nashville tomorrow - it could come down to each candidate's address to the SEC prior to the voting. If Rep. Swafford pulls enough votes on the first ballot, who is to become the next Chairman will hinge on whether Chris or Oscar can pull enough of Swafford's converts to seal the nomination on the 2nd ballot.

I do not know who Angela will vote for tomorrow. We have discussed both men, and I have weighed in (with her and other SEC members) when asked about specific issues. They are both outstanding men, but make no mistake - how this Party moves forward after the excellent results of Robin Smith's reign will be determined tomorrow. I'm not saying that either selection is "right" or "wrong," just different, and it will be very interesting to see how everything shakes out tomorrow.

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