Some TN political junkie reading suggestions, 8/7/2017

On members of Congress running for governor

Diane Black is one of nine current members of the U.S. House who have announced as candidates for governor in their home state and a “handful of others” are mulling the possibility, reports Politico.

But most of the aspiring governors are vacating the comfy confines of safe congressional districts for what, historically, has been a bad bet. The last time this many sitting representatives ran for governor, in 2006, twice as many lost as won.

… The aspiring governors in Ohio and Tennessee have slightly better historical records to fall back on. Both states have seen three sitting lawmakers elected governor since the turn of the 20th century. But the most recent in Ohio is Democrat Ted Strickland in 2006 and in Tennessee, and it’s been nearly a quarter-century since Republican Don Sundquist won in Tennessee, Ostermeier said

TN history note: Before Sundquist, the last member of Congress elected as Tennessee governor was Democrat Ray Blanton in 1974. And before that, it was Democrat Gordon Browning in 1936 (after trying an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 1934).  Browning then lost a bid for reelection, but returned to win the governor’s office again in 1948.

Just a guess, but Black probably will not be emphasizing her historical predecessors in the coming campaign.

Kustoff goes off diet, not off message

Jackson Baker reviews the “easy-going but focused” performance of freshman U.S. Rep. David Kustoff during a tour of the 8th Congressional District during this month’s House recess, HERE. It starts with an ice cream indulgence by the congressman “known for his disciplined habits, including an unvarying wake-up time of 3:15 a.m. and an insistence on limiting his dietary intake to one meal a day” and rambles on to include things such as this excerpt:

 “How’d I do?” Kustoff would ask someone the next day at NFIB. And the truthful answer would be that, like it or not, he had a done a decent job of fencing the questions.

At the NFIB affair, the congressman allowed himself a bit more latitude to speak of bipartisan concerns, particularly in the sphere of foreign policy, but he had a dog-whistle ready when one was called for. One questioner from the predominantly conservative audience at Regions extolled Trump as a champion of “capitalism” and asked pointedly, “What is it that the opposition is for?”

Kustoff’s answer was to say, “I read today that one of my colleagues wants single-payer health insurance.” He paused to let such unspoken implications as were implicit in that sink in, threw in the name of Bernie Sanders, and then went on to lament that the ranks of “Blue Dogs,” centrist Democrats, had been seriously depleted.

$80 million in TN spending for 2018 GOP primaries?

Steve Gill speculates (HERE) that spending in the Republican gubernatorial primary alone may reach $50 million. And then with two open GOP congressional seats (2nd and 6th districts) and 20 or so open Republican seats in the state House and Senate, well…

What’s the total tab for 2018 primary spending likely to be? Perhaps $75-80 million, particularly when you factor in independent expenditure committees, special interest groups promoting particular issues, and the local city and county races that will have their general election finals on August 2, 2018 as well. Media companies are drooling at the prospects for a windfall in 2018 while voters are cringing at the unprecedented political assault on their eyes and ears that is looming.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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