Democratic Candidates-in-Waiting Begin Cranking It Up

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Herron addressing crowd at Schledwitz home
  • JB
  • Herron addressing crowd at Schledwitz home
Even as contested county races and Republican primary fights dominate the local headlines and airwaves, three Democrats await their turn in the limelight, each in different ways.

*State Senator Roy Herron of Dresden, the Democratic nominee-in-waiting for the open 8th District congressional seat, was in Memphis this week for a well-attended fundraising event at the river-bluff residence of entrepreneur/political broker Karl Schledwitz.

Herron will face the winner of the current free-for-all involving Republican primary candidates Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump, George Flinn of Memphis, and Ron Kirkland of Jackson.

*7th District congressional nominee Greg Rabidoux, who faces the formidable task of challenging GOP incumbent Marsha Blackburn, will be the beneficiary of a meet & greet/fundraiser on Friday at the home of Adrienne Pakis-Gillon on Prestwick Drive.

*Jackson businessman Mike McWherter, the sole Democratic candidate for governor, apparently has no imminent plans for visiting Memphis but this week got what he hopes will be a major boost in Nashville, appearing before the media with Governor Phil Bredesen, who officially endorsed his candidacy.

McWherter awaits the outcome of the GOP gubernatorial primary, currently being contested by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam, Chattanooga congressman Zach Wamp, and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of Blountville.

In announcing his endorsement of McWherter, Bredesen said in part: “Mike’s background as a small business owner gives him the personal perspective and experience he needs to move our state forward, particularly during these tough economic times. He understands what it takes to make a payroll, to provide health insurance to working families and to create new jobs from scratch. I believe Mike is the most qualified candidate in this race and I look forward helping him win in November.”

At the Herron event, host Schledwitz jested ironically to an audience loaded with well-known donors and members of the local political community that “I love having a Democratic buddy who can write a book about God and Politics [a title by Herron, author of three books] and still be a Democrat.” His point was that Democrat Herron, a longtime legislator, lawyer and former minister, embodied many of the social virtues that voters are used to hearing touted by Republican candidates.

“I can be the urban candidate if not the urbane candidate,” Herron said, following suit. “We’re going to be talking about job, jobs, and jobs,” the candidate said, noting the high rate of unemployment in the countries of the 8th District. Herron also stressed the importance of reducing the federal deficit, which, he noted, had begun mounting to mega-levels under the Bush administration.

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