UPDATE: Candidate Mcwherter on Wednesday issued the following press release condemning the federal government's suit against the Arizona immigration law:
McWherter Denounces Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Arizona Over Controversial Immigration Law
Cites Federal Government’s Absolute Failure to Secure US Borders as the Real Problem
NASHVILLE, TN – Mike McWherter, Jackson Businessman and Gubernatorial Candidate, issued the following statement today in response to the US Department of Justice's lawsuit against the state of Arizona over its controversial immigration law:
“I think the administration is wrong on this one. Arizona’s trying to get a handle on the immigration policy because of Washington’s total failure to deal with the real problem,” said Mike McWherter. “Immigration has become another political football in Washington and this lawsuit only continues the game, rather than solve the problem. We need to control the border, crack down on businesses that employ illegal workers, and give businesses the tools to quickly and reliably verify a job applicant’s status.”
Having hit a deer on one of the Middle Tennessee back roads he says he’s been traveling the last few weeks, presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike McWherter had his father’s Chrysler Sebring on loan and drove it to Memphis on Tuesday. He surely hopes he can borrow the lingering political clout of former two-term governor Ned Mcwherter as well.
Up until now, candidate McWherter has been relatively scarce in these parts and, as he confided to a small crowd of media and supporters at the Hooks Main Library Tuesday, his home folks in Jackson, where he runs a beer distributorship among other businesses, have also been missing his company.
But he assured his audience at Hooks that, while he has good support in East Tennessee and has been doing all that missionary work in Middle Tennessee, he considers West Tennessee, , specifically including the Memphis area, his base. “I grew up around Memphis,” said McWherter, who noted that he bought “the very clothes on my body” here. His son would be attending Rhodes College beginning in the fall, and, for the next four years, he promised, “You will be seeing a lot of me in Memphis, Tennessee, on a very personal basis.”
Noting that he was the only gubernatorial candidate from West Tennessee, McWherter said he would be opening up a headquarters in Memphis and would be stepping up his campaigning in the area, doing so as often as possible in tandem with local Democratic candidates. “I’ve never seen a stronger slate of candidates than we’ve seen this year,” he said, holding out the prospect that, as in 1974, when Democrats regained most of the important state offices from Republicans, the party could do so again this year.
Like another Democrat who has the party nomination locked up, Roy Herron in the 8th congressional district, McWherter emphasized “jobs retention and creation” as major concerns.
He took an apparent shot at Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam, the presumed frontrunner among Republican gubernatorial hopefuls, by saying that the current difficult economic times “require more than simply jugging your statistics on TV ads to inflate your accomplishments.”
After his talk at the library, McWherter went to Jim Neely’s Interstate Barbecue on South Third to lend a hand as part of the “Mike Works” campaign theme which has him doing jobs at various businesses across the state. “I’m looking for indoor work in July,” he quipped.
Of course, he’s also looking for indoor work in Nashville after November, and he doesn’t think he’s been inconvenienced in that quest by the publicity garnered by Republican candidates in the hotly contested three-way GOP primary featuring Haslam, Chattanooga congressman Zach Wamp, and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of Blountville.
After all, as McWherter points out, it is mentioned in almost every article that the winner of that primary will be opposed by himself as Democratic nominee. “I’ve been getting pretty good coverage,” he said.