Karl Dean, addressing crowd at Poplar Avenue headquarters opening
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean uttered words in Memphis Thursday night that may never have been heard before in human history. “I love I-40,” the former Nashville Mayor said as he addressed the sizeable crowd of 50 or so that jammed into his newly opened headquarters on Poplar Avenue.
Hopefully, for the Mayor’s sake, he meant what he said, because, by the end of the weekend, he will have done a fair amount of back-and-forthing on the expressway route (which always seems an hour too long, either way) that connects Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee’s two largest cities. And Dean will have done it twice.
His headquarters opening (his first campaign office outside of Nashville, he would say) was the climax of two full days of campaigning in Memphis, a Wednesday night $250-a-head fundraiser at the Midtown home of Dr. John and Cori McMullen, and several meetings on Friday, including one with local ministers, a session with local media, a speech at the Frayser Exchange Club, and a tour of Overton High School.
At the headquarters opening (where the crowd included a diverse crowd and some heavy local hitters), the normally somewhat laid-back Dean was turned on and vigorous for the occasion. Part of that stemmed no doubt from the recent MTSU poll showing him, as he announced to the crowd, tied for first with the GOP's Diane Black in terms of favorability.
He stressed “a respect for local government,” something lost in recent state government, as he saw it. And, beyond his usual themes of education, economic development, and the like, he made a point of emphasizing a need for diversity.
He’ll be back on Saturday and Sunday for two more days of campaigning, beginning with the Whitehaven Christmas parade.
These are what the Dean campaign calls the "founding members" of his Memphis-Shelby County steering committee:
Councilman Edmund Ford Jr.
Councilman Martavius Jones
Commissioner Van Turner
Commissioner Reginald Milton
Commissioner Anthony Tate
Alderman Frankie Dakin
Board Member Teresa Jones
Pastor LaSimba Gray
Bishop Ed Stephens Jr.
President Alandas Dobbins
VP of Real Estate Alex Turley
Financial Analyst Austin Brown
CEO Brandon Harris
Former Sr. VP Calvin Anderson
President & CEO Charles Ewing
Director of Finance & Operations David Burke
Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Ed Stephens III
Infrastructure Sales Engineer Dwayne Woods
Educator Erika Sugarmon
CEO Henry Turley
Office Coordinator, Division Thoracic Surgery Kelly Brown
Community Advocate Kemba Ford
President Paul Morris
Asst. Store Manager Rayvon Joseph
Executive Director Regina Whitley
Educator Sam Brobeck
Sr. Customer Engineer Shaun Wilson
Logistics Management Specialist Sidney Johnson
Community Advocate Stanley Wilson
Diversity & Inclusion Consultant Sylvia Wilson
Management Consultant Thurston Smith
Business Owner Ward Archer