As the last week of the August 6th election round began, candidates were racing around putting their best surrogates on display — hitchhiking, as it were, on other, better established or more well-known political figures.
Leatherwood (l) with Lee
In the case of Tom Leatherwood, a Republican running for reelection to the state House of Representatives from District 99 (Eads, Arlington, eastern Shelby), the doppelgänger was Governor Bill Lee, down from Nashville. The two held forth before a sizable late-Monday-morning crowd at Olympic Steak and Pizza in Arlington, while partisans of Leatherwood’s GOP primary opponent, former Shelby County Republican chairman Lee Mills, picketed outside.
Slightly later on Monday, U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi, a Nashville physician and Republican newcomer who styles himself "Dr. Manny," hit the stage of another well-attended event, this one at The Grove, an establishment in Cordova. He had in tow U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and Sethi, who is opposed by former Ambassador Bill Hagerty, a Trump endorsee, fairly quickly disposed of any idea that he might be the moderate in the race.
“I’m tired of this coronavirus, aren’t you?” Sethi said, addressing a seated crowd of which roughly a third were maskless. “Let’s fire Dr. Fauci!” he continued, going on to endorse the glories of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug President Trump has touted as a potential antidote to Covid-19.
James Mackler, a Democratic candidate in the Senate race, has condemned Sethi’s position as one making him unworthy of serving in the Senate.
Sethi is one of two physicians in the Senate race. The other, Republican George Flinn of Memphis, has denounced Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as being woefully insufficient.
Meanwhile, Democratic state Representative Joe Towns, bidding for reelection in District 84, was the beneficiary of a Monday fundraiser at India Palace on Poplar. Towns had asked both Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris to be on hand. Strickland was able to make it, Harris was not.
Mills' picketers at Leatherwood event.