editorial (2006-28)

State, Federal Primary Election Endorsements

The Aug. 3 election determines party nominees

State, Federal Primary Election Endorsements

Going to the polls on or before Aug. 3 means a lot more than negotiating the hazards attendant to Knox County’s general election and its uncertainties regarding the county Charter and term limits for county officeholders.

Though the county’s Charter morass has gotten much of the attention locally, voters will help determine who their next governor, U.S. Senator, state legislators and congressman will be.

Nominations to represent the two major political parties in the November general election will be decided in the August primary, when voters on election day or early-voters must choose a party ballot.

Republicans

But in the U.S. Senate race, where three of the four candidates have at least a reasonable shot at the Republican nomination, one of those three stands head and shoulders above the pack.

That is former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, an astute and appealing political figure who set aside a very successful business empire he built from scratch to go into public service.

Corker has run a positive campaign, stressing how he would use his experience to establish a Senate presence comparable to that enjoyed by Bill Frist, the Senate Majority Leader who is not seeking a third term in office.

Both of Corker’s serious opponents, former Congressmen Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary, have been dreadfully negative throughout the campaign, spending much more effort attacking Corker than addressing a broad range of issues.

Corker has handled their withering attacks well, maintaining his composure and continuing to push his conservative agenda. Though we do not agree with him on every issue, Corker is the only candidate with the stature worthy of a Senate seat. He easily wins our endorsement.

The Republican incumbent on the House side, Congressman John J. Duncan Jr., has no opposition for renomination, but he gets our endorsement and deserves a vote of confidence from 2nd District Republicans for his lengthy, stellar service to constituents and his bucking of the GOP White House by voting against the Iraq War and refusing to vote for the Homeland Security Act and its extension.

Republican voters will also nominate their choices for the state legislature within their home districts, and most of those are running unopposed.

Our endorsements in the opposed GOP races include Gary Drinnen, state Sen. Jamie Woodson’s former campaign manager, who is seeking to unseat Stacey Campfield, the 18th District freshman representative who made his first term a shambles of ill-considered rhetoric and racial controversy. In the 17th District, where veteran Rep. Frank Nicely is challenged by UT concessionaire Jim Bletner, we see it as a choice between a Jefferson/Knox County farmer and an advocate for Knoxville’s Sequoyah Hills. You pick it.

Republican State Sens. Randy McNally (5th Senate District) and Tim Burchett (7th Senate District) are unopposed for their party’s renomination, as are state Reps. Parkey Strader (14th District), Bill Dunn (16th District) and Harry Brooks (19th District).

Democrats

On the U.S. Senate side, Democrats should vote for Harold Ford Jr., the congressman from Memphis whose political career, laced with common sense and straight talk, has elevated him far above the unfortunate Ford family reputation, for which he shouldn’t be held responsible.

We endorse Ford’s candidacy and believe a race in the fall between Ford and Bob Corker would insure Tennesseans of a new senator they could be proud of.

On the Democrats’ legislative ballot, neither of the incumbent representatives, Harry Tindell (13th District) or Joe Armstrong 15th District), has attracted opposition from within his party.

Vote Your Choices