Never be afraid to stand with the minority when the minority is right, for the minority which is right will one day be the majority. - William Jennings Bryan

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Jenkins Retiring

Today, Congressman Bill Jenkins (R), who represents the 1st District of Tennessee, which encompasses Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City, and everything else almost all the way down to Knoxville, announced he will not run for a sixth term in the House. Jenkins, who will turn 70 this year, said he wanted to spend more time with his family and work on his farm.

Jenkins was the Lt. Governor from 1969-1971. He replaced a 34-year incumbent, Congressman Jimmy Quillen (R) (pictured above in 1994), in 1996. If I'm not mistaken, he said then that he would only be serving five terms, as Northeast Tennessee had just had a longtime incumbent, and one of his main issues (albeit unspoken) was change. I had assumed Jenkins would run again. It's good to see that Congressman Jenkins is honoring his pledge.

I like Bill Jenkins. I met him down at the Jimmy Quillen Veterans Affairs Hospital when my grandpa was there. He's a genuinely nice guy, and he's never been partisan in his arguments.

Some of the potential candidates include:
State Senator Ron Ramsey (Blountville) (Ramsey is the leader of the Senate Republicans, who tried unsuccessfuly to unseat Lt. Governor John Wilder (D) in a State Senate vote where Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for Wilder.)
State Representative Steve Godsey (Blountville)
State Representative Matt Hill (Jonesborough)
State Representative David Davis (Johnson City)
State Representative Jason Mumpower (Bristol)
--I would say the favorite here is either Ramsey or Mumpower. Ramsey probably wants to run for statewide office (he was touted as a possible candidate for Governor), so he may pass on this race. Mumpower will be 33 years old this year, so it could be argued that he is inexperienced. But Hill is actually a few years younger than Mumpower, so if we're just going for experience here, then that would throw it in Davis's favor.
State Representative Nathan Vaughn (Kingsport)
Fmr. State Senator Carl Moore (Johnson City)
Dr. Graham Leonard (Kingsport)
--Okay, as you can see, the Democratic bench in Northeast Tennessee is kind of - sparse. Nathan Vaughn was elected when a Republican incumbent was found to have hit on boys in swimming pools, then shot himself. I think Vaughn would have trouble, because, although it's an awful thing in 2006, I believe it would be difficult to elect a black man in this district. Graham Leonard was the 2004 nominee, and received 26%. Carl Moore is definitly my favorite. He's a really nice guy (I met he and his wife at the Bristol Hospital once while I was riding the elevators). He is still relatively active in the party (he endorsed Wesley Clark for President in 2004). And he is extremely intelligent. So, my choice right now, and I'll make it an official endorsement (for what it's worth), is this: Carl Moore for Congress.

The 1st District of Tennessee is the most heavily Republican district I can think of. Since the beginning of the Civil War (1861), Republicans have held this seat for all but two years. Two years! Holy crap. And, unless my memory fails me, Republicans in presidential elections have won this race every year but 1948, when Strom Thurmond, the Dixiecrat, won it. I would place our chances of winning below 40%, but it's doable. If the tide turns against the Republican (President Bush has a 51% disapproval in Tennessee), and if Harold Ford can win the Senate race, I think we've got a shot!


[UPDATE: Here's a map of Tennessee's 1st District. As you can see by the little map in the corner, Gerrymandering is a problem in Tennessee. But, as I'm trying to point out, The 1st is a pretty big district, and any Democrat who wants to even have a shot will have to be energetic and willing to shake alot of hands, walk alot of sidewalks, and spend a whole lot of time going up and down I-81]

[UPDATE 2: I've just received word that former Johnson City Mayor and current State Claims Commissioner Vance Cheek will be running in the GOP primary.]


Mike said...

Nice catch Neal. This one kind of flew under the radar today. You also have a knowledgeable write up on the district. You really should re-post this over at Kos for a wider distribution.

Neal said...

If I knew how to, I would. I'm not very well-versed with how Kos's settup works.

rtaycher1987 said...

If there is still enough racism in the disrict making a black democrat even harder to elect then any democrat I still don't think that means we shouldn't pick him as there is almost no(less then 40%)chance we will win and we shouldn't compromise our principles for things we can't win(and principles like resisting racism never). The most important thing is to run someone who can inspire those who might be receptive to a democratic message(probably moderate or impressive liberal) to move a little towards the democrats.

Jennifer Clark said...

We need someone in the House that will give the people what they need. When I read that Ramsey wanted to pass the bill that would allow a cap on malpractice lawsuits, I was shocked. My grandson was in ETCH for a feeding tube placement. He became sick the night of the surgery, the on call doctor was called in, he was mad because he came in at 3:00am. He did not do anything for this child and he laid 4 days with the feeding tube out of place. My grandson had 10 operations 12/2002 and was in the hospital for 2 months. My family is still paying for this and this doctor is practicing in Sioux Falls, SD. We took this to a lawyer, who told us he would persue this case if we paid him $1000 which we did not have. My son in law lost his job in Kingsport, we did not know what was going to happen. He needed to be there with his family. They came home 01/03. This doctor never came back to say he was sorry or to even check on my grandson. We did not see him until 5 days later. The hospital told me that he was not an employee of this hospital. We contacted another lawyer who said we had a case, then a law was passed in Nashville that is called the STATUTE OF REPOSE. This means that 3 years is the time limit to file a lawsuit for minor children. If anyone reads this letter, I want you to know that I don't want the cap on malpractice law suits passed. I will vote against whoever voted for this in Nashville. We are working people who have watched a child suffer from the hands and minds of doctors who think they can do what they want. Well something needs to be done. The STATUTE OF REPOSE was passed 12/06. The lawyer handed us the medical records and pictures and said he could not do anything. I do know from reading some of the medical records that there was fraud, because of dates and names that were right. We did not see this Doctor who refused to check the feeding tube on Monday, and his name and the date was on the medical paper. According to the Statute of Repose, a case of fraud is the only way we can persue this case. My grandson has had 30 operations. Our we to become vitims of uncaring doctors and our leaders in Tennessee? If you would like to discuss matter, I think it would be kind of you to answer to this.
Thank you
Jennifer Clark
210 Kincheloe Rd.
Fall Branch, TN 37656
Phone 423-348-6171

Melvin Purvis, Jonesborough said...

For more on Rep. Matthew Hill:

Hilly Boy's Deception

Tennessee RU-486 Representative Matthew Hill