Local GOP members anxious to get started
Posted: Monday, June 14, 2010 8:56 pm
By GLENDA CAUDLE
Special Features Editor
They couldn’t withstand the push from a politically-awakened public to “get going,” local Republicans say.
And that is the main reason the Obion County GOP decided to break with a long-standing schedule and open its campaign office six weeks earlier than ever before.
Members of the group were on hand Saturday for the grand opening of the headquarters at 1390 Suite 1 on Rutledge Lane behind Taco Bell in Union City. A banner marks the spot.
“Voters are demanding information on Republican candidates and the individual campaigns are asking for our help in distributing voter information. That prompted us to go ahead and open the office much earlier than usual,” says Mike Daniel, local Republican stalwart and former chairman.
Describing the departure from routine as “historical” for the Obion County Republican Party, Daniel says the interest is driven, in part, “because of what President Obama and the Democrats in control have done and are attempting to do. Voters feel that the country our forefathers fought for is being torn apart and the direction the country is moving in under President Obama is the wrong one. They see the greatest country in the world turning into a socialist state, with a big ‘nanny state’ style of government.”
Daniel adds: “Eighth District Congressman John Tanner’s exodus after Republican candidate Stephen Fincher raised an impressive amount of money has drawn a lot of interest among voters, since this is the first opportunity in 22 years to elect a true conservative to represent this district. Then other candidates jumped into the ring, including former Union Citian and the brother of Bob Kirkland, Dr. Ron Kirkland, and Dr. George Flinn of Shelby County.”
Obion County Republicans say the fact that the state House of Representatives and state Senate are controlled by Republicans has been a morale booster and they insist there is a strong expectation that the majority will be expanded come November and then, for the first time in Tennessee history, the GOP will control the redistricting process.
“It is important for Obion County to have a seat at the redistricting table,” Daniel points out, “because when Democrats controlled redistricting, they combined 12 Republicans into six districts and have used that process to keep Republicans from taking over. By electing Republican Bill Sanderson of Kenton in November (to the Tennessee House of Representatives), Obion Countians can be assured their interests will finally be considered. If we miss that representation, Obion County could be made irrelevant by being divided up and combined into other districts.”
Local GOP spokesmen say the Volunteer State will be bidding farewell to a Democrat in the governor’s seat as well, since Gov. Phil Bredesen cannot run again. His exodus and the fact that the national mood favors conservatives in the GOP at the moment, they say, has also energized Republicans locally.
And then there is the Tea Party. Its emergence has drawn people into the political realm who have never been there before and they are angry at big government, Daniel points out. “They want to hear what real conservatives, like those vying for the Eighth District seat in Washington and representation in Nashville, have to say.”
The local committee invited all past chairmen to participate in the grand opening of the headquarters: current chairman Scott Ellegood, Susan Stigler, Bill King, Shelley Arnett, Ryan Ellegood, Daniel, Ethelene White, Tab Kirkland (the nephew of candidate Kirkland) and Jason O “Buddy” Young were contacted, as was Robert Wood to represent his late wife, Betty Wood (a longtime GOP activist) and his brother-in-law, the late Jack Burdick.
“Jack was chairman for more than 20 years — back when people joked that Republicans in this part of the state could meet in a phone booth,” says Daniel.
The Obion County GOP rang in a grand celebration Saturday in their new headquarters — something considerably larger and more inviting than a phone booth — with many of those guests on hand.
Mrs. Caudle may be contacted at glendacaudle @ucmessenger.com.