McWherter says Clinton may visit more than once
Posted: Thursday, September 2, 2010 8:01 pm
By ERIK SCHELZIG
Associated Press Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton’s appearance for Mike McWherter next week in Tennessee may not be his last of the campaign, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate said.
Clinton is scheduled to headline a Sept. 9 rally and fund raiser for McWherter in Nashville.
Asked after a candidate forum on Tuesday night whether he expects Clinton to return for more appearances, McWherter said: “Very possibly.”
McWherter owns a Jackson beer distributorship and is the son of former Gov. Ned McWherter. He faces Republican Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam in the November election to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Haslam said he doesn’t expect to bring in any former presidents to support his bid.
“We’re comfortable with the fund-raising approach that we’ve taken, and we’re obviously continuing to work on that,” Haslam said.
Haslam was the dominant fund raiser of the bruising three-way Republican primary, emerging with 47 percent of the vote on Aug. 5. He had raised $9.4 million through the most recent reporting period, and gave his campaign another $1.5 million.
McWherter, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, has struggled to keep pace on fund raising. He had raised just $1.6 million and gave his campaign another $1 million of his own money.
But McWherter is hoping the Clinton fund raiser will give his camp a big boost as it heads into the home stretch of the campaign after Labor Day. Clinton might have come earlier but had to schedule around daughter Chelsea’s wedding, McWherter said.
“He wanted to come very early in the campaign to help us really get this kicked off,” he said.
McWherter said his friendship with the former president dates back more than three decades to when Clinton was attorney general and later governor of neighboring Arkansas. Clinton also developed a close relationship with McWherter’s father when he was speaker of the House and governor.
“He’s been a big supporter of mine, a big encourager, a big mentor of mine all of my life,” McWherter said.
Clinton was the keynote speaker for a state Democratic Party fund raiser last year and also campaigned in Nashville and Memphis for Harold Ford Jr.’s Senate bid in 2006.
Ford narrowly lost that contest to Republican Bob Corker.
Published in The Messenger 9.2.10