Put me down as one who is well-satisfied and encouraged following Thursday’s primary in a step to select our next batch of leaders. I have long believed in the majority rule and rally around anyone “we” either elect into office or send forward to the General Election on Nov. 6.
Obviously the most notable interest was in the Republican primary where incumbent Chuck Fleischmann won 39 percent of the vote in his quest to return to Washington as the Representative of the 3rd District in Congress, but Todd Gardenhire’s squeaky win for state Senate and Gary Starnes winning the Sessions Court race also gave testament to the fact the “we, the people” still run this country.
For what it’s worth, here is one man’s opinion of how we stand:
OUR THIRD DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE
I have no qualms about sending Chuck Fleischmann back to Washington, but if he didn’t get the message that well over half of us didn’t vote for him, his goose will be cooked in the next election if he doesn’t perform to a far greater standard.
To spend two years representing us in Washington without sponsoring one successful bill is absolutely deplorable.
Chuck’s conservative thinking, his tireless work ethic and the fact he knows his way around inside the Beltway gives me hope, but the days of a do-nothing partisan Congress simply calling each other names has got to stop. I think he’s got a great election-day “lesson” to share with his colleagues and now knows his constituents are going to hold him accountable in his second term.
Further, we need to put him sternly on notice that there is no place here for “Milk Duds” ads and the “melting ice cream” satire that he used to slander Scottie Mayfield. It Fleischmann doesn’t display the class to run for office, he should never again attempt to hold it.
The brightest upcoming star was Weston Wamp, who will continue to grow and learn after being the top voter-getter in Hamilton County. Weston’s enthusiasm and his grasp for what is truly important is promising and once he learns older voters appreciate a more grown-up image (neckties, brother, and never wink when you shake a man’s hand), I’m excited over his political future.
That said, two years from now I believe Scottie Mayfield will still get my vote if he decides to run again. I think he was poorly coached in his first-ever game and the fact he didn’t get his message to enough people in Chattanooga was obviously terminal. My belief in Scottie is that he is a proven businessman (Chuck’s a lawyer) and with a sitting President who has spent more than every previous President combined, we need more doers in Washington than arguers.
THE STATE SENATE RACE
Todd “Landslide” Gardenhire can thank the late Will Rogers for once saying, “Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself” because if ever Greg Vital got skewered, it was in his first run for political office.
In all the years I have read a newspaper I can’t recall such a public lashing as the Free Press editorialist gave Greg on election eve and – if the allegations presented are true – I am repulsed by the questionable strategy of my longtime friend. On the other hand, I’ve known and liked Todd since we went to high school together so I am real easy with him in the state Senate.
Out of respect to each, I didn’t vote in the Senate race – I rarely cross a friend – but will happily vote for Todd in the general election, where my boy “Landslide” will obviously win quite convincingly.
OUR NEW SESSONS JUDGE
Gary Starnes won Bob Moon’s vacated seat on the bench in grand style and will be a great asset to the people of Hamilton County. I felt like interim judge David Norton, with his years of experience, was better qualified, but delight in Starnes’ win, mostly because I adored Gary’s daddy for years and know that an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Norton’s illness had a lot to do with his fate in the election booth, but he’ll be a real favorite when the next crop of Sessions Court judges is chosen. The word is that there could be several vacancies and, with Starnes able to get bench experiences early, there will be a solid pool of quality candidates available. And the brightest newcomer is easily Joe DeGaetano, a classy guy who will one day soon serve the public well.
* * *
Sir Winston Churchill once said, “A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.