So, if you have wandered into this wondering why I have suddenly reappeared after almost two yesrs, please read this fine article from the Daily Memphian's Bill Dries. Go ahead, I can wait.
First things first, Mayor Strickland, in addition to taking care of our city, has also been raising money for and contributing several local Democratic candidates, just as he has every two years for as long as I have known him. As I do have sources in that office, it is my understanding that the first time the Mayor was even aware of Ruby Powell-Dennis's campaign for State Senate District 31 was after she complained that he endorsed Republican Brent Taylor for the seat. She had, to my knowledge, made no attempt to contact him to ASK for his support, which I thought one does out of common courtesy.
I feel for Dave Cambron, the hard-working TNDP male rep for District 31, who has a complaining candidate on his hands. I even get their frustration, but it is past time to point out some background here.
First, as Dave points out himself, this has NO EFFECT on Mayor Strickland. Unlike his colleagues in Shelby County. Mayor Strickland has a NON-PARTISAN office. He has never run in a Democratic Primary and has had to seek votes from everyone regardless of partisan lean. So, WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT OF THIS? Shouldn't we trying at the TNDP to actually flip FLIPPABLE SEATS (more on that in just a minute)?
Ms. Powell-Dennis (whom I have met and think highly of, despite this action out of frustration) pointed out that Gabby Salinas nearly won the seat in 2018. Let's have some background, shall We? She nearly won that seat because even then, a lot of Republicans detested Kelsey for his lack of concern for anyone except his donors. Many of them rallied behind Democrats like Gabby and David Weatherspoon, and then gravitated to Gabby after the primary.
Sadly, even that was not quite enough. Republicans are many things, but dumb (at least some of them) they are not. They knew as this election approached that they had to gerrymander, er, REDISTRICT Senate 31 to shore up their candidate, whomever they may be. As a result, according to the new map (which I located at DAVE'S REDISTRICTING; GOOGLE IT) the voters of the precinct that NOW comprise Senate 31 voted for Republicans 77% of the time between 2016 and 2020.
I was one of the Democrats moved to another district, I got very lucky and was moved into Senate 33, where my new Senator is our up and coming STAR, London Lamar! Guess who else got moved out of Senate 31? You guessed, Ms. Powell-Dennis, who was drawn into Senate 30, where we already have a great Senator in Sara Kyle.
Undaunted, Ms. Powell-Dennis announced she was selling her home and preparing to move back into Senate 31, where her intended battle was going to get much harder. Look, I understand why the Mayor did what he did. It;s likely going to stay Republican, and Taylor, by all accounts, is nowhere near the whackadoodle the outgoing Kelsey was. That should be good for a Mayor who needs all the help in Nashville he can get with a GOP-dominated legislature.
Truth be told, I would still vote for Ms. Powell-Dennis if she were the Democratic nominee and I still lived in Senate 31. I just don't vote for Republicans. But I completely understand why Mayor Strickland endorsed Taylor and I support his decision.
Now, let's get down to brass tacks here. I know that a lot of you for various reasons don't like the Mayor. That is fine, whatever. I want you to look me in the eye, though, and tell me what difference this action makes other than flipping off a mayor that was re-elected by 2/3 of the city and a majority of Black voters, who was never elected as a Democrat, even though he is and has been one his entire life.
Still don't like him? Fine, he leaves January 1, 2024, to ride off into the sunset.
However, if you really want to prove him wrong, why don't you do something that actually HELPS Ruby Powell-Dennis in her dramatically uphill battle for Senate 31. HERE is a link to her campaign website. HERE is a link to her donation page. Quit bitching about how Jim Strickland isn't a Democrat when he has done more than most of the complainers (I said MOST) and actually DO SOMETHING THAT WILL ACTUALLY HELP. Promise and then make calls or knock on doors for her.
Hell, after we finally get past the May and August primaries and she is the actual nominee, I can send some money too. I challenged one of my strong Democratic friends who doesn't like the Mayor to do this, and HE DID. See, that is what needs to be done rather than get the TNDP to pass a meaningless resolution. They have other work to do right now.
Thanks for reading and I will be back closer to the start of Early Vote for my picks in the May primary.