What's on the line in the November General Election?

Hank Hayes • Oct 2, 2018 at 8:51 AM

KINGSPORT — Control of Congress. President Donald Trump’s possible impeachment. The next occupant of the governor’s office in Nashville.

That’s what is on the line during the November general election, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden and Chris Devaney, campaign manager for Tennessee Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Lee, told a Greater Kingsport Republican Women’s luncheon on Monday.

Golden was in the area for Trump’s Johnson City rally and to rally Republicans amid the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“It is a really big deal when the president comes to town,” Golden noted. “You watch six hours of that (Kavanaugh Senate hearing) and you absolutely know what we’re doing and why we go to these meetings. It is important for the future of this country, for people like Brett Kavanaugh … the Donald Trump agenda and what Republicans are trying to achieve. It is absolutely vital.”

In its general election effort, the Tennessee Republican Party has established 20-25 headquarters across the state, knocked on more than 655,000 doors and made 1.2 million phone calls, Golden pointed out.

“(Political) signs don’t vote, but your neighbor wants to see a sign in your yard,” Golden stressed. “If they understand what’s at stake that you care … you’re telling them that this election matters.”

Tennessee U.S. Senate Democratic nominee Phil Bredesen, who’s in a tight race with Republican opponent Marsha Blackburn, will support U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer to lead the Senate Democrat caucus if Bredesen wins, Golden insisted.

“I know he says he doesn’t … (but) there won’t be anyone to run against Chuck Schumer,” Golden said.

In response, Bredesen for Senate Press Secretary Alyssa Hansen said: "Tennessee voters have a choice: if they want more of the same old partisan shouting that's coming out of D.C., then Governor Bredesen is not their candidate. However, if voters want to hire someone who has a track record of getting things done for Tennessee, then Governor Bredesen is applying for the job."

Devaney, a former Tennessee Republican Party chairman, noted Lee’s ascent in state politics began when he raised money to help Republicans take over the General Assembly.

Lee took the GOP gubernatorial primary after a tractor tour, faith tour and town hall tour of the state.

“We knew that if people could meet Bill, they would vote for him,” Devaney said. “I think one thing that really helped Bill from the get-go was he wanted to run a positive campaign.”

Lee, a Williamson County businessman and cattle farmer, will debate Democratic nominee Karl Dean in Kingsport on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Eastman Employee Center.

“He’s a formidable opponent,” Devaney said of Dean, a former Nashville mayor. “We’re matching him on television. … We’re not taking anything for granted.”