Darden says he's got the 'Darden difference'

Hank Hayes • Jun 15, 2020 at 3:00 PM


ROGERSVILLE — Former Johnson City Mayor Steve Darden believes his experience as an attorney, mediator and former City Council member makes him the best fit for the 1st Congressional District seat.

He called it "the Darden difference" during a stop on Friday at Hawkins County Republican Party headquarters.

Darden, 60, is competing in a crowded field seeking the Republican nomination in the August GOP primary. A Democrat hasn't held the seat since the 19th Century.

Darden has one other asset: his brother Bill, who is the field director for retiring U.S. Rep. Phil Roe.

"It's been different to campaign during a pandemic," Steve Darden told Hawkins County Republicans. "But the message is still the same. The Darden difference sets me apart from the other candidates on the Republican ballot. ... I'm the only candidate who is a small business owner who has local elected service. I'm not a career politician."

Darden addressed these questions:

How can you make a difference in Congress?

"I think in this dysfunctional environment in Congress, there may be occasions to argue a point and try to persuade others and have a win-win outcome."

If elected, how many terms would you agree to serve?

"In our district for the last quarter of a century, we have seen people do it the right way. Bill Jenkins served 10 years. Phil Roe served 12 (years). I think that's about right, 10 to 12 to 14 years, I'm willing to serve that length of time if the people want me to."

How would you work with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi?

"I do have a reputation of being able to work with anybody. But what I would probably do, if the Democrats retain the majority, is try to develop some relationships with people to say 'Why don't you all get a different speaker than Nancy Pelosi, one who is less polarizing?'

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