by Judson Phillips
The announcement by Senator Lamar Alexander, that he will not seek reelection in 2020, has thrown open the doors for conservatives to change the face of Tennessee politics.
In 2019, the first installment of that change will happen. Marsha Blackburn will replace Bob Corker in the Senate. That can only be described as a tremendous improvement. Bill Lee will replace Bill Haslam as governor. While the jury is still out on Governor-elect Lee, by default he has to be an improvement over Governor Haslam.
Rumors have long swept Nashville about Governor Haslam’s interest in a Senate seat. He would be a disaster for conservative and for Tennessee.
He must be stopped.
The cards are stacked against conservatives. Governor Haslam is a billionaire who can outspend almost any potential opponent. In addition, Tennessee is not a run off state. Whoever wins the most votes, even if it is only a plurality, wins the races. Conservatives well remember the 2006 election where conservatives Van Hillary and Ed Bryant fought it out with Bob Corker. Corker won with the conservative base split.
We cannot allow the conservative base to be split again. Conservatives must unite in a way we have never done. The conservative movement must unify around one single candidate for Senator in 2020.
The answer is, conservatives must plan and then come together next fall for a convention.
The main purpose for the conservative convention is for Tennessee’s conservatives to select a single candidate to support.
Uniting conservatives is a tough thing to do. By our nature, we are not collectivists. We do not want to agree or submit. But this is one time when we must put our differences aside and choose one candidate, we can all get behind to defeat Bill Haslam and the other establishment hacks.
How would this work?
Conservatives who want to be a part of this convention must agree they will support the candidate the convention agrees on, even if it is not their candidate. Candidates must agree, if they want to seek the nomination from the conservative convention, they will drop out if they are not the candidate the convention chooses.
The convention need not be limited just to the Senate race. It can also help focus and unite conservatives to help take out some of the tax and spend politicians in Nashville.
For too long, the Tennessee Republican Party has been dominated by wealthy moderates from East Tennessee. They promise conservatism, yet increase spending, taxes and assault our liberties.
Bill Haslam will be the hardest candidate conservatives have ever fought. He can outspend any other candidate and he will have the fawning attention of the media, helping him at every turn. The only way a conservative wins the Senate race in 2020 is if the conservative movement is united.
The only way conservatives will be united is if we meet in a convention and decide on a consensus candidate to support.
Otherwise, look forward to six years of saying, “Senator Haslam.”
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