All-Star Panelist Clint Brewer Notes Strong Early Voting and Speculates on TN-5 Race by County

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –guest host Aaron Gulbransen welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer in-studio to discuss the TN-5 congressional race and money spent in Williamson County senate race by Gary Humble and incumbent Jack Johnson.

Gulbransen: All-star panelist Clint Brewer in the studio with me. We were kind of doing like a nuts-and-bolts look at the Tennessee 5th Congressional District race, and we were talking about the county-by-county guesses we’re making about how the candidates could perform, on the break.

And I think it’d be to the audience’s benefit to continue that conversation on the air. Of course, one of the wild cards that exists – actually there are two wild cards that exist. You’ve got a very hotly contested Maury County Mayor’s race.

So, presumably one or two of the candidates in Maury County like Ogles, and their people probably have a lot of overlap. Presumably one of those candidates can’t stand Ogles. I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head what my guess would be, but so you have that.

But the big dog, of course, is going to be Williamson County, and you’ve got hundreds of thousands of dollars getting spent on a State Senate race there.

So where do Jack Johnson supporters who are showing up to vote for him – and not all of his Senate district is in the 5th, but some of it is – where are they going to go vote? Who are they going to go vote for? And who are Gary Humble’s people going to go vote for?

Brewer: I mean, just breaking it down by the big counties, first of all, Maury County is way over-performing in early voting. Way over-performing.

Somebody showed me numbers over the weekend where it was almost 11 points over the last cycle in terms of its typical early voting numbers. So, a very energized electorate in Maury County.

You have to presume some of that, most of that, goes to Mayor Ogles. It’s his home county he’s carried it for. So then you look at Davidson County, which is not an insignificant slice of the district. There are voters there.

If you go towards the west end of Davidson County, which is former Speaker Beth Harwell’s territory, I don’t believe in counting yard signs, but there’s clearly a lot of support for her in that part of Davidson County, which is the part that’s going to vote in a Republican primary.

You get down to Winstead, who lives in Williamson County, I believe, but I don’t think is really much of a local force out there.

Gulbransen: I’m not sure anybody in Williamson knew his name other than his direct neighbors before he did his first TV ad.

Brewer: So I don’t know that his geography is really an advantage to him. The question for me is, can Mayor Ogles wrap up enough votes in the smaller counties to overcome what will probably be a decisive Harwell vote in Davidson, despite the straw polls, and probably a three-way split in Williamson.

Because I think to say, Jack Johnson’s people, I think Jack Johnson probably will carry such a large swath of the Republican vote out in Williamson County. I think his people are probably big enough that they can split into a number of factions …

Gulbransen: He certainly has, in my observation, if you’re overlapping the two races, a much broader coalition of who people are going to vote for, and this is all just anecdotal. And people I’ve talked to that are supporting Jack Johnson, they’re supporting any one of four or five candidates, believe it or not.

Of course, we talk about the big three, but the Jeff Beierlein was on the show yesterday. I think he’s comported himself very well. He’s a first-time candidate. It’ll be interesting to see how he does.

Brewer: Where does he live?

Gulbransen: In all of the in-depth, probing questions, I’ve actually forgotten to ask him that one.

Brewer: I mean, without much funding, he’s run a very good race.

Gulbransen: And it’s nice to see when you have a candidate that’s able to be kind of like the happy warrior and Beierlein has done that. He is a combat veteran. It’s very interesting.

I think Jeff Beierlein has a bright future for another office at some point in time, if things go as expected today, where it’s one of the top three. The other side of it is, of course, since we’re talking about the overlap, in my observation in the Gary Humble camp – and his campaign has spent roughly $180,000.

Not an insignificant sum for a State Senate race. I say that with having spent about $250,000 in one of my State Senate races back in 2009.

And then for some reason, we ticked off the opponent so bad that he dropped $2 million on us and destroyed us, but out of his own wallet. Jeff McWaters versus Rosemary Wilson. For those of you familiar with Virginia Beach politics and the Wayback Machine.

I doubt anybody listening at 6:23 in the morning is, so there we go. But Humble’s people appear to me to be going with Ogles, or a good portion of them. I’ve seen them. They’re wearing write-in-candidate T-shirts and that sort of thing. So it’ll be interesting.

Brewer: Write-in-candidate T-shirts – that shows a certain willingness to drive off the cliff. That’s usually not a productive path in terms of casting your vote with any kind of meaning or effectiveness.

Gulbransen: That’s a kind way of putting it. I think you just might as well, on that particular part of the ballot, if you are doing a write-in candidate, you might as well be writing a lovely joke, knock-knock joke or something. (Brewer laughs) What do people usually write in?

I actually did this as a fun exercise after the May 3 local primaries for Davidson County. Mickey Mouse got the most write-in votes. There are a number of expletives in there that got a ton of write-in votes.

Brewer: Any Founding Fathers?

Gulbransen: Yeah, there was a few Founding Fathers in there. For those of you familiar with the show Eastbound & Down, there was Kenny Powers in there.

Listen to the interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “People Voting” by Phil Roeder. CC BY 2.0.















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