Riffing on a Theme…Updated!!

Update: Sean Braisted has audio of the interview with Lincoln Davis. And he talks about your early candidate Cracker. Go check it out.

I know I’m late on this. We’ve been dog hunting and I just wanted to put my two cents in. As GoldenI and LWC have already reported. There is a distinct possibility of a Davis-Ford primary in 2010. This is also reported in the CA this morning.

Let’s think about everything that’s going on that could affect who does and doesn’t get in the race.

Lincoln Davis:

Lincoln Davis is all the things that GoldenI said and more. In the profile I wrote about Davis for the Bush Dog campaign, I note that Davis has only voted with Democrats on 16 key votes in the 109th and 110th Congresses, or 46% of the time.

Davis has won his district since his initial election in 2002 by healthy margins. He is a good fundraiser, particularly with business. 43% of his total fundraising effort came from business PAC’s.

It’s unlikely that Davis would carry the traditionally conservative 1st, 2nd, and 3rd districts, though he could garner pretty decent support from that end of the state considering his conservative disposition and the geographic location of his district.

District 5 would be a gimmie, as would District 9.

John Tanner, whose voting record in congress is only slightly more liberal than Davis’ and who is the Godfather of the Blue Dogs, of which Davis is a member, would be all about Davis, ensuring widespread support in the 8th.

In the grossly gerrymandered 7th, I doubt he would gain much traction from the Marshans, but if the Republican candidate was weak enough, he could alright.

As for the 6th, just depends what Bart Gordon wants I suppose, though I assume he and Davis would work well considering they are both Blue Dogs, and vote similarly, and live in similarly aligned districts.

Assuming the vote totals for Shelby, Davidson, Knox and Hamilton Counties turned up like they did for Bredesen in 2006, Davis could expect strong support from those four counties (507,000 votes or 28% of the total statewide vote, each county went 70% Dem or better). None of those counties are in TN-04, so if we expect that Davis would carry his district like he did in 2006 we see an additional 120,000 votes raising it to 35% of the total vote. Assuming that these conditions remain, with 35% of the vote coming from 28 full or partial counties, it presents a pretty strong case for Davis. He would be a conservative Democrat for sure, but in statewide elections, running a progressive Democrat would be a non-starter.

Davis, no doubt, has thought about this harder than I have in the 10 minutes that I’ve researched these numbers from the TN SOS, and sees this as an opportunity. Were I him, and I’m not, I’d be thinking about it now too. This is his chance to make a move into an executive position and he would be a fool to not try for it.

I would not support Davis in a primary, but like most good yellow dog democrats, I would hold my nose to keep a D on the door of the Governors office.

Harold Ford Jr.:

Harold Ford Jr. has a whole different set of issues and possibilities that come up when considering him for a Gubernatorial race.

First off, Ford may have residency in the state of Tennessee (he has a residence in Nashville and according to state law residency is defined as an intention to make Tennessee your home), but it is well known that after his loss to Corker that he never really moved back, accepting a job in New York as the head of the DLC and with Merrill Lynch. He does travel to Nashville for a class he conducts at Vanderbilt.

Second, should Hillary be elected to the Presidency, as head of the DLC, Ford could be up for an appointment. That could mean a lot of things. In all likelihood Ford would receive an offer to a second tier cabinet post or DNC chair to replace Howard Dean, who is disliked in the beltway circles that Clinton and Ford run in. Ford may decline, but this is so far out it’s still a possibility to keep him out of the Gov.’s race.

The third thing to consider is Jr.’s Senate race. In 2006 support for Jr. in the same counties that Bredesen easily carried was far weaker. In Hamilton and Knox counties, Jr. did not win a majority, which is not surprising considering where Corker is from. In Davidson and Shelby counties, the most Democratic counties in Tennessee, Ford’s support was still weak in comparison to Bredesen, carrying only 61% in Davidson and 63% in Shelby to Bredesen’s 77% and 76.5%.

These numbers illustrate Jr.’s weakness even in heavily Democratic areas. I don’t have the time, nor the inclination to go precinct by precinct to get a full picture of the vote, but the general idea is clear, Ford’s support is concentrated in urban areas which offers little opportunity for him to expand his base. This bodes well for Davis.

There are other issues that may have played a role in Ford’s weakness in the 3rd and 4th largest counties in Tennessee. I won’t speculate as to how much impact that had in the final tally, however, had Ford run stronger in the counties that Bredesen carried by more than 70%, including his “home” county, he could have easily gained the 50,000 votes needed to win the race.

Finally, with more than 3 years left in the term of our current Governor, Phil Bredesen, much of this speculation is nothing more than intellectual masturbation. There is plenty of time for things to change and while this has been a fun exercise, we have plenty to do here in Tennessee before we turn the Governor’s race into a four year affair, like the Presidential race has become.

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