Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


City Pages Errs in Latest Pawlenty Snark

Bookmark and Share

Tennessee not quite as Republican-friendly as article suggests

In a recent City Pages article published last Friday ("Tim Pawlenty takes not-a-candidate road show to Tennessee"), Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty received a soft jab for delivering a keynote speech in the Volunteer State's GOP 2010 Statesmen's Dinner to be held later that evening.

The Minnesota media has not been shy in taking Pawlenty to task for his aggressive out-of-state travel schedule during the last few years as he ostensibly attempts to build national support for a potential 2012 presidential run.

Such criticism, however, has not stilted Pawlenty's travels, some of which he says are missions geared to drum up business investments to create job opportunities in the Gopher State.

The media frame used by City Pages in this particular piece was to make Pawlenty's appearance seem particularly strategic for this 2012 bid: that he was delivering a keynote address in a state that is a bastion of Republicanism.

But the glue meant to hold this media frame together cannot support the picture City Pages paints.

Reporter Hart Van Denburg writes:

"T-Paw's on the road again to support his I'm-not-saying-if-I'm-running-for-president gambit. Tonight: Tennessee, keynoting the state's GOP 2010 "Statesmen's Dinner." Should be friendly territory. Tennessee hasn't voted for a Democratic U.S. president since Harry S. Truman in 1948." (emphasis added)

There's just one problem.

Tennessee has actually voted for the Democratic presidential candidate several times since Harry Truman in 1948.

· In 1964, Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in Tennessee by 11 points, 55.5 to 44.5 percent.

· In 1976, Jimmy Carter, a fellow Southern neighbor from Georgia, defeated Gerald Ford by 13 points, 55.9 to 42.9 percent.

· In 1992, Bill Clinton, from neighboring Arkansas, defeated George H.W. Bush by 4.7 points, 47.1 to 42.4 percent.

· In 1996, Tennessee voters helped to reelect the Clinton/Al Gore ticket with a 2.4-point victory over Bob Dole, 48.0 to 45.6 percent.

Of course, Tennessee is viewed to have taken a bit of a turn to the right in recent years, such as when Democrat Al Gore failed to carry his home state in the 2000 presidential election - a state which had elected him to the U.S. Senate in both 1984 and 1990 (and as Vice-President in 1992 and 1996).

Gore lost that contest by 3.9 points to George W. Bush - 51.2 to 47.3 percent.

But the 2000 contest was not the only election in which the Democratic presidential candidate only narrowly lost the Volunteer State since 1948:

· In 1952, Dwight Eisenhower defeated Adlai Stevenson by just 0.3 points - 50.0 to 49.7 percent.

· In the 1956 rematch, Eisenhower escaped with a 0.6-point victory, 49.2 to 48.6 percent.

· In 1980, Ronald Reagan nipped Jimmy Carter by only 0.3 points, 48.7 to 48.4 percent.

In state politics, Democrats also frequently rule the day in Tennessee, winning 11 out of 16 gubernatorial elections since 1948, including Phil Bresden in 2002 and 2006 (by 38.9 points).

Tennessee is certainly trending Republican (e.g. Barack Obama's 15.1-point loss to John McCain in 2008; Republican takeovers of the state senate and state house in the 2000s).

However, the Volunteer State is one good Democratic candidate away from being a battleground state again in federal elections, as evidenced by Harold Ford's 2.7-point defeat to Bob Corker in the state's 2006 U.S. Senate race.

The truth is, no U.S. State has voted straight-Republican since the 1948 presidential election.

City Pages attempted to cast Tennessee in a role much more well-suited for states such as Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, or Wyoming - nine states which have only voted for a Democratic presidential nominee one time since 1948 (all in 1964).

Tennessee, a southern state that still maintains a sizable Democratic Party presence, does not quite pass this audition.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Which States Produce the Most Governors?
Next post: Should Kagan's Partisan Past and Policy Work Derail Her Confirmation?

1 Comment


  • I wonder if this is a case of CityPages overreaching, or a case of poor fact-checking by their editors. Of course, had the article been fact-checked, the narrative they ran with would have fallen apart.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Kevin McCarthy Becomes Least Tenured Floor Leader in US House History

    At less than four terms, McCarthy has served 423 fewer days in the chamber than any floor leader in U.S. House history and almost 10 years less than the average leader.

    Political Crumbs

    The Second Time Around

    Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


    How Are the Plurality Winners Doing?

    Nearly 40 percent of plurality winners of U.S. Senate elections lose their seat in the next election cycle. Will that happen to any of the three such incumbents on the ballot in 2014? Recent polling suggests Democrats Al Franken of Minnesota, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon all currently have an advantage over their nominated/frontrunning GOP opponents, but each is flirting with plurality support once again. Franken led endorsed GOPer Mike McFadden 48 to 42 percent in a new SurveyUSA poll while the polling group showed Merkley with a 50 to 32 percent advantage over Monica Wehby. Begich led each of the three major GOP candidates in last month's PPP survey: 42 to 37 percent over Daniel Sullivan, 41 to 33 percent over Mead Treadwell, and 43 to 27 percent over Joe Miller.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting