Democrat Gubernatorial Forum: Republican Bashing & an Oops

At Democratic gubernatorial candidate forum Saturday, state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden perhaps got the most applause by devoting part of his remarks to an attack on “some Republicans telling lies” — particularly in stating that a someone “cannot be a person of faith and be a Democrat.”
Such Republicans, Herron said, declare”Jesus never rode a donkey and when he comes back from heaven, it will be on the back of an elephant.”
At times quoting scripture, Herron said Democrats generally are more inclined to follow Christian teachings that urge help to “the least among us,” including widows, orphans and the poor.
State Sen. Jim Kyle of Memphis, the most recently-announced Democratic candidate for governor, presented himself as experienced as a legislator handling bills for Bredesen. He emphasized higher education in his remarks.
Kyle said 30,000 Tennesseans left college with less than a year remaining to get a degree and, if elected, he would push to provide “incentive scholarships” with lottery profits to encourage them to complete their education.
Also, he said he would freeze tuition for college students at the rate applying when they enter college as a freshman.
Ward Cammack, a Nashville businessman, said a top priority for him as governor would be making Tennessee a leader in creation of “green jobs” and environmental protection. Cammack said he is the only gubernatorial candidate to present a full plan for bring the state out of the current economic downturn.
“If I did not have a plan, I would not be running for governor,” he said.
Former state House Majority Leader Kim McMillan of Clarksville, said her “wonderful experiences throughout life” – from legislator to mother – and her willingness to work hard are qualifications to serve as governor.
“Public service is my passion,” she said.
Mike McWherter, a Jackson businessman and son of former Gov. Ned McWherter, said the last legislative session had shown “the failure of Republican leadership” and that “any one of these candidates would be a better governor than any in that bunch running as Republicans.”
McWherter presented himself as “a businessman, not a career politician” with the background needed to focus on “creating and saving jobs” as a priority if elected.
Also speaking at the luncheon were Paula Flowers, Democratic candidate for the 3rd Congressional seat being vacated by Republican gubernatorial candidate Zach Wamp, and Greg Rabidoux, seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the 7th Congressional District.
The congressional candidates both said they agreed with Herron’s remarks about Republicans and religion, with Flowers declaring Democrats must be “the party of rational ideas and not the radical right.”

Oops of the Event
At the conclusion of the gubernatorial candidate speeches, state Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester told the luncheon crowd that Kyle had a “previous commitment” and had to leave early. Kyle then left the room.
A few minutes later, after congressional candidate speeches, Forrester told the audience that “you see the next governor of Tennessee before you.” The other four candidates were still on hand; but not Kyle.
Asked about the comment later, Forrester said he was “speaking metaphorically” and “metaphorically, Sen. Kyle was still in the room when I said that.”

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