TN Democratic Congressional Candidates Avoid Obama

as Democrats head to Charlotte, N.C., for their national convention beginning Tuesday, most of Tennessee’s Democratic congressional challengers aren’t singing “Hail to the Chief” or clamoring for a second term, reports Chris Carroll.
Instead, they’re struggling to sell moderate and liberal views to increasingly conservative districts with little love for Obama’s policies.
Dr. Mary Headrick, the Maynardville, Tenn., Democrat up against U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann in November, said she’ll vote for the president. But when it comes to policy, she said she “can’t win as an Obama lookalike” in Tennessee’s 3rd District, which includes Hamilton County.
“If I had 30 hours in the day instead of 24,” Headrick said, “I could overcome the propaganda against Obama. But I don’t.”
Headrick and other Tennessee Democrats downplay or don’t mention the president on their campaign websites. Some are reluctant to say whether they’ll even vote for Obama.
“Can I keep that to myself?” asked Alan Woodruff, an attorney challenging U.S. Rep. Phil Roe in upper East Tennessee. “I will probably vote for Obama. Well, I will vote for him. Yeah.”
Timothy Dixon, a Democrat running against U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher in Tennessee’s 8th District, would not disclose his presidential choice. He also said he didn’t know if he would have voted for Obama’s landmark legislative achievement — an overhaul of the nation’s health insurance system.
“I was disappointed with the way it was handled through the Congress,” Dixon said. “Nobody likes having things jammed down their throat.”
Troy Goodale, a Tusculum College political science professor challenging longtime U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan in the Knoxville area, said he shies away from Obama during speeches.
“Children on their parents’ plan until they’re 26; the end of discrimination based on pre-existing conditions — standalone, people love those,” he said. “But it goes down the toilet when you say, ‘What do you think about Obamacare?’
“He’s very unpopular in Tennessee,” Goodale added. “He’s not an asset.”
Meanwhile, Mark Clayton, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, is running against first-term U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor. Clayton, a Nashville resident, said he won’t vote for Romney “and maybe not Obama,” labeling the president “a flip-flopper” for reversing a prior stand against gay marriage.
…He said he supports Obama’s work on foreclosures and foreign policy, but in the same breath he blasted the state party for “making me a one-issue candidate.”
Still, Clayton said, “Obama supporting gay marriage is a deal-breaker for a lot of my supporters. It’s a deal-breaker for my conscience.”
Candidates and incumbents overwhelmingly said they’re not voting for Clayton.
“People have told me he’s a bigger liability than Obama,” Goodale said.
..(Eric) Stewart eventually said he will vote for Obama. But an interview last week indicated he isn’t wild about him.
“There are going to be times that I would support Gov. Romney if he’s president,” he said. “There’s going to be times I support President Obama if he remains president. To me, the question ought to be, ‘Are you willing to work with whoever’s there?’ I am.”

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