In Nashville, Candidates Dodging Party Label

In the Nashville area, WPLN reports that legislative candidates of both parties refrain from stressing their party affiliation. House District 53, being vacated by Rep. Janis Sontaney, D-Nashville, provides an example.
After lines were redrawn by Republicans, this district doesn’t lean quite as heavily toward Democrats. But (Ben) Claybaker still keeps his brand in the background.
“I don’t want to walk up to somebody and have this big ‘R’ stamped on my forehead and have people make assumptions, good or bad,” he says.
You wouldn’t know Claybaker is a Republican by looking at his website either. The “R”-word is nowhere to be found, although his resume does list a position he held in the Bush Administration. Then there are his yard signs. Instead of red, they’re dark blue.
“It’s my favorite color,” he says. “You walk up to my closet, and it’s all blue.”
Others running in Nashville’s historically Democratic districts haven’t gone to printing up blue signs. But they have stayed away from the more partisan social issues.
However, Democrats aren’t exactly loud and proud about their party. Claybaker’s opponent – Jason Powell – gives only a tepid endorsement of the President.
“I’ve been so focused on this local election and my own race, I’ve had barely any time to keep up with what’s going on a national level,” Powell says when asked if he supports President Obama.
Going door-to-door off Nolensville Rd, Powell finds a gentleman just off an overnight shift sorting mail. His pickup truck’s bumper stickers reveal he’s a conservative.
“We need somebody working for hardworking people like yourself, and I sure would appreciate your vote in November,” he says.
When the homeowner asks if he’s a Republican or Democrat, Powell says he is a Democrat.
“But I’m a ‘Jason Powell’ Democrat, kind of my own man,” he says.

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