Former House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart, defeated in the August, 2012, GOP primary, tells the Tennessean the gun bill that figured in her loss has proven to be a bad idea. And she’s coy about trying a rematch with Rep. Courtney Rogers next year.
A year removed from the primary that ousted her, Maggart sees the argument over guns-in-trunks as eroding both employers’ property rights and citizens’ gun rights. Her concern from the beginning, she said, was that business owners wouldn’t be allowed to control what happened on their own property, a cornerstone of democracy.
“We’ve now diminished two important rights. And for what?” Maggart said. “I’ve never had anyone call me until this became an issue saying, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to bring my gun to work.’ People didn’t know they couldn’t.”
…With a year to analyze what happened, she knows where she went wrong.
“I should have made sure that the people of my district had an opportunity to hear her speak and answer questions” in a debate, Maggart said of Rogers. “If she has a challenger, she’s going to have to run a completely different campaign. She won’t have all these outside influences running it for her.”
…As the controversy continues a year later, constituents still call Maggart, thinking she’s their representative. She gives them Rogers’ number. And when they ask Maggart whether she’ll run again, she gives a middle-of-the-road answer, like the politician she is.
For now, she said, she’s happy working for Compass, a nonprofit benefiting Sumner County Schools, raising money for GOP causes and seeing her two grandchildren more. She looked relaxed in an interview at the Hendersonville Panera Bread, interrupted at least 10 times in an hour and a half by well-wishers.