Tennessee History for Kids (which adults can read, too) has a new section on Tennessee geography. Included are “eight things about Tennessee geography that will surprise you, such as:”
* South Carolina is west of Tennessee
* Tennessee has more caves than any other state
* Elevation-wise, Knoxville is lower than Cookeville
* Memphis is much closer to Dallas than it is to Mountain City.
Direct link to the “eight things” is HERE.
Politically active Tennesseans are traveling to other states to get involved in the presidential campaign and Michael Collins has talked with some of them. Forrest Erickson wants to make a difference in the presidential election, so most Saturday mornings he leaves his home in Maryville, travels for two hours to Asheville, N.C., and campaigns for President Barack Obama.
Armed with a clipboard and voter registration forms, he signs up new voters. He knocks on doors, reminds people that early voting is an option and asks if they need a ride to the polls. He also tries to persuade voters to give Obama a second term.
“Barack Obama won North Carolina by only 14,000 votes last time, and it’s important that what I do makes a real difference in terms of winning some Electoral College votes,” Erickson said, explaining why he chooses to campaign in North Carolina instead of Tennessee.
“The race in Tennessee is not close enough,” Erickson said, “but what we do in North Carolina might make a difference.”
…Last week, a busload of 60 GOP volunteers left Knoxville and spent the weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio, where they knocked on more than 5,000 doors and called more than 7,000 voters on behalf of Romney.
Afterward, “we were happily exhausted,” said Jennifer Little of Bean Station, who was among those pounding the pavement for Romney. “At the end of the day, when we got back home, we felt like we had really accomplished something.”
Little’s rationale for campaigning for Romney in Ohio is the same motivation that drove Erickson to North Carolina for Obama.
“Ohio is an important swing state, and you make that decision — where can I make the biggest difference,” Little said. “We can make the biggest difference in a swing state like Ohio or Virginia or North Carolina.”
Thus, another busload of Tennessee volunteers is in Cincinnati this weekend campaigning for Romney. A third trip is also possible.
Assuming that the presidential race is already decided in Tennessee in favor of Mitt Romney, the state’s Democrats and Republicans are both providing party activists to work for votes in other states where the outcome is in doubt.
But Tennessee chairmen of the two major parties say there’s also a push to turn out voters for their candidates within the state, in part because of a belief that the margin of Romney’s win could impact the outcome in “down-the-ballot” races, including those for seats in the state Legislature.
For Democrats and Republicans alike, the top target for Tennessee out-of-state influence efforts is North Carolina, where President Barack Obama won a narrow victory four years ago and narrowly trails Republican Mitt Romney in recent polls this year.
News release from Tennessee Republican Party:
KNOXVILLE, TN – Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney debuted new technology at the Knox County Victory Headquarters today that will be used to help elect Mitt Romney and state legislative candidates in East Tennessee.
The new VOIP (Voice Over IP) phones, which are supplied by a Tennessee-based company, will allow volunteers to more efficiently contact voters in Tennessee and in nearby “swing states” like North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio.
“This is the most crucial election of our lifetime, and the Knox County Victory Headquarters is just one part of our overall Victory effort,” said Devaney.
“While working to expand our majorities on the state level, volunteers will also have the opportunity to call into or be deployed to a nearby ‘swing state’ like North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio. The volunteer spirit of the Volunteer State is alive and well, and that will help propel our candidates to victory this November and ensure a reversal of the reckless economic policies of President Obama,” concluded Devaney.
The Knox County Victory Headquarters is located at 5410 Kingston Pike in Knoxville. Volunteers can sign up to participate in the TNGOP Victory program by visiting http://www.tngop.org/action/volunteer.html.
By Bill Barrow, Associated Press
ATLANTA — The “Solid South” was a political fact, benefiting Democrats for generations and then Republicans, with Bible Belt and racial politics ruling the day.
But demographic changes and recent election results reveal a more nuanced landscape now as the two major parties prepare for their national conventions. Republicans will convene Aug. 27 in Florida, well established as a melting-pot battleground state, to nominate Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. Democrats will toast President Barack Obama the following week in North Carolina, the perfect example of a Southern electorate not so easily pigeon-holed.
Obama won both states and Virginia four years ago, propelled by young voters, nonwhites and suburban independents. Virginia, long a two-party state in down-ballot races, had not sided with Democrats on the presidency since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Jimmy Carter in 1976 had been the last Democratic nominee to win North Carolina. Each state is in play again, with Romney needing to reclaim Florida and at least one of the others to reach the White House.
Southern strategists and politicians say results will turn again this year on which party and candidates understand changing demographics and voter priorities.
“The transformation of the South seems to never end,” said Mo Elleithee, a Democratic campaign consultant with deep experience in Virginia and federal elections. “Now it’s beginning to emerge, at least parts of it, as solidly purple.”
New citizens, birth rates, and migration patterns of native-born Americans make high-growth areas less white, less conservative or both. There is increasing urban concentration in many areas. African-American families are moving back to the South after generations in Chicago, New York or other northern cities.
Young religious voters are less likely than their parents to align with Republicans on abortion and same-sex unions. Younger voters generally are up for grabs on fundamental questions like the role of the federal government in the marketplace.
“I wouldn’t say the South is any more ideologically rigid than anywhere else in the country. Certainly, it’s complicated,” said former Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee. Bredesen, a Democrat, won twice while Republican George W. Bush occupied the White House. Before that, Bredesen was a two-term mayor of Nashville.
News release from Tennessee Republican Party:
Raleigh, NC– Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus and the Republican Party Chairmen of North Carolina’s border announced today their unified efforts to defeat President Obama and the Democratic ticket in North Carolina.
As solidly red states, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee are in a unique position to contribute to the Republican National Committee, NCGOP, and Romney for President’s already immensely successful efforts in North Carolina. Each state party today has committed resources to turn North Carolina red in November through efforts that include volunteer deployment, calling in to North Carolina from Victory Offices in their own states, and also utilizing the RNC’s Social Victory Center to call into the state.
In May of this year, the South Carolina Republican Party pledged at least 1,000 volunteers to North Carolina’s Victory efforts and have already begun volunteer efforts across the state. In fact, dozens of South Carolinians are in Charlotte today to help out with North Carolina’s Super Saturday efforts.
“Today’s commitments from the Republican Party Chairmen of Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee will help ensure North Carolina defeats Barack Obama and Democrats up and down the ballot on Election Day,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.
Tennessee’s Republican Gov. Bill Haslam spent Wednesday stumping for Mitt Romney in Western North Carolina, reports the Asheville Citizen-Times. His first stop was the Romney campaign office in Asheville and from there he attended a roundtable on agriculture and small business at Apple Wedge Packers and Growers in Hendersonville, according to the Romney campaign. His last stop was in Sylva at a campaign office.
He told supporters in Asheville that North Carolina is key to Romney’s plan to win the White House. President Obama won the state in 2008 by just 14,000 votes.
“This race is obviously being contested in all 50 states but it doesn’t take a whole lot to deduce that there are going to be several states that are going to be really close in what’s going to be a close election and North Carolina is undoubtedly one of those states,” he said.
The Republican Party in North Carolina would like to give Romney a win in the state. Much of the strategy focuses on how voters feel about the economy in a state where unemployment is around 8 percent. And it focuses, as Haslam told supporters, on getting people to the polls on Election Day.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A Blountville, Tenn., abortion doctor who authorities say pulled a gun on protesters who approached his vehicle at a Charleston clinic has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and will pay a $100 fine.
The Post and Courier of Charleston reports (http://bit.ly/N30Fuk ) that 64-year-old Gary Boyle did not attend Friday’s hearing.
Boyle was originally charged with pointing a firearm at a person, which is a felony that carries up to five years in prison. He pleaded guilty Friday to disorderly conduct.
Boyle told police he raised the pistol from his moving SUV because several protesters approached his vehicle and he feared he might be attacked like other abortion doctors.
But the protesters say they were not aggressive and were peacefully demonstrating.
Boyle had a permit to carry the gun.
Knoxville’s Obama for America campaign, an official re-election effort for President Barack Obama, is focusing its efforts on making phone calls and walking in neighborhoods in North Carolina with the realization that Tennessee is expected to be a red state for presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in November, reports Georgiana Vines. The campaign by Democrats is having a series of house parties to explain the strategy and line up volunteers. One such party was held Sunday at the West Knox County home of Mary Linda and Arnold Schwarzbart with nearly 50 in attendance.
…Gloria Johnson, Knox County Democratic Party chairwoman, who is a candidate for the 13th House District seat, told the group she traveled to North Carolina and Pennsylvania in 2008.
“I had the best time,” she said. “It made me see how important Tennessee is.” The Knox County special education teacher often talks about how she was never active in politics until the first Obama campaign.
From Vanderbilt University:
They’ve been called patriots and extremists, constitutional sticklers and libertarians.
Who are the people who make up the Tea Party movement?
According to a new survey undertaken by sociologists from Vanderbilt University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Tea Partiers are an old movement in new (albeit retro) packaging.
“The Tea Party movement is best understood as a new cultural expression of the late-20th century Republican Party,” said Steven J. Tepper, associate professor of sociology at Vanderbilt and associate director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at the university.
“Compared to the Republican Party, Tea Party supporters are more likely to support libertarian principles. But virtually every other characteristic of Tea Party supporters – from demographics to political and social attitudes – matches the profile of Republican supporters.”
“I would say that the Tea Party right now is not positioned to change American politics in any drastic way.”
Tepper, along with UNC-Chapel Hill colleagues Andrew J. Perrin, Neal Caren and Sally Morris, conducted two telephone surveys of registered voters in North Carolina and Tennessee in the spring and fall of 2010, as well as interviews and observations at a Tea Party rally in Washington, N.C. Results of the poll of about 2,500 people were published in the Spring 2011 issue of Contexts magazine. The margin of error on the statistics used in this release is plus or minus 3.1 percent.