Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Davis Cries Foul

For the last 120 years, only Republicans have served the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee's First Congressional District. Although the Democrats dutifully run a candidate, for practical purposes, the person who wins the Republican primary is the one who will be the representative.

Freshman incumbent David Davis lost the primary to Johnson City mayor Phil Roe by 460 votes. Davis is crying foul. He says he lost because Democrats voted in the Republican primary for the purpose of ousting him. He doesn't think that is merely bad form, he thinks it is fraudulent.

He has hired a law firm to sniff out any Democrats who voted Republican, apparently with the goal of canceling their votes. The newspaper even published a phone number so you can rat out your neighbor.

The problem for Davis is that it is perfectly legal. In Tennessee, any registered voter can vote in any primary s/he chooses. You visit the nice volunteers, show them your ID, sign in, fill out a piece of paper as to which primary you wish to vote in that election, take your paper to the man behind the curtain who punches up the machine to the party you selected, and vote in secret.

Thus many Tennesseeans are free agents. They vote for (or against) the person rather than the party. Davis thinks he has a case because he says there is a state law that "prohibits persons who have an 'established pattern' of voting in one party’s primary from voting in another party’s primary."

I wonder how far Davis will really take this. Will they go through the voting records, litmus-testing everyone who voted in regards to party affiliation? What constitutes an established pattern? And, how do you know if the person you tracked down as a dirty dog Democrat even voted against you? The voting is in secret. If Davis is somehow successful with dismissing the votes of the people in this district, can you imagine the lawsuits?

It is all on the front page of today's JC Press, Davis Retains Law Firm. The Lt. Governor says Davis is making a major mistake and the Johnson City Press wrote that Davis should "accept the decision of the voters."

I agree.


  1. I wrote to the newspapers about this very thing today. It will be in the Bristol Herald tomorrow, and perhaps the JC Press.

    What a big flippin' baby!

  2. What a pious crybaby! I did not vote for him, but now I would not vote for him to be a trash collector.

  3. I'm laughing at Davis and shaking my head.

    Truly, this is one episode of Republican whining I shall cherish for the rest of my days.

  4. I think our man has trashed any political career he has left with that silly stunt.

  5. I'm a Democrat who voted in the Republican primary against Davis. Actually no I'm not a Democrat because I'm too liberal for them.

    The main reason I voted in the Republican primary this time was because I wanted to vote against Matthew Hill. Getting to vote against Davis was just an added bonus.

    I'm totally calling that phone number he had listed in the paper yesterday and turning myself in.

  6. My advice would be for him to go back to the state lege and make Tennessee a closed primary state.

    Same thing goes on in Georgia. It's the price we pay for not having voters register by party.

  7. When we moved to S FL in the 50's my parents, both Republicans, registered as Democrats because that was the only way to be able to vote on the side liable to get elected. There is no "perfect" system.

  8. If they had a closed primary here in NE Tennessee, I wouldn't have anyone to vote for!

  9. We have an open primary in Michigan, and I typically vote in the Republican primaries -- particularly this year because the Democratic primary in MI (as you may have heard, there was a little news about it) didn't count.

    Sure, people can use it for chicanery, but I do it to vote for the least offensive Republican. I figure it's in my best interests to have the best of the worst republicans running against the guy I'm going to actually vote for in November.