There’s a common joke around election time when someone wants to make it clear they won’t be running for office.
“Well, I wouldn’t be elected for dog catcher,” the one-liner goes.
I don’t recall ever seeing the Office of Dog Catcher on the ballot, but if it was I’d recommend running for it as a Republican.
As the 2022 election cycle approaches, the one thing I’m most interested in seeing is how Republicans, Democrats and Independents fare in our local races. I’ve maintained for years you’d be ill-advised to run for any office in Tennessee without an “R” in front of your name so I’m interested to see how that line of thinking plays out.
When it comes to state and federal offices, it’s 100% true. You aren’t going to win in Warren County unless you run as a Republican.
Let’s look at figures from our most recent election in November 2020. It may be best known as the election where Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump for U.S. President.
Biden may have won by some 7 million votes nationally, but here in Warren County it was Trump who commanded 73.7% of the vote. Trump won every precinct in Warren County by a landslide, including 84.3% of the vote at Shellsford Baptist Church. That's dominance.
If we look at other races on the November 2020 ballot, Congressman Scott DesJarlais gained 70.6% of the vote in Warren County.
In the race for Tennessee Senate, Janice Bowling earned 71.5% of the vote.
In one race for Tennessee House, Paul Sherrell received 75.6% of the vote.
In the other race for Tennessee House, Rush Bricken didn’t even have an opponent in the General Election even though he was running for just his second term.
To break it down as simple as possible, every Republican candidate on the ballot received no less than 70.6% of the vote in Warren County. That tells me people are clearly voting for the party, not the person.
So how will all this translate to the local level? Specifically, will it make a difference in the race for our District Attorney if the candidate is a Republican? Is it going to make an impact in deciding our next County Executive?
I say yes, it most certainly will.
Tennessee has become a one-party state. You either run as a Republican or you lose. That can only happen for so long at the state and federal levels before it trickles down to the local level too.
Warren County Commissioner Blaine Wilcher broke barriers in 2010 when he became the first candidate in some 150 years to run for local office as a Republican and win. In the nearly 12 years since, the political landscape hasn’t gradually shifted – it’s been more like an avalanche.
I would never consider running for political office because, as the joke goes, I couldn’t get elected as Dog Catcher. But if I were running for office in Warren County, it would be as a Republican because you can only make an impact if you win.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.