Senator-elect Lowe Finney
I said this yesterday, but for us political junkies, Election Days are always the Super Bowl for us.
Last night, I waited for the results of the Finney/McLeary race because, and I've said this before, I'm biased.
I like Lowe. I saw him grow up. I've discussed this and I won't beat that to death but I want to be clear that this is personal for me on some levels.
The Jackson Sun
has a story that discusses the race.
When McLeary hopped parties in February, in west Tennessee, democrats felt betrayed. I spoke to some of the other owners and editors of the small papers around here, and the consensus was that the Dems had worked very hard to get Don McLeary elected. When he switched, there was a sense of a dismissal of their loyalty and hard work.
They felt slapped in the face but some people were still fond of McLeary, the person. He's a hell of a nice guy.
Finney didn't beat McLeary with a mandate, but he beat him nonetheless. For the a first time candidate, this was an amazing feat but a lot of his victory had to do with good-timing, national trends and excellent advice from some political power hitters.
And he didn't get in the race to make a name for himself, he got into win because he thought he could.
The election is over, but Finney becoming the senator-elect of Madison, Gibson and Carroll counties (he carried the latter two, but didn't take Madison) is going to be interesting when he actually takes office.
The John Wilder situation in Nashville will play out with this election. That impacts the state.
But the long-term implications even go farther. Finney is a rising new star on the democratic landscape, and he has charisma, he is a conservative democrat in the vein of Tanner and Ford, good-looking and whip-smart. He also has connections. And in politics, connections are everything.
I see Washington in the next decade. You can take this or leave it with a grain of salt, but I do if Finney stays smart.
Here is another thing to keep in mind, when northwest Tennessee lost Gov. Ned McWherter, who honestly did take care of the constituents over here in various ways, we lost some of a coalition that created a lot of opportunities for this part of the state. It was a slow process, but McWherter was in the fold of Clinton and Gore. In all likelihood, he could have run for a third term and won.
This part of the state started experiencing little fractures without the McWherter in elected office, although he still plays a part behind the scenes. The fractures become huge over time.
No one's fault, but we've had a rough time as of late.
Finney has that same sort of, and I can't reach for the right word here, but charisma that could be of great benefit for not only his constiuents but for northwest Tennessee.
He has a seat at the table with Gov. Phil Bredesen, which is a good thing if you are a rookie politician.
Now granted, I've had three hours sleep and I'm just rambling a bit, but Finney's win has a lot of weight in this state.