Friday, July 23, 2021

Jim Cooper - Odessa Kelly race heats up. Kelly is a viable challenger.

Raises $300K. Her campaign gets national attention.

Jim Cooper
by Holly McCall, Tennessee Lookout, JULY 23, 2021-
  ... Making it rain: Cooper raised just over $580,000; Kelly raised just over $300,000. Both are credible numbers, but the numbers need some context. One tenet of politics is that a candidate needs to make an impressive showing with their first disclosure, lest he or she be written off as non-competitive. Kelly did that. 
Odessa Kelly

To raise $300,000 as a first-time candidate is impressive, particularly so given she’s running against a long-time incumbent..... Kelly got money from actress Jane Fonda, Metro Nashville Education Association President Amanda Kail, public housing advocates Eddie Latimer and Kay Bowers, and Judge Rachel Bell. ...  

Virtually every member of Middle Tennessee’s Democratic establishment gave more than $100 to Cooper. Kelly received a few contributions of over $100 from Young Democrats, including a labor organizer and two legislative staff members, but no donations from prominent Democrats. ...  She has scored the endorsements of a half dozen of Nashville’s 40 council members, including Sean Parker, who also serves in a role on her campaign staff. ....

For her part, Kelly is a stronger candidate than Keeda Haynes, Cooper’s last primary challenger. Haynes had a compelling backstory but lacked the deep and broad community ties of Kelly, who has a warm charisma that makes you feel you’ve known her forever upon your first meeting. A graduate of Metro Nashville Public Schools and Tennessee State University, where she played basketball, Kelly has worked for Metro Parks and now directs Stand Up Nashville, a pro-labor organization. All of that is to say that if Haynes could swing almost 40% of the 2020 primary vote to Cooper’s 57%, it’s feasible that Kelly could pick up an additional 8% to close the gap. ... the outcome of the 2022 primary is anyone’s guess. (Read the full story at this link.) 

Rod's comment: While if my only choice were between Cooper and Kelly as our next congressman, I would favor Cooper, it would not be by much. I will not be voting in the Dem primary to save Cooper from a candidate even further to the left. For one thing, the Democrat mainstream is so far to the left now, that it doesn't much matter if a Democrat is more like Cooper or more like Kelly.  Cooper is sometimes called a "moderate," but he votes in lockstep with his party.  Also, while at one time, Cooper may have been fiscally conservative and he once warned of massive deficit spending and the national debt, he no longer speaks of those concerns.  About the only difference between a moderate Democrat and a Democratic Socialist Democrat is style, demeanor, and rhetoric.  The moderate Democrats are more boring.

In fact, in this Democrat contest, I am favoring Kelly.  If the Republican primary is boring, I may vote in the Democrat primary and actually vote for Kelly. Why?  because I think a Republican could stand a better chance of beating Kelly in the general election than they could of beating Cooper. Kelly would be the weaker candidate.  In a general election contest, some undecided or persuadable voters may be more likely to be persuaded to vote Republican if the candidate is Kelly than if it is the boring but known Jim Cooper. Cooper doesn't scare voters; Kelly may.

Between now and the election, the Republican legislature will be redrawing district boundaries. If boundaries are redrawn to add a few more rural and conservative voters to the 5th, and if Republicans nominate a serious candidate who cannot credibly be smeared as a Trumpinista, Republicans may stand a chance of winning the 5th.  A lot can happen between now and then but I am glad to see Cooper have a viable challenger.  

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