Supporters gathered Thursday evening in Victorian Village to hear Senator Harris speak on the early promises of his campaign and the state of our political climate.
“The Trump approach to electoral politics requires us to break everything and divide people,” Harris said. “I’m running because I’m worried about our ability to talk to one another. We’re already seeing that in the Republican Party.”
Harris said the local GOP has moved away from nominating moderates in the county primaries. He referred to incumbent Mayor Mark Luttrell, who is term-limited, as a moderate who won his first term in 2010 by virtue of token opposition in the mayoral primary from perennial candidate Ernest Lunati.
“We know that’s not going to happen this year. We are not likely to see any moderate Republicans anymore,” Harris said. “No Mark Luttrells, no Bob Corkers, no Bill Haslams come out of their primaries anytime soon.”
Republican opposition includes county trustee David Lenoir, county commissioner Terry Roland and Juvenile Court clerk Joy Touliatos. Roland was the chairman of Donald Trump’s West Tennessee campaign in 2016.
Harris is joined in the Democratic primary by former county commissioner Sidney Chism and the possibility Harold Byrd, former state Rep. and Bank of Bartlett president.
So far, the message from Tennessee Republicans running in the 2018 gubernatorial and Senate races has been that they all stand with Trump. That was the message among the six Republican contenders for governor at a Memphis forum last month, and it was re-enforced the next day at the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women gathering by U.S. Rep. and Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn and U.S. Rep. David Kustoff of Germantown.
Harris told supporters that he has shown he can work with Republicans in the Tennessee Legislature and still represent Democratic political values.
He referred to the five Democratic state senators in the 33-member Senate as a “super-minority.”
“I’m running because I think I’ve shown that I can get things done and I can work with anybody,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong. I believe in our issues. I believe in health care. I believe in the minimum wage. I believe that a woman should be in charge of her own body. And I don’t believe that the government should have any say-so in who you love. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t get anything done.”
Harris’ campaign released a July poll conducted by Prism Surveys showing the preferences of 562 Shelby County voters in a Harris matchup with either Roland or Lenoir as the Republican nominee.
In a Harris-Lenior matchup:
50% were "unsure"
29% indicated Harris
22% indicated Lenoir
In a Harris-Roland matchup:
Among black voters surveyed:
African-American voters indicating they were “unsure”
Among white respondents in a Harris-Lenoir matchup
57.1% were "unsure"
28.7% indicated Lenior
14.2% indicated Harris
Among white respondents in a Harris-Roland matchup
51.2% were "unsure"
32.3% indicated Roland
16.5% indicated Harris
The county primaries are seven months away and the general election 10 months away, it’s not necessarily something voters are focused on at the moment. Numbers are likely to change in early 2018 and candidates begin hand-to-hand campaigning.
Lenoir and Roland crossover support from respondents who identified as Democrats
Of the Democrats surveyed deciding who they would elect
Harris’s crossover support among those in the survey who identified as Republicans was:
But the leading choice among Republicans in the survey was “unsure”:
via. Memphis Daily News