Monday, February 05, 2007

First district race for 2008 is hot before it begins

Vance Cheek Jr. has a post up highlighting the near-certainty that Congressman David Davis will face serious and well-funded Primary opposition in 2008. As Cheek points out, Commissioner Phil Roe is running for re-election to the Johnson City Commission using the same domain name as his Congressional website. This is a highly abnormal move if you do not intend to keep that kind of domain name for future use, and if Roe were going to wait until 2010, surely his campaign would have the financial ability to simply purchase a new domain name by that time. Roe still has the domain name because Roe intends to run for Congress in short order.

Here is one area where I think Cheek may be off the mark:

While this happens, Richard Roberts sat in my office about a month ago and spent nearly an hour explaining why he would not be a candidate. That's usually a sure sign than the candidate is planning another run. Again, Richard vehemently denies this. However, if Richard is encouraged to run again, it is my personal belief that his personal financial contribution to the race will dwarf his monster financing of the 2006 campaign.

I think if Roberts spent an hour explaining to Vance Cheek, a 2006 rival and former Mayor of a major city in the First District whose potential support could help him if he ran, he probably isn't going to run. I may be wrong here, but I wouldn't bet the ranch on Roberts running. If you want to unseat David Davis, you might rather Roberts be his singular opponent than Phil Roe. It isn't just the issue of Roberts' money-Roberts comes across as more genuine and believable than Roe. It may not be a true impression, but if I think that, I am not the only Republican voter who does. If Roberts does not run, it may be because he doesn't want a three-way race that would allow Davis to squeak by again and cement Davis' hold on power.

On the flip side, a two-way race between Davis and Roe would be a likely Davis victory, as opposed to merely a possible one (as would be the case against Roberts). It is hard to argue that Phil Roe is as conservative as David Davis. For all of his faults, David Davis did receive Tennessee Right to Life's endorsement in the last election, and has a solidly conservative record in the General Assembly about which he can brag, even as it appears that his Congressional abilities will not equal those he displayed in Nashville. Conservatives in the grassroots would side with Davis over Roe in a two-man Primary, as Davis would be by far the more conservative of the two.

Richard Roberts, on the other hand, is another matter. He has an extremely strong stance on immigration and made it a point to say on several occasions and in no uncertain terms that was opposed to Frist's Senate bill. He also strongly supports traditional marriage and even supports a Constitutional Amendment to protect it (I don't agree with Roberts on this, not because I disagree with the spirit of what he is saying, but because marriage ought to be left in the hands of the States and Tennessee's constitutional amendment should suffice). He was talking about banning earmarks and a line-item veto while other candidates barely broached those questions, and long before the President mentioned earmarks in the State of the Union. Roberts could make the argument that he is as strong or stronger than Davis on these issues, and he has never held elective office, so he could run as the outsider-an enviable political position for a mountain Republican to be in.

Roberts' biggest mistake in his campaign last year was to "run on the war." He is (or at least was) more hawkish on Iraq than the district at-large, and he failed to see otherwise. Running on this war will not get you votes in the First District, it will lose you votes. People support our soldiers, sailors, and Marines here-no question. But kids from the First District are coming home with missing limbs (one right here in White Pine) or in caskets, and people are justifiably questioning our war policy if they are not opposed to continuing the war outright. Had Roberts campaigned more on immigration and less on the war, I believe he would be the Congressman from the First District today. Roberts has no military experience, and whatever his position on the war, he should stay away from campaigning too heavily on something about which he knows very little.

In a three-man race Davis might be able to squeak by since Roberts has enough establishment support to cyphen some establishment votes from Roe. If Roberts really campaigns hard on the issues of immigration and federal spending, he could split Davis' conservative votes and make the race very interesting indeed. Obviously, Roberts would be in a position to win in a two-man contest. In a three-way race, Davis would likely emerge the winner-just barely. Roberts does have the potential to pull off the upset.

Labels: ,


At Monday, February 05, 2007 5:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In '08 people need to worry about electing a President and regaining control of the congress. Gobbling up assets in a safe republican seat is selfish.

At Monday, February 05, 2007 5:36:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Anon (who I suspect is a mole for Congressman Davis);

Since the First District seat has the rare status of being permanently safe as a Republican seat, the Republican Primary is the real election for Congress in this district.

Since that is the case, how is it selfish to compete over the seat?

At Tuesday, February 06, 2007 1:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't care one way or the other, however, read what I said. "Gobbling up assets" means financial contributions. Look at how much was spent on the congressional race and compare that to how much is donated to a presidential race in the same district.

You answered my question when you said the seat is safe. Why blow money on a seat that is of the minority party?

Don't jump to conclusions about who supports your congressman, as far as you know I'm the only liberal that reads your blog.

At Tuesday, February 06, 2007 7:54:00 AM, Blogger Rob Huddleston said...

David -

With all due respect, I think you really botched this one.

David Davis more conservative than Phil Roe? I don't think so.

Richard Roberts as conservative as David Davis? Not on your life.

In fact, to say that Richard Roberts was the most liberal candidate in the 1st District GOP primary in 2006 would be accurate.



At Tuesday, February 06, 2007 10:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Phil Roe is not very conservative. I personally heard him say he ws in favor of a "National Healthcare system".

He also would never state if he had performed an abortion.

He is not a bad guy. But there was only one proven conservative in the race that was Congressman David Davis.

Richard Roberts had the money and the record to be anything and enyone he wanted, he just chose poorly.

Vance Cheek is a great guy, but never had a chance.

At Tuesday, February 06, 2007 10:49:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I agree with the anon, at least on Roe...I have heard that kind of talk out of Roe myself and I find it to be extremely unsettling. I don't think that those kinds of ideas are very conservative.

At Tuesday, February 06, 2007 11:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What has David ever done that wasn't conservative? What has Roe ever done that was conservative? Or for that matter, who was conservative beside David in that race?

Venable-Raised property tax.
Roberts-Donated money to Dems.
Roe-National health care.
All the others weren't contenders.

At Tuesday, February 06, 2007 11:28:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Anon #1: It is the dynamic of the First District that the Republican Primary always decides an election-the General Election is a formality. If you want to challenge the incumbent Congressman in this District and have any chance at all of success, you must do so in the Republican Primary...that is just the way it is here.

So all of this talk about how it is "selfish" to commit to a Primary campaign in a presidential election year really fails to take into account the unique political dynamic of the First District of Tennessee.

If you are indeed a liberal, I know for a fact you aren't the only one who reads this blog. Here's a shocker: I have friends who are liberals and/or Democrats, and if no other liberals or Democrats are reading, I know that they are.

Rob-Like you, I want the best Representative for the First District, and like you, I think we could do better than Richard Roberts. Phil Roe will not be better than either Davis or Roberts, I am afraid.

Let me be clear about something: I am not taking a position of opposition to David Davis, at least not yet. I am open to hearing what Davis has to say, and I am open to supporting Davis not only if he says the right things, but backs those things up with action. Congressional seniority issues aside, Davis can do a lot to prove that he's not only the "real McCoy," but that he's the right choice for the First District. He does not have a mandate by any means, and he needs to prove to me and every other person who votes here that he deserves one.

Roberts is not the best candidate, but if the crap hits the fan, he may be the only viable alternative to Davis if Davis cannot prove that he does deserve a mandate.

As far as perfect candidates go, the only person that I know of that meets agreement with me on every issue is me, myself, and I. I may very well be running for office in 2008-it is highly possible, in fact- but I can promise you that I won't be running for the First District Congressional seat. As you are not overly fond of State politics, I have an equal or greater distaste for federal politics.

Aside from me, there is one other person in whom I have a lot of trust and who I know would represent us well, and I would be proud to have him as a Congressman. He is a native of the district but he currently practices law in Knoxville. Rob Huddleston is his name-maybe you are familiar with him.

At Tuesday, February 06, 2007 3:17:00 PM, Blogger Rob Huddleston said...

Dave -

OK, now you're making me blush...

I am willing to give David a chance, but I guess I don't have high expectations of him. Personality and charisma are important in coalition-building on The Hill, and, well...

I certainly wouldn't support Roberts, though, unless David started voting like Bart Gordon.

As for Roe, one true falsehood is in one of the Anon comments. That is regarding abortion. That rumor was a plant by one of David Davis' campaign workers during the primary. There is nothing to it, but it was put out there to hurt Roe's credibility with pro-lifers. I'm not sure if that tactic was endorsed by Tennessee Right to Life, but let's just say that they sure didn't go out of their way to silence the rumor.

I didn't support Roe in the primary, but I do know that he was personally hurt by that backdoor accusation. And that David Davis (who was aware of what was going on, certainly so after a firey confrontation with Mrs. Roe) would keep people like that on his staff - that's when I started to lose respect for the Congressman from the 1st.



At Tuesday, February 06, 2007 4:20:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

If I ever have the opportunity, I would like to meet with Roe personally and ask him about his stance on life issues. As you know, the pro-life issue is one of those deal-breakers for me. No pro-life=no vote from Oatney.

I don't take kindly to people being falsely maligned, so if the story is true that the rumor was false and was put out there by the Davis people, that is beyond the pale.

Do you know anything about the deal with Roe and socialized medicine/national health care. I have heard the same thing about his healthcare ideas that anon has...what gives?

At Tuesday, February 06, 2007 9:03:00 PM, Blogger Conservatore dall'est said...


I have a feeling that this Anon has something in common with the fella who doesn't like me. Like, being the same person, perhaps.

Before he or anyone else writes me off, he needs to remember that Davis ran at age 37 (I was 39) finished 5th (I was 6th) and won the thing 10 years later.

On second thought, scratch that. You both know me fairly well and I love being underestimated by people like Anon.

We'll continue this chat at the Jefferson County Lincoln Day. I am looking forward to seeing you two then. Thank you both again for your friendship.

All the best,


At Wednesday, February 07, 2007 2:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wy would DD start a rumour against someone who didn't come close to him? Logically the roumer would have bean against tricky dick.

At Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have friends close to the Davis campaign. There were no rumors started by the actual staff about 4th place Roe and his potential abortionistic practices. Whether he IS pro-life now...he NEVER answered if he had performed an abortion or not. That is not any type of slander, just the truth.

My friends found that the one lying was one of the staff members of Roe's campaign spreading rumors and absolutely lying about Davis to get ahead.

Davis would NEVER endorse that type of behavior. His campaign was about who he was and what he believes and oh yeah, what he has done as a State Representative.

I know it is difficult for people to accept that there is a real conservative SOCIALLY & FISCALLY all in the same person, but it does exist in our Congressman.

I don't know where Rob and Davis got off on the wrong foot, but I think Rob would do well to do his own research. Then he can give cheers.


At Wednesday, February 07, 2007 12:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is all interesting, but the suggestion Davis was actively or passively having his staff put out rumors like that sort of flies in the face of the polls during the race if memory serves. He was far enough out there that he surely wouldn't have risked the backlash? He had no real need to attack Roe did he? I thought Davis ran his race pushing the idea he was the frontrunner the entire time, he certainly gave that appearance talking to him. I don't think he would have put his lead in the polls at risk. Also seems out of character for him from everything I've ever heard about him.

At Wednesday, February 07, 2007 1:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is out of character. That is not David Davis. It might be Phil Roe or Vance Cheek, Richard Roberts and definitely Richard Venable, but not Congressman David Davis.

Front-Runners don't have to do silly things like attack number 3 or 4 in the race. What would it benefit them?

At Wednesday, February 07, 2007 10:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Davis is the dirtiest, most self serving, narrow minded politician that has come out of TN-01. I was/am a Roe supporter and we had no doubt that Davis was leaking the abortion issue. Roe went to Right to Life meetings where he said he never did an abortion.

Talk about no where, Davis was too chicken to debate issues or even show up to GOP events for more than 10 minutes. Say what you will about Roe, Roberts, Cheek and Venable but they were all great debaters. Roe will unite the thousands of people who didn't vote for Davis or his 3rd rate act and retire the little hypocrite after one term.

Venable's too old, Cheek's not healthy enough and Robert's is too rich for east tn. voters. It will be Phil Roe in '08 and Anne Pope after that. All the rest of the also rans will trade courthouse jobs for the rest of their lives.

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 12:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pay attention Anon - He was the frontrunner. Frontrunners don't need to debate and have no need to help guys like Cheek get the media coverage. He should have gotten out in public and campaigned like Davis did.

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 3:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do ya'll talk about Cheek when he won less counties than Peggy Barnet? Mention her and Bill Breeding while you are at it.

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 8:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roe Roe Roe your vote...throw it down the drain.

Not a bad guy. He will not retire David Davis after one term He is having a hard enough time in his own commission race now.

I know for a FACT it was the kid that was working for ROE, not anyone that was a staff member for the Davis campaign that was spreading rumors.

CONGRESSMAN DAVID DAVIS didn't campaign like that and for you or anyone else to suggest that he did, cheapens his great victory, all of the hard work his supporter did, and the very seat of the 1st Congressional District.

Get over it!

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 12:15:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Ahhh who to believe....

All of this is interesting, ladies and gentlemen, and proves that intra-party politics in the First is dirty as a whole. You are all now taking turns engaging in the Blame Game.

I will say that as to the issue of who the frontrunner, 521 votes separated first and second place in the 2006 race and 3,045 votes separated first and third place. 3,718 voted separated first and fourth. The first and second place candidate received a virtually identical percentage of the vote.

Among the top three or four, at the end of the day, there was hardly an established frontrunner when the votes were counted. 78% of the District voted for someone other than the person who won.

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 1:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You like history. Here a bit you might enjoy...

Congressman Davis won by almost twice what Congressman Jenkins won by, who won by almost twice what Quillen won by.

The first one is ALWAYS close in the First.

Davis' victory could considered a landslide by 1st district standards.

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 1:57:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

But the fact remains that it was not a landslide at all.

I say that only to point out that the days of candidates having a lifetime guarantee of office in the First are likely at an end-regardless of which candidate you support.

At Friday, February 09, 2007 4:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is this about David Davis? Notice how this blogger does not write about how bad Lamar and Bob are? He was and is a Vance mark and doesn't care about anything else. Mr. Blogger you are the only fundamentalist Catholic to support a pro choice divorce. Get real.

At Friday, February 09, 2007 11:08:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Latest anon;
Do you simply not read my blog, or are you just that ignorant? I was adamantly opposed to Bob Corker and was a staunch supporter of Ed Bryant-and I don't support divorcees who support aborticide, so you are barking up the wrong tree.

At Friday, February 09, 2007 11:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they were referring to Vance.

At Friday, February 09, 2007 7:16:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

As to Vance, he is pro-life, as I don't know how many times he and I have been over the issue. He also supported Ed Bryant in the Senate Primary, same as I did.

As for his divorces-I am a traditional Catholic and I believe that divorce is a great evil. Vance Cheek knows that I believe this-if I limited my personal friendships of grown adults to those who have never divorced, I would have few friends or connections indeed-it is an unfortunate fact of life that there are a whole lot of divorcees running around East Tennessee-more than I certainly care to see.

Finally, I am more annoyed because I count Vance Cheek as a friend-I am not, as one person put it, a "Vance mark." My friendship is never a guarantee of my vote, and my vote is not always a statement of friendship-though I have been known to vote for friends now and then.

And this all started, mind you, because I mentioned that Davis would likely be opposed and I questioned his mandate...not because I questioned his conservatism-I did not. I have said over and over again that I am still open to supporting him.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Locations of visitors to this page
Profile Visitor Map - Click to view visits
Create your own visitor map