That was the warning Monday from Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden, who told a Greater Kingsport Republican Women’s luncheon that Republican complacency won’t cut it in the 2018 election cycle.
Golden used the example of what happened last year in Virginia when Democrats picked up state lawmaker seats and Democrat Ralph Northam won the governor’s race.
“Republicans stayed home and Democrats voted at presidential levels,” Golden said of Virginia’s 2017 election cycle.
Republicans hold super majorities in the Tennessee House and Senate, and they hope to keep the governor’s office this year plus a U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Bob Corker.
“This will be the first time since 1869 that Republicans will have a chance to have back-to-back Republican governors,” Golden said before the luncheon. “ … We really hope to give (President) Donald Trump another vote in the Senate. In the state House, we’ve got fairly large turnover. We’ve got 18 Republicans in the state House who have announced they are not running (for re-election).”
As an icebreaker, Golden advised club members he had turned on CNN and found out Hillary Clinton is still not the president of the United States.
“Right after your prayers, that is the only thing that matters,” insisted Golden, who added he is the first Tennessee Republican Party chairman from West Tennessee in 25 years.
Golden’s next core message: “There are some great things going on in the Republican Party. Do not let the national media take that away from us. … Do not get caught up in the news of the day.”
Judge Neil Gorsuch made it to the U.S. Supreme Court and Trump may have a shot at nominating up to two more Supreme Court justices, Golden pointed out.
“The Dow Jones has gone down 200 points today, but it’s up 7,000 points since Donald Trump was elected and took the oath of office,” Golden said.
At the state level, Golden said Gov. Bill Haslam is the first Republican governor in Tennessee’s history to have served with a Republican House speaker and Senate lieutenant governor.
“The reason we’re doing it right (in Tennessee) is we have Republicans in charge,” Golden stressed.
So in framing the 2018 election cycle, Golden noted Republicans are satisfied and Democrats are angry.
“The question for us is: Do we take it for granted?” Golden asked the group. “ … Are we going to fight for it? … There are more Republican candidates running for office than ever before.”
One potential contentious race in the November general election could be Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn against former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat.
“The first vote for Phil Bredesen will be to cast a vote for (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer,” Golden said. “There are three key seats (Democrats) are looking at, two in Arizona and one in Tennessee … they cannot get control of the Senate without winning this seat in Tennessee.”