For state Dems, not losing is the new winning

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 1:37pm

Despite having handed Republicans a highly coveted super majority status in the General Assembly, Democrats heralded Tuesday as a victory.

Losing six state House seats over last legislative session's total is actually a win for Democrats, top party leaders said Wednesday.

“Our numbers are down, we know that,” said Craig Fitzhugh, the leading House Democrat. “But the fact that we were able to retain all of our incumbents and pick up four new seats clearly shows the reversal of a trend. We are in the process of clawing our way back, ladies and gentlemen.”

While the minority party had ownership of 34 seats on the last day of the legislative session, they say they really only had 24 after the retirements of seven members and Republicans drawing them out of three more.

Walking away from Tuesday’s election with anything more than 24 seats is a victory, House Democratic Caucus Leader Mike Turner said.

“That’s our story and I think that we won,” he said. “We are tickled to be here.”

One of the Democrats’ electoral wins this election cycle was picking off Republican Rep. Jim Gotto and replacing him with Metro Councilman Darren Jernigan in House District 60, which stretches through the east side of Davidson County.

Republicans ran "probably the most competitive races that we have ever run" in Davidson County, said House Speaker Beth Harwell, adding the GOP will always struggle there. But clearly, she said, Republicans are the victors this election cycle, despite losing one House seat to the Democrats.

"I commend them on well-fought races. All I can say is we have 18 new Republican freshmen," Harwell told reporters Wednesday. "That's, I think, quite a victory for the Republican Party."

Republicans now make up 70 of the 99 seats in the state House of Representatives, leaving 28 Democrats and one independent. The last time one party held a super majority in that chamber was 1977.

Senate Republicans also earned a super majority in Tuesday night’s election by gaining six seats. The GOP to Democrat ratio there now sits at 26-7.

By having control of more than two-thirds of the legislature, the party has the power to conduct business without needing Democrats present.

7 Comments on this post:

By: PKVol on 11/8/12 at 9:33

Leave it to Turner to twist going from 34 seats to 29 as a victory. Even if you count the 3 from "Republicans drawing them out of three more", they still went from 31 to 29, a net loss of 2. I'll be interested in not hearing him comment on legislation during the next two years.

By: frodo on 11/8/12 at 10:32

This way of doing math is why the federal budget is so out of whack. May we continue to keep Fitzhugh and Turner here in Tennessee. We don't need any more math like that in DC.

By: govskeptic on 11/8/12 at 11:29

Did Mr. Gotto get beat on merit or was it a sympathy vote for Mr. Jernigan's physical
handicap highlighted in his one heavy used TV commercial?

By: wasaw on 11/8/12 at 1:54

I've got a great idea. Why don't 'Dem.scrote gary odum (little caps for a little person) and his other twenty-eight 'dems just stay home this next legislative cycle.

No, I've got another great idea. Why doesn't scrote gary odum spend this Thanksgiving Day, like he did in 2008, driving around, visiting enough 'Pubs and paying them enough silver to elect a 'Dem as Speaker of the House (kind of like he did with kent williams).

The beauty of this election cycle is that we're even closer to getting rid of scrote gary odum. He irrelevant now, and forever.

By: jonw on 11/8/12 at 2:12

Stupidest article that I have seen in a long time.

By: pswindle on 11/8/12 at 6:52

When TN hits the bottom and they will with the policies that they are coming up with. TN will be happy to have a little knwn factor, the democrat party, to come in and save the day.

By: jonw on 11/15/12 at 5:59

I not read that a super minority is a win. LOL