Will rising star shine in 58th District?

Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 11:45pm

Last year, Steven Turner was named the Davidson County Democratic Party’s rising star. This year, he’s trying to see how high his star can rise.

Turner, 27, is mounting a primary challenge to Rep. Mary Pruitt, the Democrat who has represented central Nashville’s 58th House District since 1985.

Regarded as inaccessible, unresponsive and ineffectual, Pruitt nevertheless wins and wins again in the solidly blue district. In 2006, she defeated Jason Powell, a well-funded political newcomer.

Is this year any different?

Even in four short years, the district has changed. Once a poor, city-center district touching on North Nashville, the 58th has experienced something of a turnaround: The neighborhoods of Germantown and Salemtown have turned into solidly middle-class enclaves stocked with professionals. Condos, higher-end shops and restaurants are springing up as the area becomes the latest in Nashville to go through a reimagining.

Turner focuses on Pruitt’s lack of responsiveness: She sponsored just 12 bills last session and missed 87 votes, even though the state Capitol itself is smack dab in the middle of her district.

In addition, the veteran has seemingly imposed a media blackout on herself, failing to return phone calls and, as best anyone can tell, doing just one interview: on the radio on 92Q-FM. She claimed support from the district and said she’s “done what the people have asked [her] to do.”

Turner, meanwhile, essentially kicked off his campaign back in October and touts his door-to-door, in-the-neighborhood strategy as the key to his success.

As always, elections are nothing more than big get-out-the-vote efforts. If Turner can get the progressives out in force — which may be tough given that the left wing of the Democratic Party is less than enthused about giving Mike McWherter courtesy votes for the gubernatorial nomination — he has a chance. If Pruitt’s supporters can be mobilized as they were four years ago, she’s likely to remain on Capitol Hill.

4 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 7/26/10 at 8:01

This incumbent is surely the weakest link of the Davidson County delegation!

By: morpheus120 on 7/26/10 at 8:29

If Jason Powell had been black, he would have beaten Mary Pruitt in 2006. You'd think that race would have scared Pruitt into being more responsive to constituents or to bother campaigning to keep the seat, but she's done neither over the last four years.

If he's bothered to organize a real grassroots campaign, Turner will rout her on Aug. 5.

By: Loretta Bridge on 7/26/10 at 10:21

I don't care if the people running are Democrats or Republican. I AM SURE THAT IT IS TIME TO GET ALL these people that have been in office doing nothing for us for years
OUT OF OFFICE. I would not vote for an incumbent if I were married to one.

By: gdiafante on 7/26/10 at 1:57

Yes, by all means, just vote against the incumbents...don't learn anything about their position...