COMMENTARY: Ramsey is force to be reckoned with

Monday, March 9, 2009 at 1:10am

During the last two weeks, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey made official what had previously only been hinted at, he is running for governor. By virtue of his office, Ramsey immediately becomes a ‘top-tier’ candidate.

However, with a multi-millionaire Knoxville Mayor and a Chattanooga congressman already in the mix raising money and constructing organizations, some wonder if Ramsey can truly compete in a two to three way race in which he is prohibited from raising money during the legislative session.

That wondering should cease.

Certainly, it won't be easy. Mayor Bill Haslam and Rep. Zach Wamp are formidable but Ramsey holds cards that other candidates cannot trump.

Ramsey is in many ways a perfect synthesis of his two major opponents. Wamp is a conservative. He can deliver the red meat and push those hot buttons in the perfect combination on the stump to get the base pumped. But he has little in terms of executive experience and he has not shown much of the pragmatic leadership most folks want to see in a Governor.

Haslam, Ramsey’s other major opponent, is the polar opposite. The textbook example of a studied, pragmatic executive leader, Haslam has a tin ear when it comes to the ideological base of the modern TNGOP. While Tennessee Republicans have time and again embraced the moderate Republicans in the Howard Baker mold, most of these moderates at least attempted to feign rock-ribbed allegiance to movement conservatism.

Haslam has yet to show that willingness and clearly lacks the fire for issues that animate conservative primary voters.

Ramsey, however, boasts the virtues of both Haslam and Wamp. Ramsey cannot be questioned as an ideological conservative yet his leadership in the Senate puts him alongside Haslam as an example of pragmatic leadership.

Of course, Ramsey won't be able to go dollar for dollar with Haslam in fundraising. He cannot simply write himself a check and he cannot raise funds during the legislative session. But, then again, he doesn't really have to. Haslam will have to burn cash getting his name identification up and his name in the paper. Ramsey will not. He won’t need to raise money during the legislative session to get his name out there because his name will be out there whenever he wants it to be.

Ramsey will be the one setting the agenda in the General Assembly. On the stump, he won't have to talk about what he is going to do when he gets into executive residence, he will be able to talk about what he is doing at that moment. If Ramsey wants to talk about guns on the trail, he can bring up a gun bill. If he wants to talk about abortion, he can bring up an abortion bill.

Not only can he set the agenda of the campaign, he can set the tone. If Wamp and Haslam were to lose the primary for governor, the day after, they would just be private citizens. The day after Ramsey loses? He's still the lieutenant governor. He’s still the man a Gov. Wamp or a Gov. Haslam would need to see to get their legislative package through. He’s still the man in control of the Senate.

Win or lose, Ramsey is not a bridge either Wamp or Haslam can afford to burn. In a political dogfight, this puts his opponents at a severe disadvantage. So while Haslam's considerable wealth and the implicit backing of Sen. Lamar Alexander's political machine still make him the favorite. Ron Ramsey is not a candidate to be dismissed. This, my friends, is a true primary.

Kleinheider is's political blogger. Visit Post Politics at

Filed under: City Voices

11 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I would like to see Marsha Blackburn jump in but would hate to lose her in the Congress.Ed Bryant would be a good choice too.Ramsey don't impress me. Where has he "lead" us?

By: Anna3 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

ACK...How is this race shaping up to be anything other than a replay of the Corker...Hillary....Bryant race of 2006? Please change your "Dance Card" to read...Haslam playing the role of Corker, Wamp playing the role of Hillary, and Ramsey playing the role of Bryant for this years edition. Unfortunately for the rest of the card...Haslam has too much of a money and influence lead over the field of suitors.

By: Rocket99 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Marsha Blackburn needs to get lost in DC. She's a joke. I find it interesting that her response to Obama's speech was taped well BEFORE it happened and she knew what he would be saying.WHY would any intelligent person want HER as Governor?

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Because she has a record of fighting for the people.

By: Kosh III on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yes, if by "people" you mean folks who already have more money than morals and who don't give a crap about anything but more money and are willing to steal from everyone else to get more money. And of course she represents the war-mongering crowd.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Ya those dems are somethinbg else.

By: cmarcus45 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Ron Ramsey would be a great governer. He, as an auctioneer-turned-public servant, is more able to identify with Tennesseans than is Haslam or Wamp.

By: Anna3 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Blackburn???? She has a terrible reputation for being a prima donna with the local Nashville Republican Party..throwing her weight around and ticking off grassroots volunteers. Blackburns field rep.-Steve Allbrooks... is a very arrogant jackass with an attitude who does her no favors in the public relations department around town either. Most of her family makes a living putting the "squeeze" on people who must do government business or need Marsha's attention. I think she is at the pinnacle of her they say in Texas...Marsha's - "All hat no cattle."

By: Elmer Gantry on 2/27/10 at 7:01

YouTube: TNGA Senate Millionaire and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey Caught Lying About Mountain Top Removal in Tennessee

Don't Elect TNGA Senate Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey to Strip Mine Good Ole Rocky Top, Tennessee!

By: Elmer Gantry on 2/27/10 at 7:16

NC5 Investigates Strip Mining In Tennessee

The price of coal is skyrocketing, and that means mining companies are flocking to Tennessee.

One of the most controversial types of mining involves strip mining.

NewsChannel 5 investigative reporter Ben Hall has discovered where it's happening in Tennessee and why a wildlife area that taxpayers paid $40 million to protect is in danger.

Times are changing in Elk Valley.

David Beaty and his family live at the base of Tennessee's largest mountain top mining site.

"Every evening you can hear a blast. Sometimes you can feel it," Beaty said.

Beaty lives in Campbell County near Zeb Mountain.

"To see the mountain tore up, you go places you used to go and its completely different now," he said.

Zeb Mountain is a site where companies use explosives to blast into mountains. It's happening more and more in Tennessee.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates has identified nine current mines above 2,000 feet. Four new permits are under review. They're north of Knoxville in Campbell, Claiborne and Anderson counties.

But most surprising to some lawmakers is that coal companies are planning large-scale mountain top mining in a state wildlife area.

Taxpayers spent $40 million buying the land and the timber rights to the Sundquist Wildlife Management Area, but the state does not own the mineral rights. Coal companies are planning extensive mountain top mining in the area.

...more at hyperlink


By: Elmer Gantry on 2/27/10 at 7:29

The CityPaper should be interviewing the TNGA Senate Millionaire and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey as to why United Coal Company located the UCC World Sales Office in Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey's very own Sullivan County...

News and press releases
Metinvest Acquires United Coal Company

30 April 2009 // Press centre Metinvest Group
Metinvest Group acquires a 100% stake in United Coal Company (UCC).

Briefing note:

United Coal Company (UCC) is a privately-held coal company with operations in the Central Appalachian basin. UCC was formed in 2004 by private investors, (including James McGlothlin who was one of the founders of the original United Coal Company in the 1970s [former King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. CEO John M. Gregory of Bristol, Tennessee is another]), and grew through acquisitions of metallurgical coal producers. Since then UCC has grown to be one of the leading producers of metallurgical coal in the United States, ranking (by public company estimates) sixth among U.S. metallurgical coal producers. Production capacities of UCC’s four operating business units total approximately 7 mln. tons. UCC mines metallurgical and steam coal using both underground and surface mining techniques in the states of West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky. UCC’s proven coal reserves, as defined by U.S. Securities Exchange Commission standards, as of December 31, 2007 totaled 160 million clean metric tonnes of coal, 82% of which were metallurgical coal (coking coal and coals used for pulverized coal injection (PCI)). UCC estimates that it is one of the five largest metallurgical coal reserve holders in the Central Appalachian region of the United States.

In 2008 UCC extracted 5.1 mln. clean metric tonnes of coal (both metallurgical and steam coal), which represented 17% growth over 2007 production. UCC’s metallurgical coal production accounted for approximately 4% of total U.S. metallurgical coal production in 2008. Revenues totaled more than $500 million in 2008.

UCC’s metallurgical coal customers are primarily steel companies and merchant coke producers in the Northeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States, although nearly half of metallurgical coal volumes were exported, primarily to South America and Europe. UCC’s steam coal customers are large utilities and industrial customers in the Eastern region of the United States.

The principal shareholder of UCC is The United Company, a private holding company with diversified interests including energy holdings.

Metinvest is an international vertically integrated mining and steel group of companies. Production facilities of Metinvest enterprises allow complete satisfaction of internal consumption of raw materials, liquid steel and semi-finished products in the company’s Ukrainian holdings, and allow Metinvest to be a key supplier to European and Asian enterprises. Metinvest Group shareholders are SCM Group (75%) and Smart-Holding Group of Companies (25%).

METINVEST HOLDING, LLC is the managing Company of Metinvest Group.