What Happened?

How did Shelby County Republicans lose so badly on Thursday?

That’s a post mortem that will be going on for a while. It should be thoroughly examined. The August 2 election is one that we should have won easily in several of the offices..

Saturday on his radio broadcast Ben Ferguson was excoriating the Shelby GOP leadership. Charlotte Bergman was being interviewed by him and he laid into her about the loss.

He said over and over that “we got our asses kicked” on Thursday. She defended herself and the party but he was really, really angry that we lost so terribly. I think she finally hung up on him. He told her that her defense was that of a politician protecting her own bid for election and not that of her constituents The same went for other Republicans running for office here in Memphis. It was something to hear.

He also attacked Shelby GOP chair Lee Mills on Twitter, saying he had “Been too busy jockeying for Ron Lollars seat appointment since July 6th when he passed away to worry about Election Day. Just a theory.” And, “Apparently he is wanting to be appointed to state rep Ron Lollar seat and his WIFE would be able to vote him in. Conflict of interest!!!!!”

According to @benfergusonshow “Neither his show nor @600WREC ever heard from Shelby County GOP leaders or even Lenoir campaign. That’s crazy. Always take Free publicity.”

In this morning’s Trunkline from the Shelby GOP, Mills answered his critics. He said,

Politics is a finicky thing. One day you are on top. The next day you are at the bottom. The results from last Thursday are disappointing to say the least. Words are hard to come by and the emotions I felt on Friday are hard to explain.

Over the past eight years, under Republican leadership, Shelby County has paid down record amounts of debt, rightsized government agencies, found new innovative ways to fix old problems and made government work better for everyone. The results are right there for everyone to see.

Many folks have theories as to why we lost. At the end of the day, the Democrats had more votes. Whose fault is it? I refuse to point fingers and speculate as to why many Republicans chose not to vote. What I can say is that we did everything we could do with the resources we had.

Could we have done more? Maybe. Could we have done things differently and more effectively? Apparently. Could we have changed the outcome? Doubtful. The truth is this; we made thousands of calls, block-walked with the help of RNC staffers, mailed ballots that contacted hundreds of thousands of voters, purchased new media, billboards and used a substantial amount of county party resources to drive voters out.

We appreciate everyone who voted. We appreciate the candidates who stepped up to run for office. It’s a hard thing to do and that needs to be recognized publicly.

Now we start to work toward the November State and Federal Election. We will rally and work hard to make sure that our State and Federal Candidates are elected. Bill Lee, Marsha Blackburn and our local slate need our help!

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite passages:

“Somewhere in the world there is a defeat for everyone. Some are destroyed by defeat, and some made small and mean by victory. Greatness lives in one who triumphs equally over defeat and victory.” – John Steinbeck, The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights

That’s at least a better attempt than the pathetic column John Ryder wrote in Sunday’s Commercial Appeal. It was headlined, “The agony (and opportunity) of election defeat.” The former Republican National Committeeman was playing nice – too nice – when he wrote, “First the loser must endorse the winner…In politics there are no participation trophies..Losing is an opportunity to reassess…There is no shame in losing. There is shame in not learning from your loss. And there is shame in turning your back on our democratic process.”

Frankly, that sounded like awarding a participation trophy. If it was supposed to make people feel better, it may have, but it didn’t do anything substantive.

We also need to check into why the votes were so late to be released by the Election Commission. Any time there is a lag in votes and the Democrats end up winning, well, it looks suspicious to me. I haven’t really seen an explanation for it.

Tomorrow at the Midtown Republican Club meeting the topic is “discussion and deciphering of the recent election.” I do not know who will be on hand to discuss and decipher, but it will be interesting to hear the explanations.

It’s going to be tough to recover from this loss. I, for one, would like to see concrete plans on how we win again. Do we get new candidates? (Some of Aug. 2 people were rather shopworn.) Do we work on digital outreach? Have a 20 year plan? Work towards getting more young people?

Something drastic needs to be done.

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