Last night a record crowd turned out for the Shelby GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Often held in February, this year it was in August at the Holiday Inn across from U of M.
The big attraction was Governor Bill Lee. I am told 640 tickets were sold – the most ever.
It’s surprising in a year that is not a presidential election, nor one where our local races in the Oct. 3 election have very few Republicans running.
Whatever the reason, there is obviously Republican enthusiasm in Shelby County.
A parade of elected dignitaries began the program. Elected officials and candidates streamed by, even some Democrats such as Mayor Strickland. Former Governor Winfield Dunn was honored, but not in attendance. Also honored and in attendance was former Governor Don Sundquist. Brian Kelsey took the podium to announce Sundquist as the recipient of the Lewis Donelson award.
After thanking him, Sundquist recalled the days when “Big Shelby” helped him get elected and hoped that we could once again be a more Republican area.
Sundquist decried the ugly turn divisiveness has taken our country. “It’s terribly sad what’s happening in our day,” he said. “It’s not our people, it’s the other side. They don’t even stand for the flag.”
Sundquist urged, “let’s re-elect Trump. And let’s do it with huge margins.”
Shelby GOP chair Chris Tutor took the stage to introduce Congressman David Kustoff. Tutor recounted how he had recently been on a plane to Washington D.C. and ran into Kustoff. Tudor asked when Kustoff would be returning to Shelby County.
“Tonight” was his answer Tutor said. “He wanted to come back and see the flood damage that had occurred.”
Kustoff then ascended the podium to introduce Gov. Lee, but not without a few interesting remarks.
“I’m honored to work with and serve with President Trump,” Kustoff said. He lauded the “strongest economy in a long time” and the “unemployment at less than 4% the best in 50 years.” Kustoff said he was most proud of voting for the tax cut. “It added $2,000 to every Tennessean and helped businesses.”
Having visited the border at El Paso, Kustoff described what he saw when he flew in a helicopter to watch the activity. “I saw that many of the people wanted to be apprehended because life here is better than their own country. I want to be sure we build the wall and give border patrol every tool and resource to do the job.”
He went on to say he read the 400 plus Mueller report. As a lawyer he saw that there “was nothing to it. The first part concerned allegations of collusion – there were none – and part two that there was no obstruction. We spent $25 million on it; there were 40 FBI agents assigned to it; 500 witnesses interviewed and 2800 subpoenas issued.
“(Adam) Schiff and (Jerry) Nadler won’t have those resources,” Kustoff said of the House chairmen seeking impeachment of Trump. “People don’t want impeachment. We won’t get anything done if we do that. It’s a giant time suck.
“When we return to D.C. on September 9, we will only have 21 days in the Congressional calendar to meet. Every Republican wants to vote on the USMCA (Mexico Canada trade deal), but Democrats don’t want to because it will be a win for Trump. It will be a win for America.
“(Speaker) Nancy Pelosi shows that her party can’t even do a good job of walking and chewing gum at the same time.
“The atmosphere in DC is tough, but the atmosphere in Nashville is a lot different,” Kustoff said and introduced Governor Lee.
Tomorrow: What Governor Lee said about Memphis and the future.