Diary of a Congressional Candidate – Obion County Edition

Last night was the second big candidate forum of the campaign for TN Congressional district 8.  We had thirteen candidates in attendance and 235 people present to hear from us.  There was a straw poll.  Several of the big candidates brought a posse, including staff.

There are a few notable things to tell you.  First, I suspected there would be a question about Trump.  I drew the final answer on that one.  I watched as every candidate before me embraced him.  George Howell, expressed some reservation.  When it came my turn, I just told the audience exactly what I think.  I said that as a person who has spent my life in conservative and pro-life causes, I am incredibly disheartened by his nomination.  In addition, I characterized him as a crony capitalist.  However, I added, I view him as a wild card in comparison with Hillary and that I may end up voting for him in the general election.  Whether that stance alienated people I can’t say, but I suspect I gained ground in terms of voters who feel the same way.

Another question had to do with our likelihood of selling out the district when we go to Washington.  I pointed out that I am a Christian conservative who chose to go into higher education.  Such a move, I said, is either a sign of madness or of the utmost sincerity.  I think it is the latter.  I also noted that I have publicly promised not to become a lobbyist when I’m done.  Instead, I have pledged that I will return to Union University as a professor if they will have me.

We had the opportunity to make closing statements.  I used mine to talk about Nietzsche’s claim that every time a new sanctuary is built, the old one must be shattered.  There is a movement to build a new sanctuary, a secular progressive one, and an effort to destroy the old one, which is Christianity.  I reflected on Christ considering the coin and how he told us to render unto Caesar what is Caesar, but also to God what is God’s.  The soul is for God.  The soul is for God.  I said it twice to get across the reality that Caesar (the government) is overreaching.  It is not entitled to our souls and our consciences.

After we finished, several people came up to me to express their agreement and to thank me for some of the things I’d said.  The straw poll results came in.  Greer (the hometown candidate) won, Kelsey came in second, and Flinn came in third.  All three brought substantial posses with them.  I had just a handful with me.  Despite that, I came in fourth by one vote.  I was one vote behind a candidate with millions of dollars.  And I was ahead of two of the major suburban Memphis candidates.

What this tells me is that the message resonates.  If I can speak with the voters, I can share that message.  The website and facebook pages are the next best thing.  If I sound like your kind of candidate, please help me spread the word.

(I didn’t spend any money on this post, but Paid for by Hunter Baker for Congress.)