Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike McWherter seemed to tip his hand unknowingly Thursday by revealing an event is planned for him at the home of Gov. Phil Bredesen and first lady Andrea Conte.
After McWherter’s campaign sent a release Thursday about a “special announcement” from Bredesen and McWherter on June 23 at Swett’s Restaurant in Nashville, McWherter was asked to comment on his plans with the governor.
Bredesen said last week he planned to raise funds for McWherter as well as make a formal endorsement at some point. There was no mention of any fund-raiser in the announcement Thursday from the McWherter campaign.
When asked about the upcoming event, McWherter said, “I hope it will be extremely successful, and I’m very appreciative that the governor and his wife would open their personal home to have an event for me there.
“I’ve never known Governor Bredesen and his wife to open their home for a political campaign, but obviously they’re doing it in my case, and I’m very appreciative of their support and help.”
When informed that there had been no public announcement about an event at the governor’s home, and that that sounded like news, McWherter said, “The event at Swett’s is news to me. I didn’t realize I was having one there.”
While there are times when political fund-raisers are advertised for full effect, fund-raising activity is normally not talked about in public ways. Campaigns rely heavily on fund-raising events but don’t generally put a public face on raising money in a private setting.
“Invitations are out. It’s not a secret,” McWherter said.
Bredesen last week said he liked the Democratic candidate and that he had respect for McWherter’s father, former Gov. Ned McWherter, who Bredesen said had been helpful to him over the years.
Bredesen is scheduled to return home Saturday from a foreign trade trip to Germany and Spain.
The announcement from the McWherter campaign about Wednesday’s event at Swett’s said it will begin at 10:15 a.m. The restaurant is at 2725 Clifton Ave.
McWherter, meanwhile, drew attention Thursday from the Tennessee Republican Party, which issued a release saying the more McWherter speaks the more he “demonstrates how out of touch he is with voters in the Volunteer State.”
The release from the party cited quotations by McWherter, including Internet links to their sources. The party labeled McWherter in the release as “pro-abortion,” “hands-off on immigration,” “won’t fight Obamacare” and “advocated a budget containing job-killing small business tax hikes.”
When asked Thursday after a forum for the Tennessee Education Association in Franklin if he wanted to respond to the GOP release, McWherter said, “I haven’t read all those comments and I probably should not comment until I have a chance to read those.”
McWherter has wrapped up the Democratic nomination to be governor by being the only Democrat remaining in the race. The primary is Aug. 5. The general election is Nov. 2.