Candidates vying for the Republican nomination turned their attention to the ladies Wednesday.
Although not all of the candidates relayed their message in person at the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women luncheon in Nashville; one sent his wife and another a female volunteer to stump for their respective campaigns.
The speeches were aimed at more than 250 attendees, some proudly donning red sequenced hats, gathered in Nashville for the federation’s annual lobby day.
U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, a candidate who currently represents the sixth Congressional District, reveled at the Tennessee GOP’s historic opportunity to gain control of the governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature.
“It will be up to us to govern. You need a strong, dynamic governor with a vision for the future,” the congressman from Chattanooga told the group on Wednesday. “We’re not going to change this country from the top down. We’re going to change it from the bottom up. And it starts right here in Tennessee in the year 2010.”
Wamp was the only major candidate to speak at the Ladies Day on the Hill event. Fellow GOP candidate Ron Ramsey, the Senate Speaker who was reportedly busy meeting with Gov. Phil Bredesen that afternoon, sent his wife to testify for him.
“I know I’m biased, but I do believe that Ron needs to be our next governor,” said Sindy Ramsey, a federation member who is a co-partner of the family’s realty and auctioneering business. “He’s the only candidate with the experience needed to keep running the state the Tennessee way, by tightening our belts and living within our means, just like families across the state have to do every single day.”
Knoxville Mayor and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam also missed the event. Campaign volunteer and longtime federation member Barbara Outhier, spoke for him instead.
She relayed a message from Haslam that thanked the federation for its “tireless efforts to ensure that Tennessee continues to be the state of equal opportunity, limited and more effective government and preservation of what we call sacred, leadership and encouraging principles centered on our values and faith.”
She added that his dedication to his faith make him the top choice for governor.
Joe Kirkpatrick, a relatively unsung, underfunded but nevertheless energetic GOP candidate for governor, also spoke at the luncheon. With few appearances at gubernatorial forums, he took the opportunity to outline positions of his campaign and catalog the Republican women in his life.
“The constitution matters. It is time to transcend the era of political correctness for one of constitutional correctness,” said Kirkpatrick.
The candidates are each vying for the Republican nomination at the Aug. 5 primary in hopes of facing off against lone Democratic candidate Mike McWherter to become the next governor.