It turns out that the Memphis neighborhood known as “New Chicago” isn’t the only way in which the Bluff City resembles the Windy City: at least one man who died August 6th voted on September 15th in a special election that, by sheer happenstance, replaced disgraced former State Sen. John Ford with his sister Ophelia. Ms. Ford won the hotly contested race by 13 votes; the dead man’s participation raises the number of illegally-cast ballots discovered to 5 thus far.
A day late and a dollar short, I find out that John Ford resigned from the Tennessee Senate in the wake of the Tennessee Waltz arrests. Good riddance, although I think there’s a fair shot he’ll be back—even if it’s after a trip to the Big House. (þ: Wizbang)
While I was off in North Carolina, apparently five current or former Tennessee legislators, including John Ford, were indicted for alleged involvement in influence-peddling after a two-year sting operation by Tennessee and federal authorities. I can’t say I’m particularly surprised that the long arm of the law has caught up with Ford, although I am surprised it wasn’t due to his TennCare or child care shenanigans.
I haven’t really been on the case, but Mike Hollihan has, so just start at the top and keep scrolling.
As requested in comments here, I’ve produced a map of Tennessee county growth rates; here it is in Adobe PDF format. (Once I had the code written for Mississippi it was trivial to produce one for Tennessee.)
I’m still working on a southeastern U.S. map, but it’s made much more complicated because I can’t figure out a way to toss out the Virginia independent cities, which aren’t in the map data in the
maps package, from the census data in R. I may just edit the raw data file before reading it in.
The Hill reports that Harold Ford, Jr. will be running for the Democratic nomination in the open-seat race for Bill Frist’s seat in the Senate in November 2006. While the article suggests that Ford’s rather controversial family may be a handicap, he’s generally stayed out of the shadow of uncle John Ford’s sleaze and his father’s alleged corruption.
James Joyner suggests that Tennessee has a “rather deep” bench of potential Republican opponents, but social conservatives like Van Hilleary, who make up most of the House delegation, haven’t fared all that well in statewide races; in recent years, successful Republican candidates have been in the moderate wing of the party, like Frist, Lamar Alexander, Don Sundquist, and Fred Thompson, and it doesn’t look like there are many of those on offer. Despite Tennessee’s generally conservative outlook, it’s a state that’s willing to elect moderate Democratic politicians like Phil Bredesen and (in his pre-veep life) Al Gore in statewide races by fairly comfortable margins, so it seems to me that Ford has a pretty good shot, particularly if the inept Hilleary gets the GOP’s nod.
By the way, Mike Hollihan has gotten a sneak peak at the campaign poster: