RNC Chairman, Ken Mehlman visited Tennessee the day after Bushie blew into Nashville. Many speculate that the back-to-back visits suggest that Republicans are worried about Frist's senate seat.
Congressman Harold Ford is the only serious Democratic contender for Frist's senate seat. Three serious Republican contenders are slugging it out for their party's nomination.
Mehlman said that abortion rights would play an important role in the outcome of the election.
"It’s a choice between someone who believes that common-sense efforts to reduce the number of abortions and build a culture of life make sense versus someone who has a 100 percent National Abortion Rights Action League voting record, which is what Mr. Ford has," Mr. Mehlman said.
Rep. Ford’s campaign pointed out that he had a 30 percent voting record for the abortion rights group in 2003. Rep. Ford had a 100 percent NARAL voting record in 2004 and a 60 percent record in 2005. "The truth is Harold Ford votes for what’s best for Tennessee, not what his party or some lobbyist urges him to do," Ford spokeswoman Carol Andrews said.
Come election day, Democratic voters in Tennessee will do what they usually do, hold their nose and vote for the alleged Democrat. The consolation is that Harry Reid is damn good at persuading conservative Democrats, such as Ford, to behave like a Dem.
Mehlman's spokesperson said the back-to-back visits by Bushie and Mehlman were nothing more than a coincidence. Tennessee Democratic Chairman Bob Tuke said he didn't think so.
"They are pretty darned worried about losing control of the U.S. Senate," he said in a telephone interview. "It may be the opening shot of the Republicans trying to hold on to six or seven seats where we think they are vulnerable."
Carol Andrews, a spokeswoman for Ford, said, "There is no doubt that the Republican Party fears Harold Ford. She said Bush, Mehlman and other Republicans will be "beating the drums as much as possible."
According to the latest Rasmussen Reports election poll, "Ford is now viewed favorably by 46% of Tennessee voters. Corker is viewed favorably by 42%, Bryant by 47%, Hilleary by 51%. Fewer voters are "not sure" of Ford (13%) than they are of any other candidate."
Results of the survey of 500 likely voters:
Bob Corker (R) 42%
Harold Ford (D) 40%
Ed Bryant (R) 42%
Harold Ford (D) 40%
Van Hilleary (R) 43%
Harold Ford (D) 37%
Mehlman spent the day with Republicans in Chattanooga and attended a party fundraiser.
Mehlman told his fellow Republicans that Democrats are not as good as Republicans cause Democrats make the country less safe.
"No one doubts they (Democrats) love their country," Mehlman said. "The question is, can they protect the country? Do they have policies that will make us safer or less safe? I believe their policies will make us less safe."
Reportedly, Frist was "delighted" by his party's attention to the state.
Mehlman will visit Nashville in a few weeks.
Harold Ford Mehlman Tennessee Frist Election 2006 Abortion Rights