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Just off Lamar Alexander Parkway at the VFW lodge in Lamar Alexander's home town of Maryville tonight, Democrats from all over East Tennessee came out to meet two Democratic primary candidates seeking the nomination to run for U.S. Senate against Alexander in November.

Knoxville attorneys Terry Adams and Gordon Ball spoke to a gathering of about 75 attendees at the Blount Co. Democratic Party chili supper. Master of ceremonies and BCDP chair Tony Webb introduced the candidates and Tennessee Democratic Party chair Roy Herron.

There were Democratic Party leaders from all over East Tennessee, including Blount County, Knox County, Loudon County, Monroe County and Roane County. Gloria Johnson was there, along with State Senate candidate Cheri Siler and other notables including Sylvia Woods.

Terry Adams spoke first. He talked about coming from a poor family, joining the Navy, working his way through college and law school with the help of the GI Bill, Pell Grants and student loans, and then starting a small business and a law firm.

Adams said Lamar Alexander has been in Washington too long and it's time for him to come back home and to send a new generation to fix all the things that are broken about Congress. He talked about the debt run up by Republicans and the shoddy treatment of veterans by Congress. He said he would work hard, and if Ted Cruz gets up and talks for 21 hours about shutting down the government he would get up and talk for 22 hours about keeping it open, adding "and I won't be reading Green Eggs and Ham."

Gordon Ball spoke next. He, too, mentioned his upbringing, saying that his father was a moonshiner in Cocke Co. and that when he was born his father was at the time "a guest of the federal government."

Ball also said that Alexander had been in office long enough, and that he supports term limits. He said that he always wanted to be a lawyer, noting that during his career he had prosecuted murder cases and defended murderers. He said he has always worked for the people, and had never represented an insurance company. He spoke out against the upcoming ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution to outlaw abortion. He also spoke out against the Supreme Court Citizen's United ruling, saying that if he's a Senator it will be a "litmus test" for any Supreme Court nominee coming up for a confirmation vote.

TNDP Chair Roy Herron wrapped up the festivities urging Democrats to get busy electing Democrats. He noted that Tennessee Democrats had lost the U.S. Senate, a majority of the Congressional delegation, and a majority in the state legislature. That was in the 1970s. All was lost, everyone said. Then Democrats got busy and elected Democratic Congressmen and Senators including Jim Sasser, took back the state legislature, got Ned Ray McWherter elected to the state House and later Governor, and helped elect Al Gore to Congress, Senate, Vice President and President.

He said Tennessee Democrats can do it again, noting that Georgia may elect Jimmy Carter's grandson, North Carolina will reelect Kay Hagan, Virginia has elected Democrats for governor and U.S. Senate, and Alison Grimes is about to kick Mitch McConnell's butt in Kentucky.

The main takeaway was that Tennessee Democrats have fielded two serious, qualified and credible candidates for U.S. Senate this time around in Terry Adams and Gordon Ball. No matter what the final outcome is, a spirited primary and a credible Democrat on the November ballot will push back against the Tea Party crazy in Tennessee and help get out the progressive message, and the Democratic vote.

UPDATE: Raw smartphone videos of remarks by Terry Adams and Gordon Ball:

R. Neal's picture

Updated with videos, see

Updated with videos, see above...

Average Guy's picture

Too late for Adams to change

Too late for Adams to change his mind and make a gubernatorial run?

Joe328's picture

John Duncan Sr is turning in

John Duncan Sr is turning in his grave. He headed up the committee to charter the Alcoa VFW Post. I was once a regular there before retiring and it was not wise to mention being a Democrat. Haslam and Lamar has turned TN veterans against republicans. I once read that %70 of veterans vote.

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