Got this email today from 14th District Tennessee House candidate Karen Carson, who wanted to clarify her position on Common Core, after today’s story. Her words:
I’m disturbed that you report that I” support components of common core”–I certainly do not! I made it clear last night that in the past I supported common core for higher standards. That support helped spur the development process of TENNESSEE Standards and that that is what I support.
This may sound nuanced to you but it is a critical component of this election cycle.
Specifically, she said she appreciated the part that allowed Tennessee students to really see how they stacked up against the nation in terms of education (for 3rd graders, in particular) – which then allowed the state to make its own decisions on how to improve schooling. And, as it turns out, it worked.
This isn’t the first time that there has been a clarification of this sort in this short election cycle. Not long ago we reported that her opponent, Jason Zachary, is ready to discuss the gas tax. He took that to mean he supports the gas tax – which he does not, which we clarified. He is, however, interested in having an infrastructure discussion insofar as it involves spending some surplus money on roads. Carson, in rebuttal during Wednesday’s debate, noted that there are a lot of interests who want to have a piece of the state’s $500 million tax collection surplus – again, more nuance from her.
These candidates are indeed folks who use nuance to communicate and are very particular about their words. We reporter types just try to get the information out without obfuscation, and simply. Sometimes it’s just better to let candidates speak for themselves, but it’s important also to provide the appropriate context.
I talked with former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe yesterday, who said he couldn’t name a winner from the debate, but noted that Carson is more wont to use nuance in describing her position, while Zachary is taking a few more hardline stances. Ashe and I agreed that may be the difference between an experienced office holder (Carson), who would likely know that positions can shift from an election to issues faced in office, in comparison to Zachary, who has extensive experience in running for office – he had that congressional campaign and carried Farragut, after all.
In general, people bend words to support their reality – and politicians especially so. And, generally speaking, Carson and Zachary align on most issues, except for Insure Tennessee.
ICYMI, here’s a video from last night’s meeting:
This race will have a low turnout, to be sure. There were three views on the Youtube video today, supporting that point. There were more than a dozen officeholders in attendance at the debate last night, and most of the gathered had some kind of stake in either candidate.
Despite our coverage, the interest is casual in West Knox to name a replacement for the final year of Ryan Haynes vacated term. As Ashe surmised, it may come down who knows either candidate and will show up. While Zachary carried Farragut against John Duncan Jr. in the congressional race, Carson has been elected to local office – the school board – several times. Elections are a form of a popularity contest at all levels, but this may just come down to who knows more people – and if they show up to vote.
This is a primary, really, but no Democratic candidate has stepped up for the general election, so the winner of this GOP primary will end up unopposed for the upcoming election.
It’s worth noting, as well, that Democrats can vote in primaries in Tennessee – so this race isn’t just among Republicans, for Republicans, by Republicans. It just so happens to be in a really GOP-heavy section of the county. But Democrats, you too can have a voice in this election.
Today is the final day of early voting. The election is Wednesday. Vote early, vote often.