Jackson Day crowd (800) urged to turn ‘outrage’ over Trump into 2018 TN Democratic wins

A crowd estimated at 800 turned out for the Tennessee Democratic Party’s annual Jackson Day dinner Friday night and heard speeches that included criticism of President Donald Trump and optimism about the improved prospects for the party in the 2018 elections, reports The Tennessean.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was keynote speaker with others the group including former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who has announced as a candidate for governor, and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, who had expressed interest in running for governor as well.

Klobuchar, who briefly addressed the latest news surrounding Trump (involving Russia and firing the FBI director), said last year’s election provided some lessons to Democrats.

“We left a lot of country behind,” she said.

…Noting that there have been protests throughout the country over a variety of issues, Klobuchar said, “We need to turn this outrage that we feel … into legislative races in Tennessee, your congressional races in Tennessee, to win elections.”

…(Dean and Fitzhugh, in their speeches took) markedly different approaches.

Dean, who asked for support from those in the audience while reasserting his candidacy, spoke about his accomplishments while mayor.

“What we need to do in Tennessee is concentrate on public education — that’s the number one issue we have to invest in,” he said. Dean also said the state also needs to see economic development beyond the big cities that are experiencing prosperous times.

Fitzhugh, who introduced himself as the leader of the House Democrats, relied less on his own accomplishments while praising his fellow House members and party colleagues.

“If you give us 10 more members in the House and the Senate, give us a Democratic governor and we will improve this state like nobody’s business,” Fitzhugh said, during his eight-minute speech. 

Among the more receptive moments of Fitzhugh’s speech was when he mentioned that Trump, who he said made his name by firing people on television, might be looking in the mirror soon and saying the same thing to himself.

After noting that he thinks the country frequently calls upon Democrats to correct mistakes made when Republicans maintain power, Fitzhugh said, “I think in 2018 we should do it on the state level.”

Fitzhugh, who made no mention of his interest in running for governor, said it was time a Democrat controlled the executive branch in Tennessee.

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