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VOL. 131 | NO. 155 | Thursday, August 4, 2016

Huckabee, Santorum Offer Different Definitions of ‘Outsider’

By Bill Dries

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The two Republican presidential contenders who carried Shelby County and took the state in the 2008 and 2012 Tennessee primaries came to Memphis this campaign season to talk about “the outsider.”

One-time Republican presidential contenders Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee offered different definitions of a political outsider as they campaigned in the Memphis area for different contenders in the 8th Congressional District GOP primary.

(Daily News/Bill Dries)

It is the concept of a candidate for office who is not part of the establishment. And by self-definition that is all six of the major candidates in the field of 13 on the Aug. 4 ballot in the Republican primary for the 8th Congressional District.

Each touts his distance from the establishment – even the Republican Party establishment – in television ads that have dominated the local campaign season.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who carried Shelby County and took the state in the 2008 Tennessee Republican Presidential primary, was in Memphis a week ahead of election day to campaign for David Kustoff.

Huckabee had already done television ads for the former U.S. attorney and former chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum carried Shelby County and took the state in the 2012 Tennessee Republican Presidential primary. He was in Jackson, Tenn., Rossville and Collierville two days before election day to campaign for state Sen. Brian Kelsey.

One-time Republican presidential contenders Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee offered different definitions of a political outsider as they campaigned in the Memphis area for different contenders in the 8th Congressional District GOP primary.

(Daily News/Bill Dries)

Huckabee offered a basic, concise definition of “the outsider.”

“I think the true outsider is the person who is not a wholly owned subsidiary of all of the institutions of power – whether it’s the media, the financial institutions or the political institutions.”

Santorum offered a portrait of an outsider heavily influenced by what is happening in the presidential race – namely the rise of Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee and the “anger and frustration” that fueled his rise.

“I saw how people didn’t want anybody with any experience, with any connection at all to anything in government,” Santorum said. “We wanted a complete outsider. Now we have that.”

But the definition of an outsider in congressional primaries like the 8th is different to Santorum because of Trump.

And that’s where Santorum expresses support for Trump, but also says Trump is something of an unknown beyond being an outsider.

“On a lot of other stuff, it’s a little dicey,” he told Kelsey supporters in Rossville Tuesday. “I’m hopeful. I know he’s going to be better than Clinton. But we can’t do that in a congressional race.”

Huckabee, too, expressed his support for Trump along with Kustoff. But he repeatedly used the phrase “no matter who wins,” referring to the presidential race, to put some political distance between it and the congressional race.

“He took on corruption – that’s never popular,” Huckabee said of Kustoff. “He took it on wherever it was in the institutions at the highest level of power. He chased it. He challenged it and he sent people to prison who were not playing by the rules. That’s the outsider.”

In a similar vein, Santorum noted that Kelsey, as a state legislator, has gone against other Republicans, particularly on the Medicaid hybrid expansion proposed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

“He has stood up against his own party sometimes, which is what everybody wants,” Santorum said. “That’s what everybody tells me.”

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 52 151
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751
BANKRUPTCIES 37 157 618
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 77 276
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0