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VOL. 131 | NO. 176 | Friday, September 2, 2016

Local Republicans Open Campaign HQ With Emphasis on Trump, Kustoff

By Bill Dries

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Republican Congressional contender David Kustoff couldn’t resist as several dozen people gathered for the opening of the local Republican Party’s campaign headquarters Wednesday, Aug. 31, in East Memphis.

The Shelby County Republican Party has opened its local campaign headquarters for the November elections in East Memphis, with much of the emphasis on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and 8th Congressional District nominee David Kustoff.

(Daily News/Bill Dries)

“By the way, this is the only political party that exists in Shelby County,” Kustoff quipped.

The remark is a reference to the recent disbanding of the Shelby County Democratic Party by Tennessee Democratic Party leaders.

Despite the action and several years of turmoil among local Democrats, the elimination of the local Democratic executive committee doesn’t change the roles of Democratic and Republican partisans in a presidential general election.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is expected to carry the county because of the Democratic majority of voters in Memphis, while Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is expected to take the state’s 11 electoral votes and carry the Republican suburbs in Shelby County outside of Memphis.

Local Democrats plan to open a similar headquarters soon, with Clinton campaign funding and funding from the Democratic National Committee already coming to local Democratic operatives outside of the executive committee.

Local GOP chairman Lee Mills said while Trump and Kustoff are the most prominently featured candidates at the headquarters on Kirby Parkway near Poplar Avenue, the local party also is working to elect Republican nominees in the races for the Tennessee Legislature.

West Tennessee Trump campaign chair and Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland said the local effort will include phone banking starting next week with volunteers from Memphis calling voters in battleground states.

Local politicos – Democrat and Republican – have been a part of similar out-of-state phone-banking efforts in past presidential campaigns.

“This thing is coming together good,” Roland said before referring to Clinton. “When you’re running against Lucifer itself – a lot of times people … would tell me – take me aside and say, ‘Be quiet. They will hang themselves.’ That’s what we want to do here.”

Roland also said the Trump campaign plans to open campaign offices in Millington, Arlington and Fayette County.

Like the other contenders in the August congressional primary, Kustoff declared his support of Trump several times.

Kustoff said Wednesday that Trump’s campaign has brought new voters into the Republican ranks.

“The challenge that we’ve got is to make sure that we keep them after November so that we work hard for the 2018 elections,” he said, referring to county government elections in 2018.

Kustoff faces Democratic nominee Rickey Hobson in the Nov. 8 general election in the heavily Republican 8th Congressional District. The district covers 15 counties in West Tennessee, including parts of East Memphis and Shelby County outside of Memphis.

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher announced in February he would not seek re-election to the seat.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 19 170
BUILDING PERMITS 0 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 20 118 736
BUSINESS LICENSES 27 53 329
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0