Van Turner Wins Second Term
In nothing short of an overwhelming show of support, the Shelby County Democratic Party (SCDP) has re-elected chairman Van Turner to a second two-year term of office. Amidst rumors that an opposition candidate such as the recently elected County Commissioner Justin Ford would run against the well respected chair, Mr. Turner aggressively campaign for support. This campaigning not only deterred any likely opposition, it strengthened his base and was the catalyst for changing the face of the Party’s Executive Committee.
The number of SCDP Executive Committee members is based on the voting history of Democrats in Shelby County. Due to purging of Democratic voters by Republicans and a lackluster turnout of voters during the 2010 Tennessee Governors’ race the allowable number of SCDP Executive Committee members dropped from 83 to 38. Many long time members of the Party lost their seats.
For the past two years the SCDP has struggled due to an entrenched opposition group that neither supported Mr. Turner nor were willing to work to move the Party forward. They rejected countless attempts by the chair to find common ground. Most, if not all, of these individuals lost their seats.
This smaller more homogeneous Executive Committee now has the opportunity to make sweeping changes to the Party. Chairman Turner needs to take advantage of this brief period to address such concerns as funding for the Party, ineffective committees and the Party’s ability to vet qualified Democratic candidates for future races.
Though many in the Party are celebrating the oustering of some opposition members they would be wise to remember the words of Lyndon Johnson, "Better to have them inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.” The next two years will be very interesting.