Statesmen’s Dinner Passes With Tension in Republican Ranks

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee addresses reporters alongside Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.

More than a thousand Tennessee Republicans gathered at Gaylord Opryland over the weekend for the party’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner.

Amidst the hobnobbing, keynote speaker Mike Huckabee rallied the troops to help elect Mitt Romney president. Very little time was dedicated to Tennessee-specific races, where there is still tension within the ranks with serious primary challenges statewide.

Tennessee GOP chairman Chris Devaney calls it a sign of strength though, since Republicans now control the General Assembly, Governor’s office and all but two Congressional seats.

“We have grown as a party, and if you grow, you’re going to have more primaries.”

In the 6th Congressional District, Rep. Diane Black is locked in a rematch with Lou Ann Zelenik. There’s a three-way race in Chattanooga where Rep. Chuck Fleishmann is fending off dairy executive Scotty Mayfield and the son of former Congressman Zach Wamp. And two-dozen state legislators face primary challenges.

The Statesmen’s Dinner raised $500,000 to be spent after the August 2nd primaries.

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