NASHVILLE — The way Basil Marceaux Sr., of Soddy-Daisy, figures it, Tennessee Republican gubernatorial primary voters simply weren’t his kind of crowd.
So that’s why the Internet sensation, who as a candidate came in fifth place during the Aug. 5 GOP primary, is going for a broader audience. He said he is mounting a full-fledged write-in effort as an independent in the Nov. 2 general election contest for governor.
“I’m the very first Republican in a republic, and Republicans in a democracy didn’t treat me very well,” said the 57-year-old Marceaux, whose garbled and occasionally swaying one-minute presentation of his unconventional views were aired by a Nashville television station this summer.
The appearance made its way to YouTube, and Marceaux’s presentation quickly went viral in July as he discussed his desire to recall all gun permits and registration and require everyone to carry guns.
“If you kill someone, no, you get murdered,” he said on the video.
Other elements of the Marceaux platform included banning most police traffic stops, which he believes are illegal, and banning the use of “gold-fringe flags.” He says the United States ceased being a republic when “democracy invaded the U.S. State on July 16, 1866.”
Marceaux said he thinks Democrats are more open to considering one of his most cherished views — banning most traffic stops.
“People who care about traffic stops are poor people ... Democrats,” he said.
In the days leading up to the Aug. 5 primary, MSNBC, “The Colbert Report,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” Politico and other national entertainment or news media jumped on the Marceaux Internet phenomenon.
But the hoopla did not translate into votes. He got only 3,514 or slightly less than one-half a percent of the 725,408 ballots cast in the GOP primary. He also lost his bid in the 3rd Congressional District’s GOP primary.
Republican Bill Haslam won the GOP governor’s primary with 343,817 votes. He faces Democrat Mike McWherter in November.
McWherter spokesman Shelby White had no comment, but Haslam spokesman David Smith said they “appreciate Mr. Marceaux’s dedication.”
“Bill Haslam will continue talking about his ideas to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs across the state no matter who is in the race,” Smith said.
Marceaux is avoiding predictions about a victory.
“Who knows? But doing something for good is always better than doing nothing,” he said. “Doing nothing is like doing something for bad.”
Contact Andy Sher at email@example.com or 615-255-0550.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...