published Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

David Cook: Bob Corker versus the Write-In Mom

Sen. Bob Corker is running for re-election. He’s the former mayor of Chattanooga and currently the 17th-richest person in Congress, with a personal worth just shy of $20 million, according to Roll Call.

He has raised more than $13 million for his campaign. Most recently, he held a $10,000-a-plate fundraising dinner at his home (for $5,000, donors got to have their picture taken with first lady nominee Ann Romney).

This election season, he’s got two opponents.

• Mark Clayton, the accidental Democratic nominee, whose anti-gay politics led the state Democratic Party to disavow his campaign. (He’s like Voldemort. The one who shall not be named.)

• Angelia Stinnett, a middle-class mom who sometimes cuts coupons to pay for her son’s trumpet lessons and has a campaign warchest that might buy her enough gas to get to Washington.

“About $100,” she said.

And that’s how she wants it.

“I’m not asking people for money,” she said. “I’m asking people to get involved.”

Stinnett, 42, is waging a write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate. After deciding that neither Clayton nor Corker — she has nicknamed them “hate and greed” — don’t represent normal, middle-class, working-class folks, Stinnett decided to enter the race. She speaks at any event she can, has a growing Facebook following and represents an interesting demographic: a powerful and outspoken Southern woman.

“Dogged,” she said about herself. “A honey badger.”

A recent Gallup poll found that 10 percent of Americans are happy with the current Congress.

“They get away with too much,” she said. “No one is representing the people, the families.”

It is a strikingly different experience, speaking to Stinnett rather than other people running for office. She is, well, normal. Somebody you’d see at the grocery store line or Sunday afternoon matinee. She drives a minivan. And she is angry about the mess we’re in and is fighting to stop it.

Her platform is based on the promotion and defense of the middle class. End the war. Incentives for corporations to keep jobs in-country. Make health care affordable. Green jobs, infrastructure and innovation.

“The middle class is the backbone of our country, not the blood bank,” she said.

We met Monday over sweet tea and grapefruit juice at a downtown coffee house. She brought a baby with her. A 4-month-old in a pink-and-green onesie (didn’t think I knew that word, did you?) with a pacifier and bottle of formula nearby. She’s got “relative” custody of the baby girl and is trying to legally adopt.

It was deeply symbolic of her campaign. Running for office, with an infant.

Stinnett said she grew up in Blount County poverty — a trailer park — and, after serving in the Tennessee Air National Guard, she graduated from the University of Tennessee-Martin with a degree in political science and communications. Moving here with her husband — he works at Volkswagen — and elementary-school-aged son, she increased her political activism.

The chances of her winning against Corker are slim. She’s not focused on winning so much as empowering citizens. Stinnett believes our greatest strength is knowledge and has formed a Truth Campaign: Groups of 50 or so informed citizens from each county who serve as watchdogs over their politicians’ voting habits.

“How does a middle-class mother take on Bob Corker?” she said. “One person at a time, one event at a time.”

Tuesday’s online-only column is based around sharing a meal or drinks with someone in Southeast Tennessee or North Georgia. Contact David Cook at dcook@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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Goatesians said...

Go Angela!

September 18, 2012 at 1:51 p.m.
conservative said...

This is so blatant and absurd! Mr. Cook's goal is not to unseat Sen. Corker as he admits Ms. Stinnett's chances are "slim." His goal is not to elect the Demioncrat nominee, for he dismisses him with a "Mark Clayton, the accidental Democratic nominee," remark. No, Mr. Cook's goal is to aid Ms. Stinnett and to rescue Mr. Cook's party from further embarrassment over their nominee.

Notice the immediate class warfare strategy in referencing Sen Corker's richness as opposed to the middle-class mom who has about $100 dollars and "cuts coupons to pay for her son’s trumpet lessons." Later he meets with her and a 4 month old baby whom she hopes to adopt. What a family values mom!

Mr. Cook describes Ms. Stinnett as "normal" but neglects to tell us that she supports the homosexual/sodomite/sexual pervert agenda. She also has been active in the OWS movement. She is a Socialist/Liberal/Demoncrat and antichristian.

September 18, 2012 at 2:42 p.m.
Easy123 said...

More conjecture from Conservative. It never ends with you idiots.

September 18, 2012 at 2:46 p.m.
adluna said...

I'd say Angelia Stinnett is far above "normal". Her willingness to put herself in the race while taking care of her family including a newborn baby is... well... extraordinary! Thank you David Cook for writing about her race and thank you Angelia for fighting the good fight. A few more like you and we'd have a great start in digging our country out of the hole the last few congresses have put us into.

September 18, 2012 at 10:54 p.m.
Leaf said...

Conservative said: "Mr. Cook describes Ms. Stinnett as "normal" but neglects to tell us that she supports the homosexual/sodomite/sexual pervert agenda."

Now that's just funny. So, do you have to be a homosexual to join that group, or is it OK to just be a sodomite and sexual pervert? Do they hold regular meetings? I'll bet their super-secret evil agenda is to promote the government-sponsored sodomization of Conservative.

September 19, 2012 at 3:14 p.m.
astinnett12 said...

@Conservative:

I swear on a stack of PTA coupon books, I loved your response! However, my agenda is simple and that's to rebuild the middle class and establish a government "for the working class, by the working class". I do not think we need to expand programs, but to make them more cost-efficient. I would support bills that foster innovation for creating jobs in green energy, technology, education, and infrastructure.

I love your spunk!

September 19, 2012 at 8:41 p.m.
Truemoderate said...

I have known Angelia Stinnett for several years, and have always found her to be articulate and well-informed. I admire her willingness to do more than just complain. She actually got involved, which is more than the majority of us are willing to do. She actually backs her convictions with action. As for whether she backs the gay or liberal agenda, it is irrelevant. What matters is if she actually represents the middle class as she promised. And conservative, what is OWS, pray tell?

September 19, 2012 at 8:54 p.m.
gritsgirl said...

@Truemoderate... OWS stands for Occupy Wall Street...

And @conservative if you have a problem with homosexuals then don't sleep with someone of the same sex... really it's that simple. Oh and may I suggest you should see a Gastroenterologist so that they can extract that cross that's in your anus.

September 19, 2012 at 9:38 p.m.
astinnett12 said...

OWS is Occupy Wall Street, which I was initially intrigued with, but when they released their list of "demands" and proved to be a movement unachievable, I was out. The Occupy Chattanooga peeps deleted and blocked me for raising so much Hell about Chattanooga Organized for Action taking it over. I believe in legislative action as the only activism that really makes a difference.

If the OWS movement really wanted to make a difference, they would have organized to support the Dodd-Frank Act, which set regulations on financial institutions.

Corker attempted to undo Dodd-Frank, said the consumer protection portion protected consumers too much.

September 19, 2012 at 9:45 p.m.
Truemoderate said...

@gritsgirl: thanks! Should have known! LOL. @conservative: time for a more complete response. Even if ms. Stinnett supports gay rights, that means she supports equal rights for all Americans. No problem there. She supports a liberal agenda? That means she believes in helping those among us who need it. Again, no problem. She's a non-Christian? That's her right under the first amendment. In fact, most of our founders were not Christians, and we did OK.

September 19, 2012 at 10:04 p.m.
keithlandrum said...

I am happy to support Angelia!

September 20, 2012 at 10:01 a.m.

Another thing she wont follow through with... If you made an article on everything Angelia Stinnett quit, your column would have been longer.

September 20, 2012 at 9:29 p.m.
astinnett12 said...

Somethings are worth staying with, some are not. I feel it not wise to stay with projects that have an obvious demise.

Also, some of my paid and unpaid projects were intended to be temporary, such as my work with Tennessee Conservation Voters, as an activist to have the Scenic Visit Act passed in the TN General Assembly, to band mountaintop mining. And some have been longer, such as my membership in the GCDWC, JFK Club, the UU, Sierra Club, Chattanooga Chic: Survival Guide for the Middle Class (blog), and the City of Chattanooga Parks and Rec's Park Stewards.

As someone who has lived in Chattanooga for only two years, I find this criticism a grasp at straws.

My latest project is the Truth Campaign, it's on Facebook, for your log of my projects.

Thank you for the opportunity to explain.

September 21, 2012 at 8 a.m.
adonis said...

Not to play devils advocate, but how do you view people of faith. I mean if someone is a devout Baptist, Christian, or any religious affluence asks you what you believe in what is your response to that one person. You fight for middle class ethics, but most Americans believe in some type of religion and putting faith in not only what is seen, but also unseen.

October 18, 2012 at 11:06 a.m.
curshgirl said...

Adonis. You said it best. And the reason you got no response is because Stinnett is an atheist that has spoken out against any type of religion. But I would say she kept it cool because of her write-in. She's a first class narcissist that doesn't really give a damn about anyone else. Her agenda is to feed her conceited mind. She works hard to try and create a cover for herself. But all she really is is a troublemaker. She would hurt anyone that gets in her way. And that makes her no better than a rotten politician. She was trouble the day she was born. Ask anyone who used to be her friend.

July 13, 2013 at 3:08 a.m.
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