When Tennessee's 10th state Senatorial District was gerrymandered to capture southern Hamilton County and most of Bradley County, except for the City of Cleveland, it was apparent that it would be all but impossible for a Democrat to win the seat. Incumbent Democratic State Sen. Andy Berke didn't even bother to fight to re-election, instead wisely choosing to bail out of the race in favor of a bid for Chattanooga mayor.
It was reasonable to assume that whichever candidate emerged from the sleazy bloodbath of a Republican primary between Todd Gardenhire and Greg Vital would go on to become the state senator for the newly carved district.
Gardenhire edged Vital by only 40 votes and is now, in spite of dogged campaigning by Democratic candidate and Chattanooga City Councilmember Andraé McGary, in line for the seat.
In previous editorials, the Free Press has expressed trepidation about Gardenhire's lack of commitment to the principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, despite his years of involvement in the Republican Party. While many of those concerns remain, it is our hope that Gardenhire's political decision making will be informed by his Reaganesque beliefs about individual responsibility and reducing the power of government.
Gardenhire can become a valuable voice in the state senate for the issues he cares about most, such as technical and vocational education, trimming regulations on businesses and working to restrain spending in order to lower taxes.
The Free Press endorses Todd Gardenhire to represent the people of the 10th State Senate District in Nashville.