Saturday, September 30, 2006
In the fight for the retiring Bill Frist's Tennessee Senate seat, it's starting to appear as if Harold Ford Jr. may soon be heading to Washington, giving Democrats one more key battleground state in their quest to pick up six seats and regain control. Republican challenger Bob Corker now trails Ford Jr. by three points in the polls after being ahead by seven points. And now, according to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), Corker's replaced his campaign manager and hired a Hollywood flack (after spending much time on the campaign trail bashing Hollywood).
"When a campaign changes its top leadership with 39 days to go until Election Day, it means one thing: Trouble," said DSCC spokesman Phil Singer. "What Corker doesn't realize is that the problem is him, not his campaign staff."
So now they're rolling out the big guns. Frist's Tennessee Senate colleague Lamar Alexander is donating the services of his Chief of Staff, Tom Ingram, who'll take over from Ben Mitchell as Corker's new campaign manager. According to the DSCC, Ingram's a close friend of Alexander and has worked on his campaigns since the mid-1970s.
Corker also just brought on Hollywood media consultant Fred Davis, of Hollywood-based Strategic Perception Inc. Davis's previous clients include Californiaia Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bush. In his official bio, he highlights an article that dubbed him "Hollywood Fred."
But Corker has spent much time criticizing Ford for his growing Hollywood support, nicknaming his challenger" Fancy Ford."
"The only other person who receives more money from Hollywood than my opponent is the guy who actually represented Hollywood," Coker complained recently to a Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter.
With Tennessee being such a critical state in the battle for Senate control, Republicans have been deeply concerned with the Corker campaign's poor showing. Two weeks ago, Corker and the Tennessee GOP chair Robert Gleason were criticized by the RNC and others key Repubs for running a lackluster campaign. Former RNC member John Ryder noted that "people are concerned" and added that Ford's strong campaign has "caught the Corker people a little off guard."