Golden, who is serving his second term as head of the state party, also said it was “a really good time to be a Republican in Tennessee.” He predicted the GOP would build on the historic gains it made in 2018 during the next statewide election cycle.
He told members of the East Tennessee Republican Club, which met at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City, the GOP has “laid the groundwork for success” with the election of Marsha Blackburn to the U.S. Senate last year, and is set to elect another Republican to succeed retiring U.S. Sen Lamar Alexander in 2020. He noted the “marquee race” next year will be President Donald Trump’s re-election bid.
“No other candidate is more intertwined with the Republican Party than Trump,” Golden said.
He told local Republicans it is “important to say I’m not afraid to wear a MAGA hat.”
Golden said the state party’s slogan in 2020 will be: “Why it matters.” He said it is also a “critical time to be a Republican,” given what he called the extreme policy positions “the modern Democrat Party is up to.”
The state GOP chairman said the 2018 elections were “ absolutely fantastic” for Tennessee Republicans. He said Blackburn turned back what was anticipated to be a stiff challenge from Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen, who carried all 95 counties in Tennessee when he won his last re-election campaign for governor. Golden said Bredesen managed to win just three counties in losing to Blackburn — who is the first woman elected to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate — in November.
He said that election followed an even more eventful election for county offices.
“We elected more Republicans in August 2018 than on any other other day in state history,” Golden said. “That included nine new county mayors and six new Republican sheriffs.”
Golden said Gov. Bil Lee is also doing a “fantastic job,” and noted the new Republican governor “is an absolute joy to work with.”
Former Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, introduced Golden to members of the East Tennessee Republican Club, which is billed as the “largest Republican club” in the state. Ramsey said Golden has been instrumental in maintaining the GOP’s supermajority in the state General Assembly.
“There’s not a harder job in Tennessee,” Ramsey said. “I’d rather be lieutenant governor than serve as chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.”
The GOP club also heard from Dr. Turney Williams, who was re-elected chairman of the Washington County Republican Party on Saturday. Williams said more than 300 Republicans attended the party’s reorganizational meeting in Jonesborough.