Senate candidate to speak to county Democrats

Robert Houk • Aug 11, 2019 at 12:00 AM

U.S. Senate candidate James Mackler will be the keynote speaker at the Washington County Democratic Party’s first State of Franklin Dinner on Aug. 24.

State Reps. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, and London Lamar, D-Memphis, are also scheduled to speak at the event, which will begin at 6 p.m. at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City. Kate Craig, the chairwoman of Washington County party, will also make remarks at the inaugural dinner.

Mackler is the only Democrat who has announced a bid for the Tennessee seat in the U.S. Senate that will be vacated by Lamar Alexander. The veteran Republican officeholder is not seeking re-election next year.

Mackler is a Nashville attorney and former Army helicopter pilot. He dropped out of the 2018 U.S. Senate race to replace the retiring Republican incumbent, Bob Corker, when former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen decided to run.

Bredesen lost that contest to Republican U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn in November.

A Democrat has not represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate since Jim Sasser was defeated in 1994. Mackler says on his official campaign website that he is running to take on President Donald Trump and his policies on trade, health care and tax reform.

Craig said Washington County Democrats hope the State of Franklin Dinner will become the party’s signature annual event. 

She said Democrats will also host a VIP Wine and Cheese Hour at the hotel before the dinner at 5 p.m. A brunch will be held at The Carnegie on Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. That event features Democratic candidates Larry Smith and Chris Roe, who are seeking the nomination for the 1st District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Nancy Fischman Leadership Award will also be presented during the dinner program. Craig said the award is given to a county Democrat who has been determined by party officials to be “an outstanding leader,” and someone “who has brought progressive change to Washington County.” 

The award went to Jennifer Gardner, a member of the Washington County party’s executive committee, in 2018.

Tickets to the State of Franklin Dinner can purchased by going to the party’s website at wctndp.com/dinner.

Johnson City Press Videos