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Tennesseans need calm talk, smart words in governor’s race

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam emerged as the victor last week in a five-man race for the Republican nomination for governor that really came down to Haslam, U.S. Rep. Zack Wamp and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.
Haslam pulled away from Ramsey and Wamp because he found a middle ground – something Ramsey and Wamp couldn’t do as they continued to play to a far-right base.
Wamp, in particular, raised – for a second time – a secessionist tone late in the race. It’s doubtful the majority of Tennesseans believe that separating ourselves from the United States of America is the right move. And, certainly, we don’t need that kind of talk from a man who might be governor.
Haslam will face Democrat Mike McWherter – son of the immensely popular former Gov. Ned Ray McWherter – in November.
Immediately following Thursday’s election, the Republican Governors Association called McWherter “an Obama ally who embraces growing governmental interference into the everyday lives of law-abiding citizens.”
That Republican strategy may not work. Wamp and Ramsey, after all, played the national card too much – and they lost.
Both Haslam and McWherter need to tell us what they’re going to do here in Tennessee. President Obama isn’t on the ballot, and voters need candidates to tell us what they’re going to do in Nashville – and leave Washington politics out of the equation.