Former Congressman Ed Bryant, who fought tooth and nail against Bob Corker for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination earlier this year, has now cut an endorsement ad for the former Chattanooga mayor.
In what could be seen as the understatement of the 2006 election cycle, Bryant states: "Bob Corker and I had a bit of a spirited primary for the United States Senate. But you know, there wasn't a day I didn't respect Bob."
While ads featuring a former party rival are to be expected and tend not to be newsworthy, the bitterness of the most "spirited" Republican primary in over a decade has some scratching their heads over the endorsement.
As expected, the campaign of Harold Ford Jr. has promptly reminded the press that during the primary, the Bryant campaign sent out missives stating that Corker was "a neutered Republican" who was "the king of lies" and a "bald-faced liar" who will "say anything to get elected." Yes, those were actual statements sent to Tennessee reporters by the Bryant camp during the primary.
So why would the Corker camp air an ad that even the most neophyte of political watchers could see might invite criticism? The answer: to shore up the conservative GOP base.
Corker never has been the darling of Tennessee's pro-life crowd, a cohort that was firmly behind Bryant in the primary. Noticably absent among Corker's endorsements is that of Tennessee Right to Life, the state's largest and most active pro-life organization.
Yes, the National Right to Life has endorsed Corker, but not its people on the ground.
Prominent conservative Nashville blogger and Ed Bryant primary supporter Bill Hobbs agreed, saying that the ad "obviously was targeted to Bryant supporters."
He went on to state, "Harold Ford called all three of the Republican candidates the 'three stooges' during the primary, yet he turned around and called two of them 'good men' in one of his ads. Contested primaries often provide fodder by the other side. I am not offended by Bryant cutting the ad for Corker. Moderates and conservatives have to come together to win the election."
Early voting for the November 7 General Election started today in Davidson County.