Former Memphian Wins State Dem Chair; Cohen Outs Boebert 

In American popular music history, there is a long-established tradition whereby individuals with talent begin their rise to prominence in Memphis, a "roots" city in every sense, and extend their careers in Nashville, site of a monolithic music and broadcast industry. Among those who have made this journey are such titans as Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash, and lesser-known but influential studio and club mainstays like Cowboy Jack Clement and Paul Craft.

For somewhat obvious reasons, this kind of odyssey also occurs in politics, where Nashville's prominence as the state capital is the attraction. One Hendrell Remus, ex-Memphian, could turn out to be a case in point.

click to enlarge Hendrell Remus - TENNESSEE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
  • Tennessee Democratic Party
  • Hendrell Remus

Remus' name may ring a bill for Memphians who are close students of local politics. A former security professional here and, for the last year or two, at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Remus opposed incumbent state Representative Joe Towns in the Democratic primary for District 84 in 2012, and two years later ran in a multi-candidate field for the Shelby County Commission seat won that year by Eddie Jones, now the commission chairman.

In both races, Remus finished far behind the winner.

As a resident of Nashville, the earnest young man has had better success, having just won, as of last weekend, the chairmanship of the state Democratic Party in a field of 10 candidates. Remus, who also becomes the state party's first Black chairman, has been vice chair of the Tennessee Young Democrats.

Among the factors contributing to his success with the 68 voting members of the party's executive committee on Saturday were Remus' sterling performances both in published questionnaires arranged for candidates by consultant Christy Pruitt Hayes and in a candidate forum held by The Tennessee Holler, a digital media company that closely follows Democratic Party issues.

Also telling in Remus' favor was the enthusiastic support given him by Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, who personally lobbied for Remus with several Shelby County and West Tennessee members of the state committee, a majority of whom sided with the ex-Memphian.

The election, held via the electronic platform Maestro, was a two-ballot affair, with 35 votes required for the winner. On the first ballot, Remus trailed former party official and Democratic National Committee member Wade Munday, also of Nashville, by 24 votes to 30. On the second ballot, aided by endorsements from two other candidates who dropped out of the running, Remus finished ahead of Munday, 36 votes to 32. Elected party vice chairs for West Tennessee were David Cambron and Jasmine Boyd.

• Steve, meet Lauren. One of the national Democratic Party's leading progressive lights is 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen, who last week connected — sort of — with a new U.S. House member of dramatically opposite leanings.

In a news item featured prominently by CNN and other media, Cohen named Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) as one of the House members rumored to have conducted a "reconnaissance" tour of the U.S. Capitol for a group in the day or two before the Capitol was besieged by a violent mob.

Cohen said he could not address either Boebert's motives nor those of the group she guided through the building, but he had a specific memory of seeing the tour in progress "sometime after the 3rd and before the 6th." Boebert, who was elected in November, has been publicly identified with QAnon, the extremist group known for its fanatical support of outgoing President Donald Trump and for encouraging conspiracy theories at the expense of Democrats and liberals.

Boebert has denied leading any insurrectionists through the Capitol, but she has made a point of what she says is her right to pack a pistol in the Capitol complex, and attracted attention last week by refusing to abide by a new rule requiring members to pass through a metal detector on their way to the floor.

Several Democratic members of Congress have, in the wake of the January 6th riots, expressed concern that they may become targets of violence by extremists among their Republican counterparts.

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