Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tyson Withdraws...

I liked the guy, and I hope he sticks around.

Today, Tyson Pratcher, a Democrat in Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District announced his withdrawal from the race and called on the voices of change to unite behind one candidate.

Statement by Tyson Pratcher follows:

Over six months ago, I left my job at Senator Hillary Clinton's office to return home, for the opportunity to serve the community that made my life possible. I decided to run for this office, because I believed that I was the candidate in this race with the best qualifications to get things done for this great community in Washington.

Over the first few months of my campaign I had the great opportunity to engage people across the great city of Memphis. The one common thread in all of my conversations has been that the voters of this district, regardless of race, religion or age are yearning for a new generation to step forward and assume the mantle of leadership. Their confidence in our government had eroded because of empty promises, racial divisiveness, repeated lapses of ethical judgments and failed policies. The people of Memphis called out for a new generation of leadership that was prepared to restore their hope and confidence in government.

I was not the only new voice in this city who heeded the call of the voters. This race has seen the emergence of no less than 10 new young people running to represent the 9th Congressional District. While the fervor of our collective desires to see this city prosper speaks to how much we all care about the future of this community, the large field has turned into a double-edged sword. My internal polling shows that the vast majority of Memphians want a new generation of leadership. The problem, however, is that there are now so many new voices in the race, we are splitting the vote for change and jeopardizing the realization of such change.

While we have spent our time fighting amongst each other, the old guard has sat on the sidelines, ready to use the strategies of the past to win an election without having a plan for the future. Many political insiders are even suggesting that we will once again see them attempt to divide us based on race to win this election

The immediate question is how to approach their strategy of divide and conquer. Will we stand in the proverbial “circular firing squad” and allow our own personal ambition to make the city miss a pivotal opportunity to go forward? Or will we unite and offer this city one real reform candidate who will articulate a message about the future?

While I believe I am the best voice for change, I cannot and will not allow my personal ambition to threaten our city’s ability to move forward. We must use our energy, not to fight against each other, but to fight to help turn the tide of violence, poverty and school drop-out rates.

To that end, I am withdrawing my candidacy in an effort to ensure that the new generation of leaders is able to bring about the change the people of Memphis want and deserve. I encourage others in the race who shares a common vision for the future to join me in a meaningful discussion in the coming weeks about which candidate is in the best position to end the politics of the past, and unite behind that candidate and work with me to help get that man or woman elected. Together we can work to prevent the perpetuation of failed policies, old grudges and racial divisions that have served to keep this city from the greatness that its people deserve.

My love for this community and drive to help make it better will never fade and I look forward to the opportunity to continue to speak out for change.

Contact Information:

JB Rabinowitz jrab009@mycingular.blackberry.net

Tyson Pratcher for Congress

454 North Willett

Memphis, TN 38112

T: 917-407-3144



Anonymous said...

Sorry for this being anonymous; I'm actually a staffer for Lee Harris. I enjoy your blog daily, and was just looking to confirm that Tyson did indeed drop out of the race. If so, I think it is wise on his part; on the other hand, I think it is quite sad that this race features SO MANY truly inspiring, wonderfully committed young individuals who would all be terrific public servants. Without reservation, I stand by Lee, but let me put my two cents in to say that I hope everyone heads Tyson's advice: let's ensure that whoever wins this race does so because they are the best candidate, and not because political infighting or demographic divisions allowed a lesser party (whomever that might be) to win. The people of Memphis deserve the best. At least for me, I find that there are many worthy newcomers that just might be it.

Wolfman Jack said...

I kinda liked the dude ok I don't know if he would have been my first choice but he came in as an outsider an not a part of the good ole boy network and thats what we need new voices and new choices. The last I heard Pratcher got car jacked on Shelby Dr. at 2 in the morning I haven't seen him since! Hey with this many murders going on who would want to represent this place?

Anonymous said...

With all due respect . . .
Surely, you are not suggesting Harris should be the consensus candidate. Look, I don't have a dog in this fight, but let's be real. You need money, name recogonition and political crediblity-- while Mr. Harris seems like a very talented and bright guy he does not have any of the first two and very little of the last. I wish him well and, like you, hope he and many others heed the call to get out of the way of a candidate who might be able to take on the establishment -I think there are only about three that have all the necessary ingredients - I don't have an opinion of which it should be, but I agree some soul searching decisions must be made by the others.

Anonymous said...

Tyson could have won this if Cohen would have not entered. Nevertheless,I am quite sure that his withdrawal letter will not inspire others to withdraw,particularly that cocky ass Stanton who is perhaps the most excited about Pratcher's withdrawal. We all know that Cohen is going to win,who do you think will come in 2nd place now that the Clinton's guy is out of the race?

A Woman's View said...

Anon wrote that you need money, name recognition, and political credibility..... I think that mentality needs to change. Candidates with the most name id, the most money, and the most credibility owe people and when elected will have to repay those favors at the expense of the average voters.

Candidates like Pratcher, Harris, Whitman and Mitchell might not have political experience or name ID, but I think that's their appeal. They are all self made men and have had success in their lives and are trying to make Memphis a better place. This pressure to get people to drop out of the race is disturbing. If Cohen were not in this race....would people be worried about a consensus candidate? I am not a Cohen supporter, and I have been clear about that, but I am anti-Cohen because he has been in the state senate for longer than some of the candidates for 9th district have been alive.

Having said that if the vote splinters and the majority of Memphians are unhappy with Cohen if he indeed wins, then in two years they can vote him out.

There are two very surprising things at play here. First is Pratcher. Why drop out? Pratcher raised a lot of money and obviously should have been able to raise a lot more. Although his statement was probably true on some level, it is unlikely that he woke up today and said I should drop out. Why was his press release constantly using "new genereation"? Whose slogan is "new generation of leadership"? Jrs. Who benefits from Pratcher dropping out and who could offer Pratcher something that would be worth him dropping out?

I don't think that Pratcher dropped out because he suddenly realized that he couldn't win, and I don't think that Pratcher believes that Cohen shouldn't represent this district because he is white. Thus, the only think that makes sense is that Pratcher reaped something from withdrawing.

The other surprising thing in this race is Tinker. I am no fan of Tinker either, but the woman has raised a lot of money and yet I have yet to see Tinker billboards again, and I have yet to see commercials. Tinker still has limited name ID and with early voting right around the corner. It is shocking that she hasn't used her money to dominate the media markets.

Pratcher's liability in my mind was the fact that, like Joe Ford, he moved to Memphis to run for the seat. Therefore, I wasn't a fan of Pratcher, but I was proud his accomplishments, and I was happy that voters had so many talented people to chose from.

I personally like the fact that Whitman hasn't raised a lot of money but knocked on my door and spoke to me. While Whitman and I diverge on some issues, I respect that, and I respect him for being principled. I think someone like Whitman, Harris, or Mitchell are exactly what Memphis needs. I think those candidates who don't have the name ID, but who are actually out and about knocking on doors and talking to people are what democracy is all about.

I don't care that the CEO of FedEx hasn't donated to them. I don't care that VP of Pinnacle hasn't donated them. I certainly don't care that they don't have name Id and I don't care that they have never held office before. I think it is positive.

I want a candidate that will work for me. I want a candidate that believes that wages are too low and the cost of childcare is too high. I think Pratcher would have honestly fought for the people of the ninth district, and although I wouldn't have voted for him, his departure saddens me.

Unforutnately, I think that Joe Ford Jr. has a very good chance of winning this race. Stanton intially had an impressive mix of support among varying groups but I think his aggressive attacks toward Cohen will alienate some of his cross over appeal. I think Stanton was initially appealing because he came accross as a very nice guy but I think that image is eroding and he will lose votes.

Joe Ford, Jr's father is well respected. Many people like him and I think that the Ford name still has a great deal of weight in this community. With so many people on the ballot, I think that Joe has a good chance of winning this race. While I don't think that Joew, will be another JR. It is depressing that he if he won it would be largely based on his last name and nothing more.

autoegocrat said...

Well said, Woman's View. I'll have you know that I see Nikki Tinker signs everywhere, and I have never seen one yet that didn't have a picture of her face on it.

KMI said...

A woman's view good commentary, but I disagree about Pratcher. I have volunteered for him throughout this campaign, and can attest to the fact that the reason he is out, is the reason stated. Nobody gave him anything.,because quite frankly there is nothing for them to give him. His last job was with Hillary Clinton, so I can't imagine that he'd now want to work for a politician in Memphis. It certainly couldn't be money because the guy left a law firm where partners make on average $2 million/year, to do public service. I certainly don't think that anyone in Memphis can offer him anything like that. From the begining of the process he has told people that he would get out before he'd split the vote and allow the same old politicians to win again. And he did that. No spin. No deals. The guy is genuine. He loves this place and wants to see change, and is willing to move out of the way to see it happen. What is so sad about it all, is the fact that in this city, we are so conditioned to have crooks as politicians, that we assume that there was some deal cut for him to get out. It shows how bad things are in terms of leadership. The real question is what will he do now. Will he stay here and work, or will he go back to Hillary while she runs for President. If I were him, I'd go back to Hillary, but I think he will stay.

Anonymous said...

I met Lee Harris. He never looked me in the eye. Maybe it was campaign fatigue. He said nothing I found useful. As for "let's ensure that whoever wins this race does so because they are the best candidate"... well, that WOULD be Steve Cohen, not Jr. and not any other newcomer. Why? Steve has worked diligently for his constituents throughout his state career, despite criticism and ridicule. He will continue to do so in Washington, and we need better representation there than what we have recieved lately. On the subject of a candidate pulling out for greater reward... hell yes they would, in a heartbeat. Jr. has some mojo workin' and any one who wants some glory and fame would be a fool not to join him. As soon as he comes clean as a Repug, watch who goes with him. Money talks, always.

Anonymous said...

I met Lee Harris. He never looked me in the eye. Maybe it was campaign fatigue. He said nothing I found useful. As for "let's ensure that whoever wins this race does so because they are the best candidate"... well, that WOULD be Steve Cohen, not Jr. and not any other newcomer. Why? Steve has worked diligently for his constituents throughout his state career, despite criticism and ridicule. He will continue to do so in Washington, and we need better representation there than what we have recieved lately. On the subject of a candidate pulling out for greater reward... hell yes they would, in a heartbeat. Jr. has some mojo workin' and any one who wants some glory and fame would be a fool not to join him. As soon as he comes clean as a Repug, watch who goes with him. Money talks, always.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the double post. Trigger happy.

Serrabee said...

Wow, what style guide did his writers use? AP, MLA, with a little APA thrown in for goo luck?? I couldn't even finish it.

Anonymous said...

I guess I am confused as to why Tyson dropped out. After reading his statement, everything that he said was true when he filed. There hasn't been any shockers in this race. Tyson raised almost 90k and showed up for debates. His organization was lacking but I think he could have caught up. I fail to understand why he would drop out. He wanted to run for a reason. Everything that he wrote in his statement was true when he decided to run and he still ran. Thus, it is hard for me to believe that there is not more to this than meets the eye.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that Pratcher's supporters will go to a candidate like Stanton who has shown that he isn't very progressive and has tarnished his nice guy image by attacking Cohen.

Anonymous said...

If he left his job 6 months ago (that would be Jan/Feb) then it would not be true that there were all these candidates. At that point only Tinker, Stanton, White and Redwing where in the race. Kyles, Ford, Bolton, Towns, Cohen and Mitchell all came much later. In fact, during the debates in January there were only 5 canididates...now there are 15. The circumstances have changed. I think that he realized, that Cohen or Bolton will win, and the last thing he wants to see is one of those guys win.

Anonymous said...

I think this helps Stanton and Cohen. It helps Cohen because those progressives white voters who weren't with him, where with Tyson. Now he can solidify those folks. It helps Stanton, because now he can be the "smart young black guy" candidate, and not have to deal with trying to compete with Tyson. Also, it helps Cohen because Tyson was the only candidate who challenged him in terms of understanding of the national issues and the ability to get the crowd to respond. I only saw them at the U of M debate, but they were the two who seemed to know the most, and where able to get the crowd worked up. Steve will now be way out front on those atrributes. It will all be interesting. Ed was riding the nice guy label, but folks seem to be changing their mind about that.

A Woman's View said...

At the first debate at the union hall, before Pratcher had officially filed Tinker, Stanton, Harris, Kyles, White, Redwing, and Whitman were there. Everyone expected Cohen to get in the race. You can argue that perhaps Joe Ford Jr., Mitchell, and Bolton were surprises but Bolton had discussed getting in the race as well.

Pratcher is a smart guy. There are many things about Pratcher that I am unclear about. However, I don't doubt his intellect or his political savy. Pratcher knew and was smart enough to anticipate the landscape before getting in this race.

Pratcher could have been blinded by "ego" and could have perhaps thought that he would make a "splash" and ride a tidal wave to victory. I just doubt that as well.

In short, I maintain that there have not been any material changes or surprises. Thus, Tyson's decision to quit really baffles me.

If he truly believed that he was the best candidate, then I think he should have stayed and fought. He should have continued interacting with voters and used his war chest to get his message out to voters. Memphis is not being helped by having quality candidates withdraw and many people liked Pratcher and had a favorable impression of him.

Anonymous said...

I too am perplexed by Mr. Pratcher's decision to withdraw from the race.

I guess that I can see the logic of his decision, but nonetheless, would have preferred to see him stick it out. Stranger things have been known to happen (see: Howard Dean pre- and post-primal scream)

Let's assume that Cohen's base, based on his track record and name recognition in the district (FWIW), is solid, and he has 30% of the vote. That would leave 70% to be divided between a slew of candidates. Seems like a very tough proposition. I think some of the other egomaniacs should have dropped out a long time ago - some of those people who have raised no $ after being in the race for 9 mos. or those who have blown their whole load and have nothing to show for it.

Assuming that Pratcher stays in town...should he run for another office? If so, what?

Anonymous said...

That propositon seems more than tough. It seems impossible. Cohen gets his 30% base and the race is over. There is no way that in a crowd of 13 other candidates, one of them will catch him. They would have to get half of the remaining vote. Aint going to happen, especially with so many names on the ballot that people vote for based just on last name. The new guys have no chance.

Anonymous said...

I think you all a bunch of hypocritcal idiots. It's ok for Cohen and you - his supporters to ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK all other candidates - without much foundation AT ALL - but they are not allowed to fight back.

Politics isn't for sissies.

Anonymous said...

I assume you all know that David Upton --- your sworn nemesis---- has been feverishly pushing Cohen -- to the point of using his old dirty tricks - (fabricating, arm twisting, backstabbing - the whole arsenal)--- so that he can then get himself appointed to the District 30 Senate seat.

Please tell me this is NOT your intention.

Anonymous said...

Is that last post true?

Good, Lord.

David Holt said...

I don't know about Upton being my "sworn nemesis." I'm sure he'd be amused by that suggestion. I don't always agree with him, and often don't like his tactics, but I can and do work with him sometimes and don't have anything against the guy. I'm not aware of him having a very central role in Steve's campaign at all, but I have heard a lot of rumours of him wanting to run for the state senate seat. It's a free country and he can run for what he wants. I don't know who I'll support in that race, because it isn't even on the horizon yet. That doesn't really have any bearing on on my vote in the state senate race. That seat will go to a liberal Democrat no matter what.

David Holt said...

As to the hypocrites comment, Steve's not really doing much of an attack campaign. I can only speak as to this supporter, but I haven't said much negative about any of his opponents, many of whom I have a lot of respect for. As to them being able to "defend themselves" they are fully allowed to say what they will. For a recent example, those "push polls" people have been talking about aren't unbelievably awful compared to a lot that happens in Memphis politics. However, those things turn some people off and Steve's supporters are equally within their rights to get up in arms and try to make an attack help them. That is especially true since Stanton had a lot of good-will because he was seen as the "nice-guy" candidate. I liked him in part for that reason, but if the "nice-guy" goes negative, he's bound to lose some of the friendly shine.

Anonymous said...

Upton has always been so far up Cohen’s but they call him the colon king

Anonymous said...

I thought this was an interesting article.

It goes into more detail about the push polling that Stanton was doing.


Freedonian said...

Am I the only one that finds it amusing that someone that lacks the testicular fortitude to disclose even so much as a pseudonymous identity has the temerity to say "politics isn't for sissies"? Talk about a "hytpocritical idiot".

Grow a pair, would you?

By the way, I just wanted to commend you on your fine work. You're doing a magnificent job as an ambassador for the race-baiting Stanton campaign. You make the campaign look SO much better. Really. Uh huh. Keep up the fine work so we can watch his numbers drop even further.

As far as attacking other candidates--- Where has Steve Cohen done that?

Desi Franklin said...


Thanks for pointing out one of my pet peeves on local blogs. I'm not sure how anyone can tell one anonymous from another. Why are people afraid to say what they think openly? There is certainly no dearth of strong opinions by the posters on local blogs - just a dearth of accountability, I guess. What's up with that???

Having been a supporter of Tyson's from the beginning, I know that he did not withdraw as a result of "getting anything" from anyone. He looked at the numbers after Steve Cohen and several other late filers came to the party in April and made an informed judgment, like the smart guy he is. Like several other young local progressives I have come to know and respect, he has a refreshing approach that encourages me about the future of Memphis politics. I, too, hope he will stay in Memphis because we could use a lot more leaders like him: smart, informed, engaging, hard working, committed to positive change for Memphis. We will be hearing more from Tyson in the future, I have no doubt.

Anonymous said...


I am NOT a Stanton supporter-- Stanton is the only one ATTACKED - when Cohen calls the whole field of black candidates racist or all black voters who prefer to be represented by a black congressman racist.

Anonymous said...

Correction - is "not" the only one attacked.

Freedonian said...

Anonymous (If that really is your name), even with your correction, that has to be the most muddled, feeble attempt at logic that anyone has ever tried to inflict on America as a whole. You should offer an apology to all who tried to read it.

Go ahead. I can wait.

Finished now? Good.

I am NOT a Stanton supporter-- Stanton is the only one ATTACKED - when Cohen calls the whole field of black candidates racist or all black voters who prefer to be represented by a black congressman racist.

First of all, Stanton is "not" the only one attacked (But not by Cohen, who has yet to go on the attck with anyone). That's absolutely true. Ron Redwing is running on the "stand behind me or whitey wins" platform too.

Frankly, you should be pretty annoyed with both of them. Their race-baiting strategies are a slap in the face to black voters. How little respect do they really have for their own people when the best they can seem to muster is "Make sure a white guy/ Jew doesn't win"?

I'm white. If some white candidate asks me to vote for him just to keep a seat out of black hands, I'm going to verbally kick him in the nuts every chance I get. Physically, if the opportunity presents itself.

So I find it simply astounding that you lack the gravitas to object to "vote for me because I'm black". Have you decided that skin color is a qualifier? Are you entirely sure you're not a Republican?

Now, as far as Cohen attacking people, I will ask you a second time to provide the proof. Come on. I want to see it. I realize that it's always dicey when you ask someone too cowardly to identify themselves to do something daring like, you know, back up what they say, but I find that it's always worth a shot.

If not, then I expect your end of this conversation to be as over as Stanton's "nice guy" act.

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