Crossover Democrat voters told to join Republican Party

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County is considered Tennessee’s bluest county, yet Republicans pulled off some big election wins Thursday.

Six of the seven major county offices were won by the GOP, so WREG asked the head of the Shelby County Democratic Party what they plan to do next.

Bryan Carson is drawing a line in the sand. He’s got a message for those who call themselves Democrats and voted for Republican candidates running for Shelby County offices.

“I wish those Democrats would go ahead and just sign up and be Republicans. Go ahead and join the party because we don’t need you. You don’t support us,” said Carson.

Carson says he’s hurt by the outcome of this election. About 20 percent of the Democrats who voted cast ballots for Republicans running for county office.

“The Republicans would never do that to us. They would never do that for us,” said Carson.

He says the Democrats’ next move is to amp up its get out the vote campaign and bring in those registered voters who aren’t voting regularly.

Carson said, “We need to let them know about the issues. Get out on the ground. Engage with them and bring them out to the polls.”

Not everyone thinks this is a good plan. Just ask WREG Commentator Otis Sanford.

“That’s a terrible way of thinking,” said Sanford.

Sanford says writing off crossover voters is a bad sign for the party.

“They crossed over because of some flawed candidates on the Democratic side,” said Sanford.

Sanford said Democrats counted on TV Judge Joe Brown and County Commissioner Henri Brooks to energize supporters, and that backfired. He says what’s needed is more inclusiveness.

“I don’t see any evidence they are really open to Hispanic voters and I haven’t seen any reaching out to White Democratic leadership to be apart of the decision making,” said Sanford.

If changes aren’t made, Democrats could be looking at a three-peat.

“They got shellacked. That’s the kindest way you can put it,” said Sanford.

Another reason this is not a good sign for Shelby Democrats is there are more registered Democrats in the county than Republicans and more of them voted in early voting. The problem for Democrats is they were voting for Republican candidates.

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