NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nashville congressman Jim Cooper’s statement Wednesday that Hillary Clinton “can” and “will win Tennessee” in November’s presidential election was called “laughable” by the chair of the state’s Republican Party.
Rep. Cooper told the Tennessee delegation at the Democratic National Convention that, “Bill Clinton carried Tennessee twice. Why can’t we carry it for his wife? We can do that. We must do that, we will do that.”
The comment drew cheers from those at a joint breakfast between delegates from Tennessee and Minnesota at hotel outside Philadelphia, but Tennessee Republican Party chair Ryan Haynes told News 2, “It’s hard to take those comments seriously.”
Tennessee supported Republican nominee Mitt Romney by almost 21 points over President Obama in 2012 and has been overwhelmingly in the GOP Electoral College column since Clinton’s narrow state victories in 1992 and 1996, including George Bush winning Al Gore’s home state in 2000.
“We feel so confident the state is going to go Republican, we have not even done a poll,” added the TNGOP chair.
During his breakfast comments Wednesday, Rep. Cooper said polls show Mrs. Clinton “10 points behind” Donald Trump in Tennessee.
A Vanderbilt University poll in May showed Clinton trailing Trump statewide by a 44-35 percent margin.
While there are indications that the Democratic nominee may be coming to Nashville for a fundraiser with former mayoral candidate Bill Freeman, Haynes said, “I can’t imagine that [the Trump campaign] he will do a whole lot in Tennessee. It’s just not necessary. They recognize the Democratic Party in Tennessee is dead.”
Cooper is one of two Democrats among Tennessee’s nine member delegation.
Since Phil Bredesen finished two terms as governor in 2011, Republicans have also held the statehouse along with both U.S. Senate seats.