Both major political parties are opening Bedford County campaign headquarters in preparation for November's elections.
Party headquarters serve as a central point for distributing literature, signs, bumper stickers and other campaign materials. Locally, since they are only needed for a few weeks leading up to a major general election, they tend to be located in temporary space -- a vacant or under-used building that the party can obtain on a temporary basis.
Bedford County Republican Party will hold a grand opening for its county headquarters, in the old car dealership building on Lane Parkway, on Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served.
The hours will be 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday, although Barbara Frisby of the local party said that if someone walks in at closing time, volunteers will stay as long as it takes to assist them. The phone number for the headquarters will be 680-5787.
Bedford County Democratic Party headquarters opened Saturday at 501 North Main St., at the corner of North Main and Lane Parkway.
According to local Democratic party chair Connie Crafton, the headquarters has campaign material for state legislative and U.S. candidates, but will have to wait a week or two for presidential campaign material.
"The Obama stuff is a week or two late," said Crafton, perhaps so that the name of running mate Joe Biden could be added. Crafton said the headquarters does have a few Obama bumper stickers in stock.
Hours haven't been set yet, and it's not been determined whether the headquarters will have a phone line or whether some party official's cell phone will be used. Crafton said the headquarters won't be used for outgoing "phone bank" calls; it's more economical for individual volunteers to call from home, she said.
The November election will include not only the presidential race but races for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and Tennessee State Senate and House seats representing Bedford County.
Democrat Bob Tuke of Nashville will challenge incumbent Republican Lamar Alexander. Six independent candidates -- Edward L. Buck, Christopher G. Fenner, David Gatchell, Ed Lawhorn, Daniel Towers Lewis and Chris Lugo -- will also be on the ballot.
U.S. House (Sixth District)
Incumbent Democrat Bart Gordon, of Murfreesboro, has no Republican opposition but will face an independent, Chris Baker.
State Senate (16th District)
Democrat Jean Ann Rogers, of Murfreesboro, will challenge incumbent Republican Jim Tracy, of Shelbyville.
State House (62nd District)
Republican Barbara Blanton, of Shelbyville, will challenge incumbent Democrat Curt Cobb, of Shelbyville.
The November ballot will also include city elections for Shelbyville (city council wards 1, 3 and 5), Wartrace (three alderman seats) and Normandy (two alderman seats), but those are non-partisan elections.