Delegating Denver #47 of 56: Tennessee

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Total Number of Delegates: 85 Pledged: 68 Unpledged: 17

How to Recognize a Tennessee Delegate: There is no greater state than Tennessee. America's fascination with the Volunteer state has been nothing short of all-encompassing and everlasting. Even the derogatory jokes -- duct tape is "Tennessee chrome," and fashions from Lane Bryant are "Tennessee shower curtains" -- are just the clumsy swats of envious Ohioans and Michiganders wishing to relocate. From Mountain Dew to Miley Ray Cyrus, every backwoods brainstorm that Tennessee touches turns to gold. The Butternut State is America's heart and soul. Everyone who has ever been here feels energized and instantly smarter. Whereas the bitter cold winters make the residents of northern states snooty, and the sweltering heat makes the residents of southern states emotionally unstable, the beautiful landscapes basking in practically perfect weather allows Butternutters to follow their bliss. This freedom has largely made the nation a better place, even though it has, on occasion, backfired worse than a hillbilly's rifle. Tennessee delegates in Denver will drip with charm and even remain smiling when delivering their traditional parting expression of "Kiss my ass!" Females will wear the Ashley Judd collection of printed tier dresses, tops, bottoms and accents available exclusively from Knoxville-based Goody's Family Clothing. Males will wear the Nashville-founded (now Georgia-made) Duckhead khaki trousers and J.G. Hook blazers, also from Goody's. Both will sport hairstyles that are slightly longer than the national average and impeccably groomed. It’s also worth noting that Tennessee delegates will not leave their hotel rooms until they look "pretty as a picture."

Famous Tennesseans: Pop Art constructionist Red Grooms; musicians Alberta Hunter, Bessie Smith, Big Maybelle Smith, Chet Atkins, Lester Flatt, Sleepy John Estes, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dinah Shore, Eddy Arnold, Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Gregg and Duane Allman, Isaac Hayes, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ludacris, Justin Timberlake, Kenny Chesney, Usher, Miley Ray Cyrus and Kings of Leon band members Caleb and Jared Followill; actors Fred Thompson, James Denton, Dixie Carter, Kathy Bates, Annie Potts, Shannen Doherty, Johnny Knoxville, Brad Renfro and Megan Fox; film director Quentin Tarantino; Google festive logo designer Dennis Hwang; folk hero, frontiersman and politician Davy Crockett; civil rights activist Julian Bond.

Famous Tennessee Democrats: Eleventh governor James K. Polk; former United States senators C. Estes Kefauver and Al Gore, Sr.; former United States senator and 45th vice president Al Gore Jr.; 48th governor Phil Bredesen; United States representative Steve Cohen; Tennessee Speaker of the House Lois DeBerry.

Famous Tennesseans With Denver Connections: 9News anchor Adele Arakawa, Denver Post sports columnist and ESPN Around the Horn-blower Woody Paige; Rockies first baseman Todd Helton; Ultra Black Hair-care expert Cathy Howse; Palmer Divide bluegrass band guitarist Greg Reed; The Real World: Denver star Brooke LaBarbara; Boulder-based www.tennesseeguy.com travel writer Jeff Bradley.

State Nickname: The Volunteer State, the Butternut State, the Big Bend State (official); Land of Moonshine and Mullets, the Hog and Hominy State, the Big Bender State, the Mountain Doers (unofficial) Population: 6,038,803 Racial Distribution: 78% white, 17% black, 1% Native American, 1% Asian, 3% Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $28,455 Unemployment: 7.2%


Most Tennessean Denver Neighborhood: Harvey Park South

Most Tennessean Bar: Granny's at White Fence Farm 6263 West Jewell Avenue Lakewood, Colorado With a barnyard full of critters, rocking chairs on the porch and bluegrass on the stage, this place is like chicken-fried Pigeon Forge in the Denver suburbs.

Most Tennessean Restaurant: Sam Taylor's 435 South Cherry Street Glendale, Colorado This native son prepares food the way Volunteers like it, slathered in thick, sticky sauce that packs both heat and sweet.

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Best day trip: Cheyenne, Wyoming Not every day is perfect in Tennessee. Accidents do happen. The Ku Klux Klan was founded in Pulaski, Tennessee, on December 24, 1865, as the militant arm of the Democratic Party, and the national disaster spread across the South and West faster than a sepsis infection — which actually was the cause of death for yet another Tennessee Democrat, whose move out west and accidental death inadvertently helped forge a new direction for the deeply divided party. William B. Ross married Nellie Tayloe and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to practice law. In 1922, he became the Democratic governor of a predominantly Republican state by running on a platform of Prohibition, lower taxes, banking reform and equal rights. He was also a state delegate to the 1924 Democratic National "Klanbake" Convention in New York City, where it took 103 ballots to nominate the compromise candidate of John W. Davis over the Klan-backed William Gibbs McAdoo. Sadly, before the November election, Governor Ross died from appendicitis. Acting quickly, the Wyoming Legislature called for a special election that made the guv's widow, Nellie Tayloe Ross, the first woman to serve as governor of a U.S. state. The national attention she received was good for the Democrats and the state of Wyoming. Her legend lives large and can easily be seen on a trip to the capital of the Equality State. From the delegate hotel, just drive north on I-25 for 100 miles. The Interstate parallels Colorado's scenic Front Range and traverses some of the state's best farmland, now growing a bumper crop of sprawl. Comparatively, Cheyenne is a compact gem of the West's best intentions, a place where the myth of the rugged individual still counts for more than mob rule and is painstakingly nurtured and preserved in every public and private enterprise. A walk up the eleven-block stretch of Capital Avenue, from the train depot to the capitol dome, is the perfect place for a Tennessean delegate on a trip out west to contemplate how their wrongs turned America into a nation of equal rights. -- Kenny Be

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