Tennessee Tribune: “Riden: ‘Running for Governor is No Fun’”

Thank you to the Tennessee Tribune for this fun write up:

Riden: ‘Running for Governor is No Fun’

NASHVILLE, TN — Chad Riden will lose the Governor’s race. He’s got no name recognition. “I’m the snowball’s chance in hell candidate,” he says.

Riden has appeared with several Democratic hopefuls at forums around the state. He thinks they are all insane.

“Anybody who wants to be elected should automatically be disqualified,” Riden says.

Among the 35 candidates running to take over from Gov. Bill Haslam, Riden is pretty much at the bottom of the list. He is an unknown, the darkest of dark horses.

“Running for Governor is ruining my life,” he laments. “Really wish I hadn’t done it. I thought it would be a lot funner than it is. It’s not fun. I thought it would be a lot cooler. It’s just not. It’s really a drag.”

Riden, 43, has been working comedy clubs full-time since 2010. He’s been on “The Daily Show” and the “Late Show” with David Letterman. He’s a bit like Louis C.K. who uses life-after-divorce as a wellspring for much of his humor. Riden uses his father, a fanatical Trump supporter, as a foil for his political jokes.

Riden’s campaign slogan: the only candidate who isn’t a joke. Asked why he didn’t make it “the only candidate who can tell a joke” Riden said he didn’t want people to think the other candidates weren’t funny. “Everything they say sounds like a joke,” he says.

Riden said the “big bucks” candidates are using their families in expensive TV campaign ads, so he decided to go negative and launch a series of campaign ads against himself. He asked his fifteen-year-old daughter to help. She nailed it on the first take.

“You can’t take my dad seriously. Everything he does is a joke. Everything is ironic. He’s never taken anything seriously in his whole life…he is irresponsible and you should not vote for him. Thank you and have a good day,” said Callia Riden, a sophomore at Nashville School of the Arts. So much for Riden family values.

“I’m totally a Bernie guy,” Riden says.

He is running as an Independent because he admires Sanders and hates both major parties. He only had to gather 25 signatures to get on the November ballot. He tried to enter the 2015 mayoral race and collected 75 signatures during his club gigs.

But it turned out he didn’t collect enough valid signatures. Too many people who go to comedy clubs don’t take voter registration seriously. If you move and don’t vote in two successive elections, you can be purged like a Revolutionary Guard caught listening to Rock ‘n Roll.

Kansas started the practice and the Supreme Court recently upheld it in an Ohio case. The Davidson County Election Commission purges about 10,000 voters a year from its rolls that currently list 370,000 registered voters. Homeless advocates say there are about 25,000 people with no fixed address in Davidson County. That’s an estimated 35,000 people, ten percent of all registered voters, who probably won’t vote in November because they can’t.

“It’s voter suppression.” says Riden.

Riden is against voter suppression. He doesn’t want state jobs outsourced and he opposes the privatization of schools, prisons, and other state agencies.

“As Governor of Tennessee, my main focus would be economic revitalization spurred by implementation of fiber optic internet as a state-wide public utility. I support our public schools and don’t think any elected official should make one dime more than the lowest paid teacher. I’m for unionized labor, anti-discrimination laws, #MedicareForAll, and the legalization of Cannabis. I’d like to build high speed rail connecting Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Bristol and regional transit systems,” he said.

Former Mayor Megan Barry’s Transit Plan was soundly rejected by Nashville voters in May. So we are not ready for mass transit in Nashville although Chattanooga already has a municipal broadband network, so you never know about the fiber optic plan. It might catch on in other cities.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found 48 percent of likely voters think the U.S. should have Medicare For All. The House started a “Medicare-for-All “caucus in July. It has 70 members and a House “Medicare-for-All” bill has 122 co-sponsors. The Senate version has 16 co-sponsors, one-third of Senate Democrats. Single payer is no longer on the political frontier.

But in Tennessee Riden is an outlier. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery is suing to end Obamacare, the closest thing we have to Medicare-for-All.

If one or more of Riden’s ideas do come to pass— legalized pot, for example—he would no longer be on the lunatic fringe. He would suddenly become a political visionary ahead of his time.

High speed rail between Tennessee’s largest cities may be a long way from China, which connects 29 of its 33 provinces with high speed rail and has 25,000 kilometers of track. But Riden says bullet trains beat the hell out of what Diane Black proposed to improve Tennessee’s highways.

“She wants to double-stack the interstates. There is nothing crazier. No downtime or mishaps there, right? Why stop at double stacks? Why not just do four levels of interstates right on top of each other like a parking garage?“

Riden spreads his ridicule evenly across the field. “Everything my opponents say— it’s bat shit. You can’t parody things that’re so crazy. You almost have to report it verbatim and it’s still a joke,” he says.

Riden identifies with the social democratic wing of the Democratic Party, but like Groucho Marx who would never join a club that would let him in, Riden still expects to win some Tea Party votes.

Cutting the salaries of state and county officials to the lowest-paid teacher’s salary makes Riden the archest of fiscal conservatives.

A Metro teacher with a Bachelor’s degree makes $43,363. City department heads and their administrative staffs, General Sessions judges, city lawyers, Mayor Briley and his staff, Director of Schools Shawn Joseph and his inner circle, Dr. Joseph Webb and his top lieutenants at General Hospital all have six-figure salaries.

If Metro paid 6,106 city employees the same as first year teachers, the city would save $106 million a year. All the candidates say they support education, but Riden says he’ll be elected Governor before any of them put their money where their mouth is.

“I don’t’ think the voters will take a comedian seriously. I don’t think they will take an Independent candidate seriously. But maybe I can push the conversation in a progressive positive direction.” he said.

Seven Answers for Chattanooga Times Free Press’ Clif Cleaveland, M.D.

Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate logo

My name is Chad Riden and I’m an Independent candidate for Governor of Tennessee. I read Clif Cleaveland, M.D.’s June 26th, 2018 piece in the Chattanooga Times Free Press entitled “Seven questions for Tennessee’s candidates for governor” in which Doctor Cleaveland wrote, “A survey of websites of candidates for Tennessee Governor show few specifics regarding health care… Seven questions need answers.” I agree that these issues are too important to go unanswered. Here are my responses:

1. Is access to health care a right or a privilege?

A right. I support #MedicareForAll. Medicare is more efficient than private insurance companies whose primary concern is profits.

2. Do you favor expansion of TennCare?


3. How would you improve health-care manpower and facilities in poor counties?
How can they be stabilized?
What role do you see for telemedicine and mobile clinics for underserved areas?
Would enhanced services by county health departments or school-based clinics provide solutions?

I like the suggestions The Rural Health Information Hub offers including: Frontier Extended Stay Clinics (FESC) which help seriously ill patients or injured patients who cannot be immediately transferred to a hospital; and Team-based care models, such as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs), which extend primary care services in rural communities. Telemedicine is a fantastic way for patients to see specialists in a timely manner no matter where they are. County health departments and school-based clinics seem like a no-brainer to me.

4. Is there a role for the state in addressing rising costs of prescription drugs?
Could the state facilitate importation of less expensive drugs from Canada?

Yes. Many states offer State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAPs) to help residents pay for prescription drugs. Also, just an FYI: I don’t know how helpful it is but as a resident of Tennessee, you and your family already have access to a free statewide Prescription Assistance Program (PAP): https://www.tennesseedrugcard.com/

5. How do you propose addressing illicit use of opioids, methamphetamine and cocaine?

I support legalized cannabis. Multiple studies have shown that after states legalized cannabis, the number of opioid prescriptions and the daily dose of opioids went way down.

Instead of prison, I like prosecution-led residential drug treatment diversion programs that divert nonviolent felony drug offenders to community-based residential treatment.

6. What is the role of state government in addressing high rates of childhood obesity?
Can state government promote healthier diets and increased recreational exercise?
Or is this meddling in personal matters?

I agree with the CDC suggestion that the best course of action is a comprehensive approach to addressing childhood obesity in schools with a focus on nutrition and physical activity with programs following the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model.

7. What is the role of state government in addressing gun-related violence and accidents involving firearms?

I support criminal background checks on all gun sales to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories, including felons, domestic abusers and people with dangerous mental illnesses. Responsible gun owners know that supporting the Second Amendment goes hand in hand with common-sense solutions to reduce gun violence. My campaign has been given the Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction for standing up for gun violence prevention and recognizing gun safety.

Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate logo

I hope I answered these questions to your satisfaction. Thank you for helping raise awareness about these important issues. As Governor of Tennessee, my main focus would be economic revitalization spurred by implementation of fiber optic internet as a state-wide public utility. I support our public schools and don’t think any elected official should make one dime more than the lowest paid teacher. I’m for unionized labor, anti-discrimination laws, #MedicareForAll, and the legalization of Cannabis. I’d like to build high speed rail connecting Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Bristol and regional transit systems. I’m against outsourcing State tasks to for-profit businesses (including and especially charter schools and privatized prisons), voter suppression, discrimination, racism, sexism, hate, fear, and ignorance. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Chad Riden



I pledge to not take contributions from the oil, gas, and coal industry and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits.

This means the #RiDEN4TN campaign will not knowingly accept any contributions over $200 from the PACs, executives, or front groups of fossil fuel companies — companies whose primary business is the extraction, processing, distribution, or sale of oil, gas, or coal. For more information about the movement, visit http://nofossilfuelmoney.org/

Thank you to voter M Nour Naciri for bringing this to my attention. Give me a yell if you have an issue you’re compassionate about.


The Jackson Sun’s coverage of the Jackson Exchange Club gubernatorial forum

Thanks to The Jackson Sun for the shout-out in their coverage of my participation at the Jackson Exchange Club’s June 12, 2018 gubernatorial forum. It was an honor to be invited to speak and field questions on such important issues. Thank you to the Jackson Exchange Club for including Independent and third party candidates along with the big money candidates. Not everybody does that. Also, the pie was fantastic.

Politicians and their strong “faith”

My papaw Riden was a preacher, a gardener and an auto-body repair shop owner in Maryville, Tennessee. He’d drive food he grew to the people he knew couldn’t afford it. My mamaw Riden taught highschool and was recognized by the state legislature for her environmental conservation efforts. They taught me to take care of this beautiful land and the people around us.

I’m sick and tired of politicians talking about their “faith” and then doing what Jesus would do on Opposite Day. He healed the sick. He didn’t drug test people or care where they were born. He fed the hungry. He didn’t have any work requirements. ALL people were created in His image and His message was LOVE. Politicans who claim to be Christians while saying and doing hateful, racist things doesn’t make sense until you realize that their true God is MONEY and POWER and they’re telling you what you want to hear.

I’m Chad Riden and I’m running for Governor of Tennessee. I want to build state-wide fiber optic internet as a public utility. I support Medicare For All. I’m for public schools and I don’t think any elected official should make one dime more than our lowest paid teacher. I’m for unionized labor, anti-discrimination laws, and the legalization of Cannabis. I’d like to build high speed rail connecting Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Bristol and regional transit systems.

I’m against outsourcing State tasks to for-profit businesses, charter schools, privatized prisons, voter suppression, discrimination, racism, sexism, hate, fear, and ignorance.

I am fed up with bipartisan politics and the hypocrites at all levels of government. Our elected offices go to the highest bidder and rich candidates backed by their elite friends spend millions on advertising claiming to be just like us. As an Independent candidate my chances of winning this election are slim but my mother always says, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” My goal is to push the conversation in a positive, progressive direction.

I’m a comedian, a dog walker and a single father. I only care about being a good dad and having a nice, safe place to live while having a little fun.

The other candidates like to say they’ve visited “all 95 counties” in the last year as if that’s something special. People say they want to elect somebody they could have a beer with. I’ve been driving back and forth across this state telling jokes in bars every day for over 15 years. If that interests you, give me a yell. I’d love to come to your town and hang out and have a beer with you and your friends. I’ll bring some of my comedian buddies from Nashville along and we’ll have a blast.

Thank you,

Chad Riden
chad -at- chadriden -dot- com

(I sent this guest editorial to every newspaper in Tennessee on June 14th, 2018.)

Community Oversight Now – Nashville

I’m really glad I was able to attend Community Oversight Now‘s news conference in support of their Nashville charter referendum campaign to have an independent community oversight board on Wednesday April 4th, 2018 in East Nashville.

I drive an older car and the tail lights short out a lot. I have to replace the bulb at least every 3 months or so. I always get pulled over but I’ve never felt ill at ease or in danger. I’ve never had any trouble with our Nashville police force but I also realize I’ve always been blonde haired, blue-eyed and white. not everybody has the same sense of safety all day every day that I take for granted and that is a shame.

I firmly believe that the truth can always be questioned because if you’re doing what’s right you are not afraid for your actions to be looked at in the light. Please join me in support of Community Oversight Now – Nashville.


Nashville, please sign my petition this week

Nashville, you may know me as an idiot you see at local comedy shows, or an idiot you see running around with cute dogs chasing pokemon, or an idiot you sometimes see posting ridiculous things on this group page, but did you know I’m also an idiot who is running for Governor of Tennessee?

In a nutshell, I’m FOR: #MedicareForAll #LegalizeMarijuana #FiberOpticPublicUtilityInternet #7DaysAWeekAlcoholSales #BlackLivesMatter #MeToo #MarchForOurLives, LGBT+ rights and protection and other things that make sense. I’m AGAINST: #PrivatizedPrisons #MoneyInPolitics, hate, racism, sexism, Trumpy.

Chad Riden for TN Governor for / against infographic #RiDEN4TN

I’m a snowballs chance in hell candidate. The media treats me like a joke, because comedians are silly clowns who’ve never made legitimate points about our culture and society wrapped in humor oh and also I’m not spending hundreds of thousands of dollars buying advertising from them, but I think if I can push the conversation in a progressive, positive direction for the next few months I will consider that a victory in itself.

Folks (that’s a word you have to use a lot when you run for office so you sound relatable), FOLKS, I would like to ask for your help. I have enough signatures to qualify to be on the ballot but I want more as a safety net. In Tennessee, if you haven’t voted in the last two elections, you’re not considered a ‘registered voter’ and your signature is not valid for this purpose. Many people enthusiastically sign my sheets, thinking they’re helping but their signature may not count and there’s no way of knowing that until the election commission ultimately arbitrarily decides whose voices to ignore. So I want to get way more signatures than necessary.

If you have read this far, I would love to have your signature on my petition. I’m in town all this week. You can come see me at Bobby’s Idle Hour tonight at 7 on Music Row, and at The East Room tuesday at 8:30 and maybe other places, or you can message me on FB or text me at 615-829-6187 and I will come to you. Thank you for your support and whatnot. I love you.

here’s my propaganda-spewing FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RiDEN4TN/

June 7, 2017 mind dump

I don’t want you to donate money, but you can if you want. Money in politics IS the problem. Donations will all go to buying my lunches throughout the campaign & funding street art wheat-paste poster printing.

I’m running as an Independent, as I believe our two-party system is the Good Ole Boy Network nonsense that has led to voters looking at the color of a candidate’s party affiliation instead of their character and ideals.

I’m pro legalization of Marijuana. I want to use the revenue to build out state wide municipal fiber optic internet following the Chattanooga model and implement a state Firewall (open source software that protects from cyber attack, NOT a brick and mortar wall that would cost Billion$ and change Nothing). We need to harden the security of IT for all state servers, data, networks and utilities.

I support the building of Earthship Biotecture housing out of recycled materials for our homeless in the places that already have tent cities and on other underused property.

I’m against unconstitutional legislation on any level, but especially ridiculous bills at the state level which clearly violate the separation of Church and State and would never hold up in court, even though they were proposed by a career politician with a law degree and/or the Koch Brothers.

I support LGBT+ anti-discrimination laws and I’d like to see all public bathroom signage changed to make them Unisex bathrooms. This would allow families to enter the same bathroom together without worry and eliminate a lot of nonsense debates rooted in homophobia.

I support single payer universal healthcare.

Please join my mailing list right now, register to vote, and show up at the polls 8/2/2018 to vote Chad Riden for Governor in the Tennessee state primary. The time to be a complacent slacker who doesn’t care or think politics matters is OVER. For me and for you. #RIDEN4TN