Trump cites House Majority Leader Casada in Facebook post

President Donald Trump has cited House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Franklin) in a Facebook post.

Casada is running to succeed Beth Harwell as speaker of the Tennessee House. Rivals for the chamber’s top job include Reps. Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) and David Hawk (R-Greeneville).

 

Former Rep. Gerald McCormick joins Ingram Group

Former House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick has joined the Ingram Group lobbying firm in Nashville, which also recently hired Alexia Poe, the former communications director for Gov. Bill Haslam.

Here’s a release from the Ingram Group:

KNOXVILLE, TN – Retiring Tennessee State Representative and former Majority Leader Gerald McCormick has joined The Ingram Group, founder Tom Ingram announced today.McCormick will provide general consulting services with an emphasis on expanding state government relations practices for the Nashville and Washington based boutique strategic consulting firm which was founded over 35 years ago.

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Haslam names former state senator, NES chief to UT board

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam has made two more appointments to the reconstituted Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee: former state Sen. Jamie Woodson (R-Knoxville) and Decosta Jenkins, the president and CEO of the Nashville Electric Service.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today appointed two additional members to the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee. Decosta Jenkins and Jamie Woodson join the board in advance of the meeting scheduled for November 2.

The appointments follow passage of the University of Tennessee Focusing On Campus and University Success (FOCUS) Act earlier this year. The legislation restructured the UT Board of Trustees to enhance governance of the UT system.

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Dean in new ad calls Lee’s positions ‘extreme’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean has a new ad out that labels Republican Bill Lee’s views as ‘extreme’ on guns, vouchers, and Medicaid expansion.

Here’s the release from the Dean campaign:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean will start airing a TV ad Saturday comparing his common-sense vision of a compassionate, forward-looking Tennessee with opponent Bill Lee’s extreme, ideological policies.
Titled “Would You Want,” the ad helps voters understand the stark choice they face in the Nov. 6 election for governor, with early voting now underway through Nov. 1.
“Would you want a governor who would give public school funds to private schools? Or arm teachers and allow guns in classrooms? Or deny healthcare to hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans and let our tax dollars fund healthcare in other states?” Dean says, speaking directly to the camera throughout the 30-second spot.
“I’m Karl Dean, and that’s the choice in this election. Bill Lee believes all of that; I don’t. I’m not the flashiest guy running, but we don’t need an extreme governor who would take us backward. Let’s keep Tennessee moving forward.”

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Mandatory shop class? Lee proposes vocational training for all students

After Republican Bill Lee’s previous ad touting “20-year solutions” for education and health care became the target of Democratic rival Karl Dean, the Franklin businessman has released a new spot offering some more specifics: He appears to want to require vocational training for all students in Tennessee.

“Every student should have at least some vocational training. It might mean welding. It might mean coding. It might mean ag,” Lee says in the ad. “But we’ve got to start our kids out early. High school, middle school.”

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New Vanderbilt poll has Bredesen up by 1 point

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen speaks to the Nashville Rotary on Aug. 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A new Senate poll conducted for Vanderbilt University shows Democrat Phil Bredesen edging Republican Marsha Blackburn among registered voters 44% to 43%.

The poll was conducted by SSRS, which receives an A-minus rating from polling site FiveThirtyEight.com. The same company conducted a poll for CNN from Sept. 11 through Sept. 15 that found Bredesen with a 50% to 42% advantage among registered voters, and a 50% to 45% lead among likely voters.

The Vanderbilt poll of 800 registered voters was conducted between Oct. 8 and Oct. 13, and 83% said they “definitely will vote.” It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The survey found Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee with a 48% to 37% lead over Democrat Karl Dean among registered voters, with 12% undecided. The September CNN poll found Lee with a 49% to 43% lead among registered voters (and 52%-43% advantage among likely voters).

President Donald Trump’s approval rating was 55%, while 42% disapproved.

O’Hara: Bredesen has steep hill to climb as early voting gets underway

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen speaks to reporters in Nashville on Oct. 16, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A guest column from former Tennessean reporter Jim O’Hara:

When Phil Bredesen announced his U.S. Senate bid in December 2017, he had a steep hill to climb. If you look at the numbers – voter registrations, turnout projections and August primary results, that hill hasn’t gotten any less steep.

The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office released in June 2018 the latest voter registration numbers statewide. The 10 counties with the most registered voters are: Blount, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Montgomery, Rutherford, Shelby, Sullivan, Sumner, and Williamson. In 2014, those 10 counties provided 54% of the total vote.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight offers a reasonable projection for voter turnout in November in Tennessee: about 43%. A 43% turnout is about seven percent above the 2014 turnout, and so it captures the “enthusiasm” notion. If those top 10 counties all turn out at a 43% level, they will cast almost 949,000 votes, or slightly more than 55% of the statewide total.

In short, those 10 counties will in all probability decide the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee. The other 85 counties will have marginal impact.

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Reuters poll: Tennessee Senate race within statistical tie

Democratic candidate and former Gov. Phil Bredesen and Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn shake hands after the 2018 Tennessee U.S. Senate Debate at The University of Tennessee Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool)

A new Reuters poll shows the Tennessee Senate race within a statistical tie. The online survey has Republican Marsha Blackburn with 47% support, compared with 44% for Democrat Phil Bredesen. The poll’s margin or error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Pollster Ipsos gets a B-plus rating from the FiveThirtyEight.com.

According to a release about the Reuters/Ipsos/Univeristy of Virginia poll conducted between Oct. 4 and Oct. 11:

In the generic ballot question, however, Republicans lead Democrats by 8 points (50% to 42%, respectively), making this close race all the more interesting, as Bredesen appears to be over-performing on multiple partisan measures.

Among likely voters, 53% approve of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as President, as opposed to 46% who disapprove. The top issue in determining the vote in Tennessee is healthcare (17%), followed by immigration (13%) and the economy (12%). On this issue, 40% of likely voters feel that Bredesen has the better policy as opposed to 38% who feel that Blackburn has the better policy.

Likely voters in Tennessee are more likely to report they do not believe the allegations of sexual conduct against Kavanaugh (48%) compared to 35% who do. When asked, 51% of likely voters support Kavanaugh’s nomination while 39% oppose it. On the issue of the Supreme Court, 41% of likely voters report that Blackburn has a better policy, compared to 32% who report that Bredesen has the better policy.

Outside spending in Senate race now exceeds $30M

Democratic candidate and former Gov. Phil Bredesen, left, speaks during the 2018 Tennessee U.S. Senate Debate with Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn at The University of Tennessee Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool)

The total amount of independent expenditures in the Tennessee Senate race has exceeded $30.5 million as of Tuesday morning.

Until recently, two out of every three dollars worth of outside money was going to either supporting Republican Marsha Blackburn or attacking Democrat Phil Bredesen. But recent filings show an uptick in spending targeting Blackburn.

The SMP group on Monday disclosed spending $3.4 million on ads attacking Blackburn. That’s in addition to $8.4 million the Majority Forward PAC has spent and $1 million from the American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees. The total money targeting Blackburn has now reached nearly $13 million.

Meanwhile, opponents of Bredesen have spent about $17.5 million. The biggest spenders include the Senate Leadership Fund ($8.5 million), Americans for Prosperity ($4.7 million), NRSC ($1.5 million), and the Committee to Defend the President (nearly $1 million). The NRA has spent another $846,531.

About 56% of the outside money has spent by groups favoring Blackburn or opposing Bredesen.

Internal Bredesen polls say Senate race deadlocked

Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, right, speaks during the 2018 Tennessee U.S. Senate Debate with Democratic candidate and former Gov. Phil Bredesen at The University of Tennessee Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool)

Internal polling by Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen’s campaign suggests the race with Republican Marsha Blackburn remains tight.

According to pollster Garin-Hart-Young, Blackburn had the support of 48% of Tennesseans in two early October polls, while Bredesen had 47%. That’s after more than $20 million in negative attacks aimed at Bredesen or supporting Blackburn. The internal pollster found the same level of support for Bredesen in a September survey, through Blackburn’s support had grown by 3 percentage points since then.

The polling site FiveThirtyEight.com gives Garin-Hart-Young a B-plus rating. The internal Bredesen numbers are at odd with recent public polls that suggest a widening lead for Blackburn (+6 by Fox News, +8 by CBS, +14 by the New York Times).