Monthly Archives: July 2018

Tennessee state employees PAC finds 29% undecided in gov’s race

Polling conducted on behalf of Tennessee State Employees Association’s political action committee in “selected GOP legislative districts” found 29% of voters remain undecided in the governor’s race.

The poll surveyed 2,381 registered Republican voters in nine state House districts. But take any statewide extrapolation with a substantial grain of salt: None of the districts are in West Tennessee and only one Knoxville-area district was polled (while five were in Middle Tennessee).

“A third of voters polling undecided a week before early voting means the race for the GOP nomination is still wide open,” said TSEA Executive Director Randy Stamps. “And the candidate results reflect a race that has very much become a four-way race.”

The PAC has endorsed Harwell in the Republican primary.

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2nd District candidate calls out ‘bunch of yahoos’

Republican congressional candidate Ashley Nickloes may not be the best known Republican vying for retiring Rep. Jimmy Duncan’s seat, but she’s got one of the more polished ads running in that campaign that also includes Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, state Rep. Jimmy Matlock, and businessman Jason Emert.

Transcript: “A lot of career politicians are a bunch of yahoos. Me, I fly missions across the globe as a combat aviator. I do my job so our nation’s heroes can make it home safely. My next mission: Serving you and your family in Congress. Career politicians have failed us time and time again without consequences. I’ll work with President Trump and put America first just like I always have. I’m Ashley Nickloes and I approve this message. It’s time for American grit, not Washington wimps.”

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Fitzhugh, Lee land endorsements from Times Free Press

Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Craig Fitzhugh have landed gubernatorial primary endorsements from the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Tennessee gubernatorial candidates talk education during SCORE event at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, January 23, 2018. (Photo credit: Belmont University)

On the conservative side of the opinion pages, Clint Cooper writes that “Tennessee Republicans can feel fortunate they have an embarrassment of riches in their gubernatorial primary to replace term-limited Republican Bill Haslam.” But he says Lee’s outside perspective along with his business and farming experience make him the best choice. He also lauds Lee for trying to remain above the fray amid the negative advertising by his rivals.

On the left-leaning Times side, Pam Sohn writes that Fitzhugh is “dedicated to the expansion of Medicaid, approving medical marijuana, common-sense gun regulation and education — especially early childhood education.”

On the Republican side, the Times opinion page would choose Beth Harwell.

 

Harwell’s new TV ad mocks GOP rivals

State House Speaker Beth Harwell’s new ad takes aim at squabbling among her Republican gubernatorial rivals Randy Boyd, Diane Black, and Bill Lee, while calling her “the adult in the room.”

“My opponents are spending a great deal of time arguing over things we’ve already done in Tennessee. We outlawed sanctuary cities in Tennessee even before President Trump’s election,” Harwell said in a release. “We strengthened the law just last legislative session by adding monetary penalties to any local municipality that chooses to defy the law.”

 

Governor’s race becomes costliest in TN history

Republican Randy Boyd speaks during the Gubernatorial Forum on Education at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP, Pool)

Spending in this year’s governor’s race has now eclipsed expenditures in any race in state history, The Tennessean reports.

The four major Republicans and two Democrats seeking to succeed Gov. Bill Haslam have spent a combined $37 million through the first half of 2018. Meanwhile, they’ve raised more than $50 million, with large chunks of that coming in the form of contributions from the candidates themselves.

The 2006 Senate race ultimately won by former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker was the most expensive statewide contest before this year, coming in at about $34 million.

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NRA endorses David Kustoff in 8th District

The National Rifle Association is endorsing Republican U.S. Rep. David Kustoff in the 8th Congressional District.

The freshman congressman faces a Republican primary challenge from George Flinn, a deep-pocketed perennial candidate. The endorsement was announced by the NRA’s chief lobbyist Chris Cox, a Jackson native.

“We greatly appreciate your consistent opposition to attempts to ban lawfully-owned firearms, magazines and ammunition, and for standing strong against the gun control agenda,” Cox said.

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Blackburn returns Club for Conservatives PAC money

Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign has returned contributions from a PAC that’s facing scrutiny from campaign finance regulators, Roll Call reports.

The Blackburn returned one contribution from the Club for Conservatives PAC for $2,700 and returned another check for $2,700.

“Club for Conservatives PAC did not meet our standards for transparency,” Blackburn campaign spokeswoman Abbi Sigler told the paper.

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Boyd’s latest attack ad portrays Black in swamp

Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd’s latest attack ad portrays Republican gubernatorial rival Diane Black as being part of the “D.C. Swamp” and the narrator refers to her as “D.C. Diane” five times in 30 seconds.

Transcript: “A 20-year professional politician, D.C. Diane Black. In the D.C. Swamp, D.C. Diane’s net worth increased by more than $40 million. While enriching herself, D.C. Diane worked to raise our taxes by $160 million, while cutting her taxes by millions. And as budget chair, D.C. Diane let the debt soar to $21 trillion. D.C. Diane Black: Out for herself, no us.”

New Lee spot targets ‘all these dishonest attack ads’

Franklin businessman Bill Lee has a new TV commercial out targeting negative ads running in the Republican gubernatorial primary campaign. Lee says he won’t “go down that road,” and that the attack ads “reveal a lot more truth about the person running the ad than the person in the ad.”

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Black makes another immigration proposal in Congress

With early voting set to get underway in the gubernatorial primary on Friday, Republican U.S. Rep. Diane Black has filed a bill seeking to make the act of illegally entering the United States a felony. That would be up from the current misdemeanor level, which is punishable by six months’ incarceration.

Black in May introduced a separate bill to crowdfund the construction of a wall on Mexican border.

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