Monthly Archives: August 2018

Jason Isbell, Ben Folds to headline Bredesen event

Jason Isbell plays in Nashville on Sept. 25, 2015. (Metro Nashville image)

Jason Isbell and Ben Folds are headlining an event to promote former Gov. Phil Bredesen’s Democratic bid for the U.S. Senate.

The event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 20 at the Marathon Music Works in Nashville. Entry and a commemorative poster will cost $25.

Isbell wrote a song titled “TVA” for the his previous band, the Drive-by Truckers. It might make a fitting tune to play at the event, as Bredesen has proposed using the TVA to help bring high-speed internet to rural areas in the Tennessee Valley.

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Inadvertent email silence remedied

Dear On the Hill readers:

You may have noticed a sudden dearth of email notifications about new blog posts since last week’s primary election. But rest assured, the problem wasn’t you, it was us.

Our tech wizards have figured out the problem, so email notifications should be back to flowing to your inboxes. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, the On the Hill blog will automatically send you an email every time a new item is posted. To join, simply enter your email address into the little box on the toolbar to the right. (You will also have to click on the confirmation email).

All the best,

Erik Schelzig

Editor, The Tennessee Journal

Dean campaign announces ‘Educators for Dean’

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is announcing the formation of a “Educators for Dean” group as the Democrat moves in to the general election phase of the governor’s race.

Dean as mayor and in his time since leaving office has been a supporter of expanding charter schools in the city, a key factor in his failure to land the endorsement of the Tennessee Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, during the primary (the group’s nod went instead to House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh). Dean is now trying to shore up support among public education advocates as he faces off against Republican businessman Bill Lee.

“Tennessee has made significant progress on public education under Governor Haslam and Governor Bredesen,” Dean said in a release. “We need to continue that progress by ensuring every community in Tennessee has the resources it needs to be successful. This includes raising teacher pay and better supporting the professional growth of educators so that we can be competitive in attracting and retaining the best and the brightest teachers.”

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Dueling editorials on kick-off of Senate general election race

The dueling editorial pages at the Times Free Press have competing takes on the kick-of of the general election phase of the U.S. Senate race between Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen.

On the right side of the paper’s editorial pages, Clint Cooper writes that “Phil Bredesen’s Democratic campaign for U.S. Senate showed it was not above such deceptive advertising,” in which Republicans who don’t support him say nice things about the former governor.

Former state Rep. Debra Maggart, one of those quoted quoted in the ad, says her comments were spliced to sound more supportive of Bredesen than she was).

The spot has her saying “he did a of good things in our state … like fix TennCare.” Maggart’s full remarks on the news show were: “He did a lot of good things in our state, but he had a lot of Republican support. I was there. We helped him do things that the Democrats absolutely refused to do like fix TennCare.”

“Until now, Bredesen had intoned themes of working with President Trump where they found common ground, of the parties working alongside each other and of ending the rancor in Washington, D.C.,” Cooper writes. “This ad, and so soon out of the gate, shows the campaign has no such motives.”

“Everybody says they want unity,” writes Pam Sohn from the left of the paper’s editorial pages. “Quite a number Republicans have praised Bredesen for unity. But when Bredesen puts that unity on display, they get all huffy, talk out of the other sides of their mouths, and accuse him of not modeling unity.

“There those Pachyderms go again, helping the president with his agenda — the agenda of demonization and discord.”

From ‘Philbert’ to ‘Phony Phil?’

President Donald Trump’s “Philbert” nickname for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen didn’t exactly stick. Republicans are now rallying around a new one: “Phony Phil.” Will it do any better? Only the phuture can tell.

The state Republican Party sent out a release this afternoon calling Bredesen an elitist, essentially because he’s rich. (Here’s hoping nobody over there looks up Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s net worth.)

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Haslam goes to bat for Bill Lee in RGA ad

Gov. Bill Haslam espouses the virtues of Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Lee in a new ad released by the Republican Governors Association — the national group that Haslam chairs.

“We can trust him to make the right decisions, not the political ones,” Haslam says in the ad.

Here’s the script:

For eight years I’ve had the privilege of being your governor. Together, we’ve made a lot of progress. More people have jobs than ever before. Our taxes are lower, our students are improving faster than anywhere in the country. Tennessee is stronger than ever. Bill Lee is the right choice to take Tennessee to the next level. We can trust him to make the right decisions, not the political ones. He’s been doing that his whole life. I’m asking you to join me in supporting Bill Lee for governor.

Leatherwood nominated to succeed late Rep. Lollar

The Shelby County Republican Party has named former state Sen. Tom Leatherwood as the nominee to succeed to state Rep. Ron Lollar, who died less than a month before the primary election.

The decision was made by the three members of the county party’s steering committee who live in the 99th House District, The Daily News of Memphis reports.

“This is new to all of us,” Shelby County Republican Party chairman Lee Mills, who recused himself for the vote because he was also a contender for the nomination. “So it’s a little awkward. I don’t believe we’ve ever done this before.”

Leatherwood served in the Senate from 1992 to 2000, when he was elected register of deeds in Shelby County. He made an unsuccessful challenge to U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in 2008, saying that “too many Republicans got Potomac fever and became more self-serving.”

Leatherwood, who lost his bid for the Republican nomination for circuit court clerk in August, faces Democratic nominee Dave Cambron in the general election for the state House seat.

Latest Blackburn ad features Trump rally highlights

Marsha Blackburn’s latest TV ad highlights the Republican Senate candidate by President Donald Trump’s side at a recent Nashville rally.

Here’s a transcript of the ad:

President Trump: We need Marsha Blackburn. We need Marsha in the Senate to continue the progress and work that we’ve done over the last year and a half. 

Blackburn: Tennessee needs a Senator who is going to support President Donald Trump. I am going to be there to stand with President Donald Trump and take your Tennessee values to Washington, D.C. to fight with him to get the job done. I am Marsha Blackburn, and I approve this message. 

Blackburn touts role in fighting state income tax

Marsha Blackburn in her latest 15-second digital ad touts her rule in fighting a state income tax proposal made by then-Gov. Don Sundquist, a fellow Republican.

“Here in Tennessee I fought my own party to stop a massive, job-killing state income tax,” Blackburn says in the ad. “And we stopped it. We won.”

Bredesen camp: ‘Status-quo is panicking’

A memo from Phil Bredesen’s campaign manager Bob Corney warns of impending attacks from out-of-state dark money groups which he calls a sign that the “Washington status-quo is panicking” about the Democrat’s prospects in the U.S. Senate race.

“While our opponent and her backers aim to divide and scare Tennesseans with half-truths and misinformation, Governor Bredesen is committed to bringing people together and putting Tennessee first,” Corney said in the memo.

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