Monthly Archives: August 2018

Lee campaign staffs up for general election

A release from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee:

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Tennessee Republican Gubernatorial Nominee Bill Lee announced four new hires to his campaign team today including Laine Arnold, Julie Hannah, Kim Kaegi, and Joseph Williams as the campaign expands communications, fundraising, and grassroots operations for the General Election.

“We are thrilled to have all of these talented individuals join the team,” said Campaign Manager Chris Devaney. “We are building on the momentum from our victory in the primary and with these staff additions, we will have the resources and team that will has Bill poised to win convincingly in November.”

The Lee Campaign named Laine Arnold as Press Secretary. Previously, Arnold served as the Press Secretary for the Randy Boyd for Governor campaign and the Communications Director for Battle Ground Academy in Franklin. Arnold will manage day-to-day media relations for the campaign.

In addition to coalition development, Bill’s campaign conducted an expansive and aggressive grassroots campaign in the primary election and to expand on those efforts in the General Election, Julie Hannah, former Chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party, is returning to assist in volunteer operations as the Special Projects & Grassroots Coordinator.

Longtime Republican fundraiser Kim Kaegi joins the campaign as a fundraising consultant who brings 30 years of statewide fundraising experience to the team. Kaegi has led successful fundraising efforts for multiple campaigns, including both Gov. Bill Haslam’s campaign and re-election bid.

Coming off his impressive campaign for State House District 56 this year, constitutional lawyer, former educator with Teach for America, and education advocate Joseph Williams is joining the campaign as the Director of Coalitions. Williams will lead coalition-building efforts and expand on Bill’s already existing coalitions on issues such as veterans, business leaders and political leaders.

Chattanooga mayor endorses former Nashville mayor for governor

A release from Democratic candidate Karl Dean’s campaign:

Today, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke announced his endorsement for Karl Dean for Governor. 

Dean joined Berke in downtown Chattanooga for a press conference where the announcement was made. Berke pointed to their shared experience of being mayors as the reason he’s supporting Dean’s candidacy.  

“Karl Dean’s bold ideas, thoughtful leadership, and common sense approach to solving problems made him an outstanding two-term Mayor of Nashville,” Berke said. “As our next Governor, I know that he’ll work harder than anyone to provide more opportunities for more people in our state to get better educations and build better lives. Tennessee deserves a Governor who will work for everyone, including the urban neighborhoods and rural communities that are too often forgotten by leaders on Capitol Hill. Karl has proven to us that he’ll fight for Chattanoogans and our neighbors. I’m proud to endorse him today.”

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New Blackburn ad touts role in fighting prostitution website

Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn’s latest ad touts her role in fighting the thinly-veiled prostitution website Backpage.com.

“Backpage.com operated in over 97 countries. Billions of dollars, trafficking human beings, even our children,” Blackburn says in the ad, her third of the Senate race so far. “It’s sick, it’s immoral, and it’s why I fought to shut them down. Human trafficking is a tragedy that must be stopped.” 

Backpage.com’s website was seized by the FBI in April and its CEO pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against other website officials charged with facilitating prostitution and money laundering. a 93-count indictment alleges that teenage girls were sold for sex on the site. President Donald Trump in this year signed a bill dubbed “FOTSA,” or the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. The bill passed the House 388-25 (Blackburn was one of 174 co-sponsors).

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Hawk announces bid for speaker of TN House

Rep. David Hawk (R-Greenville) announces his bid for House speaker at a press conference in Nashville on Aug. 15, 2018 (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Rep. David Hawk of Greeneville is running for speaker of the House.

Wednesday’s announcement makes Hawk the first second official candidate to succeed Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), who couldn’t run for the state House again because she decided to run for governor. Rep. Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) announced his bid in June.

Hawk stressed his role in coming up with an alternative road funding plan that would not have included the 6-cent tax increased on each gallon of gas. Hawk’s plan failed in the House though with 37 of 71 Republicans voting in favor, he said. The chamber ended up approving Gov. Bill Haslam’s Improve Act that also included cuts to the state’s tax on earnings from stocks and bonds, the sales tax on groceries, and taxes paid by manufacturers.

Hawk noted that he voted against the Improve Act, while his likely rivals for the speakership, Reps. Johnson and Glen Casada of Franklin,, voted in favor of version of the bill.

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U.S. Chamber endorses Blackburn

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn speaks at a forum hosted by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce at Lipscomb University in Nashville on Aug. 15, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn has received the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Marsha has a strong record of supporting pro-business policies that help create jobs and grow our economy,” Rob Engstrom, senior vice president and national political director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a release. “In Congress, she has worked to cut unnecessary regulations and create an economic climate that allows businesses to thrive.”

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Bredesen’s latest ad features Democrat at childhood home

In Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen’s latest ad, the former governor travels back to the upstate New York home and discusses growing up in the home of his grandmother, who worked as a seamstress and had 11 children.

“Washington is filled with educated, secure people who love telling the rest of us how to live. I want to turn this upside-down,” Bredesen says in the ad. “I want to tell Washington instead how we want to live and put them to work making it happen.”

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Bredesen calls for four Senate debates

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen speaks to reporters after a Farm Bureau speech in Franklin on Aug. 9, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Democrat Phil Bredesen is calling for four U.S. Senate debates around the state. No word yet from Republican Marsha Blackburn whether she’s interested in joining him.

The four debates that Bredesen has approved of are at Rhodes College in Memphis, Cumberland University in Lebanon, the Tivoli Theater in Chattanooga, and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

The first debate would occur on Sept. 13, while the final one would take place Oct. 10.

“I want this campaign to be about ideas because that’s what  Tennesseans expect from their leaders,” Bredesen said in a release.

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Dems blast Blackburn for links to tea party figure who had law license suspended

Democrats are blasting Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn for her links to a tea party leader who had his law license suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court last week.

Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation and an enthusiastic Blackburn supporter, had his law license yanked by the state Supreme Court’s board of professional responsibility on the basis that he “poses a threat of substantial harm to the public” if he is allowed to continue to practice. The Democrats’ coordinated Tennessee Victory 2018 campaign called on Blackburn to disavow Phillips.

“While Marsha Blackburn was harping over old tweets and bad jokes last week, the Supreme Court was busy suspending the law license of her most ardent and radical supporter, Judson Phillips,” spokesman Mark Brown, who wrote the tweets that Republicans have making great hay out of, said in a release. “If Blackburn doesn’t reject the endorsement of Phillips and his Tea Party Nation, she’s turning a blind eye to their extremist and now, according to the State of Tennessee, illegal activities.”

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PAC running ads promoting Blackburn

The Senate Leadership Fund is now running television ads in support of Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn. The ad features footage of President Donald Trump endorsing Blackburn at a rally in Nashville in May.

Cohen says he was joking about Blackburn, GOP blasts him for ‘violent remarks’

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the Republican Senate nominee in Tennessee, speaks at a Farm Bureau event in Franklin on Aug. 9, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) says he was joking when he said at a recent prayer breakfast he hoped that President Trump would tell Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn to jump off a bridge. Republicans are blasting Cohen for “violent remarks” and a failure to sufficiently apologize. They also criticize Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen, who was in attendance during Cohen’s remarks, for not saying anything about it at the time.

The Huffington Post first reported about the remarks made at the Broadway Baptist Church in Memphis last month:

The big orange president …. He’s going to come down here and he is going to endorse Marsha Blackburn, because Marsha Blackburn, if he says, ‘Jump off the Harahan Bridge,’ she’ll jump off the Harahan Bridge. I wish he’d say that.

The remark was met with laughter.

“It was obviously humor,” Cohen told the Huffington Post.  “I wish her no harm. I hope she doesn’t get the Senate. And I wish she wasn’t a lackey for Trump. But I don’t wish her physical harm.”

 

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