Bill Lee

Lee mailer: ‘Good thing he’s a master plumber’

Bill Lee’s latest campaign mailer says his Republican opponents are throwing the “kitchen sink” at him. The mailer’s retort: “Good thing he’s a master plumber.” The piece then goes on to list Lee’s bona fides as they relate to guns, abortion, and sanctuary cities.

Feels like somehow they missed an opportunity to say something about how he’s uniquely qualified to unclog the drain of the Nashville swamp…

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Lee Co. sends cease-and-desist letter to Black campaign

Bill Lee’s plumbing and HVAC company has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the campaign of rival Republican gubernatorial candidate Diane Black, calling for the removal of information about the company’s treatment of a veteran who was once employed there.

The Tennessean reports that the company said the Black campaign was “deliberately misrepresenting” the facts surrounding the legal dispute between Lee Co. and an Army National Guard member who claimed wrongful termination in a federal lawsuit.

“We have learned that the Diane Black for Governor campaign is deliberately misrepresenting actions taken by Lee Company that relate to a former employee who served as a Tennessee National Guardsman,” according to the letter by Lee Co. general counsel Jason Hale. “You have also misrepresented our company’s attitude toward and treatment of veterans in these communications.”

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Anti-Boyd website questions pollster’s links to Lee campaign

Businessman Bill Lee speaks at his campaign headquarters opening in Franklin on Feb. 12, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A conservative website that has long targeted Randy Boyd’s gubernatorial bid is raising questions about ties between one of its favored Republican candidates, Bill Lee, and a poll that suggested he had surged to a 6-point lead over Boyd.

The Tennessee Star notes that Lee’s general consultants Blake Harris and Jordan Gehrke have links to JMC Analytics and Polling, the company that released what it billed as a “completely independent” poll in the Tennessee governor’s race this week. Harris and Gehrke are partners in Vertical Strategies and Victory Phones respectively, companies that share a Grand Rapids, Mich., address with another company called Advictory. Lee’s campaign has spent heavily on Advictory and Victory Phones — a company that has been listed as an auto-dialer for JMC polls in other states (the company did not disclose its auto-dialer for the Tennessee poll).

Boyd campaign CEO Chip Saltsman immediately dismissed the poll as “bogus” and said it looked like a “publicity stunt by the Lee campaign to try and artificially create some momentum.”

JMC founder John Couvillon told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he has no clients in Tennessee and decided to poll the GOP primary as a “completely independent project” because there were few other public polls run in the state.

Boyd campaign slams poll showing Lee leading GOP gov’s race

The Randy Boyd campaign is unimpressed by a poll suggesting Bill Lee is leading the Republican primary contest for governor by 6 percentage points.

“No one should fall for a deeply-flawed poll cooked up at the 11th hour by some unknown pollster,” said Boyd campaign CEO Chip Saltsman.

It’s not the first time Saltsman has railed against the methodology of a poll promoting one of Boyd’s GOP rivals. In March he charged that a poll touted by the Diane Black campaign showing her with a 14-point lead over Boyd was “bogus.” Saltsman used that same term to describe the new JMC Analytics poll.

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Lee has 6-point advantage in new poll

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

Franklin businessman Bill Lee leads the contest for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, according to a new poll. The JMC Analytics and Polling phone poll of 500 registered voters found 26% support for Lee, 20% for Randy Boyd, 19% for Diane Black, and 16% for Beth Harwell. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. Polling site FiveThirtyEight gives JMC at C-plus ranking.

Among the poll’s findings:

“When testing the favorability of the top four contenders, all have over 90% name recognition. Bill Lee’s numbers are the strongest (52-17% favorability ratio). Beth Harwell also has a respectable 39-18% favorability ratio. Randy Boyd’s favorability ratio is 39-31%, while Diane Black is “underwater” 45-30%.”

“In summary, Bill Lee has a lead (but not a secure one) in the primary race for Governor, while the remaining three major candidates are statistically neck and neck with a relatively low undecided percentage less than two weeks from the primary.”

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Lee up with new TV ad claiming GOP opponents are ‘scared’

Republican Bill Lee’s latest ad says in his latest TV ads that his opponents are are attacking him because they’re scared. Because he’s winning, he says.

Black mailer depicts Lee with “Three Liberalteers”

A new mailer from Diane Black’s gubernatorial campaign picks up the theme that Republican rival Bill Lee once gave money to three Democrats: former Gov. Phil Bredesen and former Nashville Mayors Karl Dean and Megan Barry, who are labeled “The Three Liberalteers.” The mailer says Lee “bankrolls liberal Democrats.” What it doesn’t say is that Lee gave a combined $1,750 to Bredesen, Dean, and Barry. Hardly solely responsible for any of those bids afloat, but that doesn’t factor into the increasingly bitter Republican primary campaign.

So will this mailer change any minds?

Wamp endorses Lee for governor

Former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp speaks about his endorsement of Bill Lee in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Chattanooga on July 16, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp is endorsing Franklin businessman Bill Lee’s bid for governor.

Wamp unsuccessfully sought the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2010. So did then-Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, who is a co-chairman of U.S. Rep Diane Black’s bid. Gov. Bill Haslam, the winner of the 2010 contest is remaining neutral in this year’s primary.

“While I originally intended to not take a public stand in this primary race, I have watched closely the tactics, tone and campaign activity of the four GOP candidates,” Wamp said in a release. “Without question, the most positive vision, organization and campaign has come from Bill Lee. No wonder so many in the Gospel and Country music industry are supporting Bill Lee.”

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Black hits Lee for giving to pro-choice candidate, but her husband did same

U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s latest attack ad on Republican gubernatorial rival Bill Lee criticizes him for giving a $1,750 to three Democrats: Phil Bredesen, Karl Dean, and former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, whom the ad labels an abortion supporter. Unmentioned is that Black’s husband, David, once gave $2,000 to a self-described pro-choice candidate.

David Black gave two $1,000 donations to former state Sen. Rosalind Kurita (D-Clarksville), who played a key role in then-Sen. Ron Ramsey’s 2007 election as the the state’s first Republican Senate speaker since Reconstruction.

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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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