David Kustoff

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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Flinn puts $1.4M into rematch with Kustoff

Multimillionaire perennial candidate George Flynn, who lost to Rep. David Kustoff by less than 3,000 votes in the 13-candidate 2016 Republican primary for the 8th Congressional District, has put $1.4 million of personal funds into his 2018 effort to unseat the incumbent, according to a new report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

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Kustoff bill targets financing of illegal opioid trade

Republican U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Memphis) is applauding the passage of his bill targeting the financial networks supporting the illegal drug trade and the opioid epidemic sweeping the country.

The National Strategy for Combating the Financing of Transnational Criminal Organizations Act (H.R. 4768) passed unanimously on Tuesday.

“In order to defeat these criminal organizations, we must track down their financial networks and cut them off at the source,” Kutoff said in a release.

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Fleischmann slightly injured in train wreck; Kustoff and Roe aboard but unharmed

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann was slightly injured Wednesday when a train carrying Republican congressmen to an event in West Virginia hit a garbage truck. Two other Tennessee Republican congressmen—Reps. David Kustoff and Phil Roe – were aboard but not injured in the mishap.

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Kustoff invited to White House Hanukkah Party; Cohen (and other Jewish Democrats) snubbed

President Donald Trump invited the two Republicans members of Congress who are Jewish – Tennessee’s Rep.  David Kustoff and New York Rep. Lee Zeldin – to the White House Hanukkah Party but excluded Jewish Democrats including Tennessee’s Rep. Steve Cohen, reports the New York Times. That was break with tradition, which under past presidents has made the gathering non-partisan.

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On a rural West TN doctor’s fight with feds, backed by area politicians appealing to Alexander, Kustoff

The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has shut off payments to Dr. Bryan Merrick after finding clerical errors in billings through McKenzie Medical Center for a handful of Medicare patients. The move threatens to shut down the center – which serves around 4,000 patients in a rural area with few medical providers — and has brought a bipartisan outpouring of pleas to help Merrick from West Tennessee political leaders to members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, so far without results.

The latest plea was a letter last week from McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander as chairman of the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee, asking him to convene a hearing with the goal of “revocation or modification of a particularly egregious Obama-era regulation” that CMS used in stopping Medicare payments to Merrick that is now “jeopardizing health care to hundreds and eventually thousands of citizens” in Carroll, Weakley and Henry counties. As of this weekend, Alexander had not responded to the letter or a reporter’s email inquiry seeking comment.

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Some TN political junkie reading suggestions, 8/7/2017

On members of Congress running for governor

Diane Black is one of nine current members of the U.S. House who have announced as candidates for governor in their home state and a “handful of others” are mulling the possibility, reports Politico.

But most of the aspiring governors are vacating the comfy confines of safe congressional districts for what, historically, has been a bad bet. The last time this many sitting representatives ran for governor, in 2006, twice as many lost as won.

… The aspiring governors in Ohio and Tennessee have slightly better historical records to fall back on. Both states have seen three sitting lawmakers elected governor since the turn of the 20th century. But the most recent in Ohio is Democrat Ted Strickland in 2006 and in Tennessee, and it’s been nearly a quarter-century since Republican Don Sundquist won in Tennessee, Ostermeier said

TN history note: Before Sundquist, the last member of Congress elected as Tennessee governor was Democrat Ray Blanton in 1974. And before that, it was Democrat Gordon Browning in 1936 (after trying an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 1934).  Browning then lost a bid for reelection, but returned to win the governor’s office again in 1948.

Just a guess, but Black probably will not be emphasizing her historical predecessors in the coming campaign.

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Screaming woman charged with chasing Kustoff car, hitting windshield

A woman has been charged with felony reckless endangerment after allegedly following a car occupied by U.S. Rep. David Kustoff and an aide, then yelling at them and hitting their vehicle when it stopped, according to a Weakley County Sheriff’s Department news release. The congressman had attended a town hall meeting at UT Martin prior to the confrontation.

From the Jackson Sun, quoting the release:

Wendi Wright, 35, followed the vehicle Kustoff and aide Marianne Dunavant were in on U.S. 45, south of Martin….  putting Kustoff and Dunavant in fear of being run off the road.

…When the two vehicles stopped, Wright got out and started screaming and hitting the windshield of Kustoff’s car, the release says. At some point during the incident, Wright reached inside their vehicle and then stood in front of the car in an attempt to block them in the driveway, the release says.

During the altercation, a 911 call was made, but Wright left before Weakley County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived. Wright was identified by police after posting details of the altercation on Facebook.

Wright, of Obion County, was arrested by the Obion County Sheriff’s Office… She has been released from custody on $1,000 bond, and is expected to be arraigned in Weakley County General Sessions Court Monday on charges of felony reckless endangerment.

Note: Kustoff, a Republican from Memphis, was elected to his first term representing Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District last year.

Kustoff’s first bill: Combating Anti-Semitism Act

Freshman Congressman David Kustoff is looking to send a message about the importance of religious freedom with the filing of his first piece of legislation, reports Michael Collins.

“Religious intolerance,” he said, “is not accepted.”

Kustoff’s bill, which the West Tennessee Republican introduced last week with Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wa., was inspired by the recent spate of bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers across the country, including one in Nashville.

The Combating Anti-Semitism Act would increase the federal penalty for making bomb threats and other credible threats of violence against community religious centers. It also would enable authorities to prosecute such acts as a hate crime.

Kustoff, of Germantown, approaches the issue with a perspective shaped by his profession and religion.

He’s a former federal prosecutor. He served two years as the U.S. attorney for West Tennessee. He’s also one of only two Jewish Republicans in the House. 

“Frankly, it wouldn’t matter what my religion is,” Kustoff said, explaining his motivation for the bill. “The government has to send a message that these threats and these actions won’t be tolerated, and they will be prosecuted. If someone breaks the law, they can go to prison for a long time.”

Note: The Kustoff press release on the bill is HERE.  A  separate press release on the brief floor speech he made in support of the measure is HERE.