Democrats

House Democrats call for Casada’s removal as speaker

House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) speaks to Republican colleagues in Nashville on April 23, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

House Democrats are calling for Rep. Glen Casada’s removal as speaker following the resignation of his chief of staff.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE–Members of the House Democratic Caucus are demanding the removal of Rep. Glen Casada as Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives.  Casada’s Chief of Staff Cade Cothren resigned yesterday after recent media reports that he used illegal drugs in the legislative building, solicited oral sex from an intern in a text message and also sent racist and sexist texts to others, including the Speaker.  It is now clear that Speaker Casada participated in numerous acts that make his continued service as Speaker untenable, including:

  • Casada joked with Cothren about a picture of a woman dancing on a pole, asking Cothren at one point, “Can I just touch?”, and saying “nice pics”.
  • In another text, the two joked about how long a sexual encounter Cothren claimed to have with a woman lasted. Casada asked Cothren, “R u a minute man?” Cothren responded by saying, “Yes, I take after you. Like Father, like son.”
  • Another exchange between the two included Cothren using a racist meme that was labeled “black people” when he was referring to a West Tennessee voting district.

Democratic Leader Karen Camper said: “Citizens of the State of Tennessee deserve to have a Speaker that they can trust; whose character and moral standards are beyond reproach.  The actions of our Speaker are unbecoming and disrespectful, not only to the citizens of our state, but to the office he holds.”  Caucus Chair Mike Stewart added: “Actions have consequences; Speaker Casada’s actions are obviously disqualifying and he must either resign or be removed.”

Mancini cruises to another term as chair of Tennessee Democrats

Mary Mancini has turned back a challenge from Holly McCall to be elected to another term as chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party. The Tennessean’s Joey Garrison was there:

Mancini got 70% of the vote, compared with 28% for McCall — a similar margin McCall lost by when she ran for the state House against Republican Sam Whitson in 2016.

The Democrats’ decision to keep Mancini in charge follows a move by Tennessee Republicans’ decision to keep Scott Golden for another two-year term as chairman.

Democratic PAC makes last-minute TV buy in race for Harwell seat

The independent expenditure arm of the state House Democratic Caucus is making a last-minute television ad buy in support of Bob Freeman, the Nashville Democrat running to succeed retiring House Speaker Beth Harwell.

The Tennessee Tomorrow PAC is spending $77,325 on the ads to run between Saturday and Monday. The PAC’s largest funder is real estate mogul Bill Freeman, who has donated $200,000. The elder Freeman was an unsuccessful mayoral candidate in in Nashville in 2015 despite dropping $3.5 million of his own money into the race.

Bob Freeman faces Republican Brent Moody in the House District 56 race. Harwell was re-elected in 2016 despite the district voting for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the presidential election. The race to succeed Harwell is considered the Democrats’ best chance in their efforts to pick up seats on Tuesday.

The Tennessee Tomorrow PAC has raised $530,000 since the beginning of the third quarter. Besides Bill Freeman’s $200,000, other big donations include $50,000 from the Tennessee Education Association, $50,000 from Laroche Enterprises, and $20,000 each from Friends of Darren Jernigan, George Bright, Mike Stewart, and the U.S. Rep Jim Cooper’s PAC.

Democrat Tate gets endorsement from GOP’s Matheny

As state Sen. Reginald Tate fights to hold on to his Memphis seat in a tight Democratic primary, an endorsement from the likes of state Rep. Judd Matheny, a Republican congressional candidate, might not exactly be high on his wish list.But that’s what Tate got from the Tullahoma Republican, who called him “a fine man that understands the plight of African Americans.” Mantheny, who once questioned whether a mop sink in a Capitol restroom was a Muslim foot bath, also mentions that he and Tate toured Europe to “study Islam.”

Tate has been trying to fend off criticism in his heavily-Democratic district that he has been took keen to work with Republicans in the legislature. He faces Katrina Robinson, a business owner and nurse in the Aug. 2 primary.

Dean, Fitzhugh clash on charter schools, NRA and fed flood money

In a head-to-head Nashville debate, the two leading Democrats in Tennessee’s gubernatorial race tussled during a debate Tuesday over charter schools, the National Rifle Association and one candidate’s use of federal flood money to build a downtown Nashville amphitheater, reports the Associated Press.

State House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh quickly questioned ex-Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s history of charter school support. Fitzhugh pointed out he has the endorsement of the Tennessee Education Association teachers group.

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Craig Fitzhugh has a TV ad

 

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Bredesen, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones talk bipartisanship at Democratic fundraiser; $450K collected

In Saturday night speeches to the Tennessee Democratic Party’s Three Star Dinner, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and former Gov. Phil Bredesen struck similar themes, saying a willingness to work with Republicans is the way to change Democrats’ political fortunes in the Volunteer state. Party officials say about $450,000 was raised at the event in Lebanon.

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Judge rules Cohen opponent can run in Democratic primary, contrary to state party action

Shelby County Chancellor Walter Evans has ruled that M. LaTroy Alexandria-Williams can run as a Democrat against U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen in the August primary, reports the Commercial Appeal.

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Dean and Fitzhugh on the stump: ‘It’s our turn’ and Democrats are excited

Excerpt of comments by Democratic gubernatorial candidates Karl Dean and Craig Fitzhugh to the Maury County Democratic Party’s annual fundraising dinner on Saturday night, as reported by Columbia Daily Herald Editor James Bennett:

(The piece begins with Bennett declaring there was a remarkable attitude contrast with the same event held prior to the 2016 elections — Democrats then “were walking around with their tails between their legs” while this year “Democrats were sticking out their chests and making bold predictions about 2018.”)

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Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators endorses Fitzhugh for governor

Press release from Craig Fitzhugh campaign

 Memphis, TN – Today, Members of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators have formally announced their endorsement for Craig Fitzhugh for Tennessee Governor.  In making the announcement, members called Fitzhugh a long-time ally of the Caucus and said he has worked diligently with black legislators during (his) legislative tenure.

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