Karl Dean

New Nashville mayor’s transition team raises eyebrows

A  Tennessean report about Nashville Mayor-elect John Cooper’s transition team included several items that raised eyebrows. One was the selection as Greg Hinote, an aide to former Mayor Karl Dean, whose pro-development record ran counter to Cooper’s neighborhoods-first platform. The other was Victor Ashe, the former four-term Knoxville mayor and Republican state senator. Though it turns out there’s a pretty big caveat to the latter’s role in the transition.

Ashe, it turns out, retired after 20 years on the faculty of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he has been involved in the biannual Seminar on Transition for Newly-Elected Mayors (this year’s version is scheduled for Dec. 3 to Dec. 5).

“I am happy to share with mayor-elect Cooper my experience in transition to the mayor’s office, issues likely to be faced in short term, and how to prepare for it,” Ashe said in an email.

Meanwhile, there has been great rejoicing among legislative Republicans about the defeat of incumbent Nashville Mayor David Briley. But it remains to be seen how long the lovefest between the GOP and the brother of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) will endure.

Former gubernatorial candidate Dean rescued following sailboat fire in Arctic

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean speaks to a business group in Nashville on March 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, the Democratic nominee in last year’s governor’s race, was rescued in the Arctic following a sailboat fire, The Tennessean reports.

Dean and fellow travelers were told told to evacuate at about 4:30 a.m. local time on Sunday because of large amounts of smoke developing below deck. Two Norwegian rescue helicopters arrived to rescue them after about 10 minutes in life boats.

“Our job really in the moment the smoke was discovered was to do what we were told,” Dean told the newspaper in a phone interview. “We were very good at doing that. And we were very confident that we were going to be OK.”

Read the full account here.

A “good to great” flashback for Dean?

When Karl Dean first ran for Nashville mayor in 2007, rival Bob Clement ran TV ads espousing his plan for taking the city “from good to great.” If that sounds familiar, it’s because Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee is making a similar pitch in this year’s governor’s race again Dean.

The idea is pulled from a 2001 management book by Michael C. Collins called Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Other’s Don’t. Lee likes to talk about the concept of taking Tennessee from good to great on the campaign trail (and as he tries to avoid criticizing the achievements of term limited Gov. Bill Haslam, a fellow Republican.

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Lee in new ad: ‘You’ve got a pretty clear choice’

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee in a new ad calls his Democratic opponent Karl Dean “a good man,” but says the election gives voters a “pretty clear choice.”

Lee’s ad comes as Dean has ratcheted up his criticism of the Republican’s positions (such as supporting school vouchers and permitless gun carry) as “extreme.”

Here’s a transcript of what Lee says in the ad:

Well this race is almost over, and you’ve got a pretty clear choice. My opponent is a good man. A public servant. My background’s a little different. I’m an outsider, a farmer, a businessman, chairman of a company with 1,200 employees. Tennessee is a wonderful place, but we’ve got some big challenges, and the next four years, we need a governor who can lead us from good to great. If you agree, I’d sure appreciate your vote.

New Dean ad (produced pre-Pittsburgh) takes on mass shootings

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean discusses mass shootings and his opposition to arming teachers and getting rid of permit requirements to carry handguns in public. The ad was filmed before the fatal shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, which the campaign said illustrated once again how “families and communities can be shattered by senseless gun violence.”

“After every mass shooting, my thoughts go to my kids and my wife, Anne, and how devastating this would be for any family,” Dean says in the ad. He goes on to say:

I’m Karl Dean, and we can respect the right to bear arms while protecting our families. But Bill Lee supports concealed carry without a permit, making it hard to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, and he’d let teachers bring guns into the classroom. I’m against permitless carry and arming teachers. It’s a real difference with life-changing consequences.

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Dean in new ad calls Lee’s positions ‘extreme’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean has a new ad out that labels Republican Bill Lee’s views as ‘extreme’ on guns, vouchers, and Medicaid expansion.

Here’s the release from the Dean campaign:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean will start airing a TV ad Saturday comparing his common-sense vision of a compassionate, forward-looking Tennessee with opponent Bill Lee’s extreme, ideological policies.
Titled “Would You Want,” the ad helps voters understand the stark choice they face in the Nov. 6 election for governor, with early voting now underway through Nov. 1.
“Would you want a governor who would give public school funds to private schools? Or arm teachers and allow guns in classrooms? Or deny healthcare to hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans and let our tax dollars fund healthcare in other states?” Dean says, speaking directly to the camera throughout the 30-second spot.
“I’m Karl Dean, and that’s the choice in this election. Bill Lee believes all of that; I don’t. I’m not the flashiest guy running, but we don’t need an extreme governor who would take us backward. Let’s keep Tennessee moving forward.”

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Mandatory shop class? Lee proposes vocational training for all students

After Republican Bill Lee’s previous ad touting “20-year solutions” for education and health care became the target of Democratic rival Karl Dean, the Franklin businessman has released a new spot offering some more specifics: He appears to want to require vocational training for all students in Tennessee.

“Every student should have at least some vocational training. It might mean welding. It might mean coding. It might mean ag,” Lee says in the ad. “But we’ve got to start our kids out early. High school, middle school.”

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Lee, Dean prepare for second of three debates

Bill Lee speaks at a unity press conference in Nashville on Aug. 4, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Karl Dean are headed into their second of three debates in Kingsport on Tuesday evening.

Andy Sher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the pressure is on Dean.

“If you look at the polling, Karl Dean needs to do something in these debates to change the direction of the race,” said Kent Syler, an assistant professor of political science at Middle Tennessee State University.

Syler said he looks for Dean “to be aggressive and work to find issues that differentiate him from Bill Lee and also score points with voters.”

The Tennessean’s Joel Ebert reports that Dean “didn’t clearly dominate the first of three gubernatorial debates” in Memphis las week, and that the former Nashville mayor has been zeroing in on Medicaid expansion.

“Dean’s polling must be showing it’s having some effect because he continues to talk about it and hammer on it,” said John Geer, a Vanderbilt University political science professor.

“There’s still probably a bit of an edge for Dean on this issue — whether it’s enough to transform the race that’s a much bigger and more difficult question to answer.”

Dean was in Jackson on Monday touting his support for broadband, health care and the Memphis Regional Megasite, reports the Jackson Sun’s Adam Friedman:

“My three priorities are public education, public safety and economic development,” Dean said in his opening remarks. “They’re the three pitches you have to hit every day — if you hit them, everything else will take care of itself.”

On eve of Trump visit, state GOP blasts Dean for ‘out-of-state reinforcements’

On the heels of yesterday’s announcement that President Donald Trump is returning to Tennessee next week to campaign and raise money for Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, the state GOP has issued a release blasting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean for resorting to “out-of-state reinforcements” in the form of former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Among the things the state GOP takes issue with about McAuliffe for are that he:

  • Was the governor of the only southern state to vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump.
  • Presided over more the introduction of more expensive highway tolls and supported higher taxes in northern Virginia to help fund the Metro.
  • Said impeachment of the president “ought to” be looked at.

“While Karl Dean continues to align himself with national Democrats like Ashley Judd and now Gov. Terry McAuliffe who are determined to undermine the president’s agenda, Bill Lee is spending his time meeting with Tennesseans in every county talking about his vision for this state,” state Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden said in a release.

Blackburn has had several out-0f-state Republicans rally to her cause beyond Trump. They include Vice President Mike Pence (twice) and Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Joni Ernst of Iowa.

Asked recently by The Associated Press whether he wanted national Democrats like former President Barack Obama to come campaign on his behalf, Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen said simply, “No.”

Dean takes aim at Lee over Medicaid expansion

A new ad by Democrat Karl Dean is taking aim at Republican gubernatorial rival Bill Lee over Medicaid expansion.

“I’ve stood next to Bill Lee when he’s been adamantly against expanding medicaid, even though it means more shut down hospitals and higher costs on all of us,” Dean says in the ad.

Dean notes in the spot that Tennessee doesn’t get back the full amount that it pays into the federal Medicaid program.

“I’ll expand Medicaid and bring our tax dollars home,” Dean says.

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