presidential campaign

Some county GOP groups bash Haslam for not backing Trump

Some county Republican groups are approving resolutions that criticize Gov. Bill Haslam for refusing two support Donald Trump, the party’s presidential nominee, according to the Times-Free Press.

The newspaper reproduced copies of resolutions approved in Coffee County and Fayette County, adding that similar statements have been reportedly adopted by county GOP organizations in eight other counties –Cannon, Chester, Grundy, Lincoln, Humphreys, Henry, Carroll and Benton.

The Coffee County resolution, adopted by the county GOP executive committee, also criticizes Tennessee Republican Chairman Ryan Haynes for a party statement urging Republicans to “vote their conscience” instead of backing Trump.

Excerpt from the Coffee County resolution:

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Haslam, Alexander, Corker: Trump should accept election results

Tennessee’s three statewide Republican elected officeholders — Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander — all said Thursday that Donald Trump should promptly declare that he will accept the outcome of presidential election.

Trump refused to do so during Wednesday night’s debate with Hillary Clinton and kept the same stance on Thursday.

Haslam, from a Times-Free Press report:

“Our democracy in this republic that’s stood for [240 years] is predicated on a peaceful transfer of power,” Haslam, who last week called on the billionaire businessman and former TV reality star to step aside amid another Trump controversy, told state Capitol reporters today. “And I think one of the basics of that is the acceptance of election results.

Haslam said it’s one thing where there is a situation such as in the 2000 presidential election when Democrat Al Gore of Tennessee legally challenged the razor-thin Florida vote where it was “too close to call.

“It had to be played out,” Haslam said. “But we had a process for playing that out. Again, the whole system is based on a peaceful transfer of power and part of that includes accepting election results.”

Corker, in a tweet: “It is imperative that Donald Trump clearly state that we will accept the results of the election when complete.”

Alexander in a statement: “The most conspicuous and enduring symbol of the American democracy is the freedom to vote for our leaders and the restraint to respect the results.  When you run for public office, you accept the verdict of the voters.”

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New TN poll: Trump 44%, Clinton 34%, Johnson 7%

News release from icitizen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 20, 2016) – In the latest statewide poll released by polling company icitizen, Donald Trump solidly remains the favorite presidential candidate among registered voters in Tennessee.

According to the results, the presidential ballot stands with Donald Trump (44%), Hillary Clinton (34%), Gary Johnson (7%), Jill Stein (2%), someone else (5%), undecided (8%).

“Trump has a commanding lead despite underperforming among his party base,” said icitizen Polling Analyst Cynthia Villacis. “He has support from only 79% of Republicans and 68% of conservatives, but his standing is elevated significantly by a 17-point lead among Independents, an 18-point lead among men and a 20-point lead among seniors. Whether Trump carries Tennessee in November may rest on the Independent vote at the ballot box.”

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Clinton leads Trump, congressmen in TN fundraising

Hillary Clinton continues to lead Donald Trump in Tennessee fundraising and has now collected more in contributions from the state than any of the Tennessee candidates for Congress facing election this year, according reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The Democratic presidential nominee, who is uniformly projected by polls as trailing Republican Trump in seeking Tennessee votes, has nonetheless raised $2,495,960 from donors with Tennessee addresses, according to the FEC figures. Trump has raised $1,211,038.

Among Trump donors is James A. “Jim” Haslam II of Knoxville, father of Gov. Bill Haslam, who donated $5,400 in July, according to FEC reports. Gov. Haslam earlier this month declared he will not vote for Trump and urged him to resign the nomination.

Candidates for federal office had to file new reports on Friday covering the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, and those figures are included in new totals for the 2016 campaign cycle.

All eight incumbent members of the U.S. House seeking reelection this year hold monumental financial leads over their opponents, some of whom have not reported raising or spending any money at all. FEC rules require filing a disclosure if more than $1,000 is raised or spent.

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Trump: Voter fraud ‘very, very common;’ Hargett: Not in TN

With early voting set to begin Wednesday in Tennessee’s 95 counties, Secretary of State Tre Hargett and state Election Coordinator Mark Goins said  Monday they’ve see no evidence of the voter fraud that Donald Trump contends is common  and setting up a rigged election, reports the Times-Free Press.

Asked about Trump’s assertions that his national contest with Democrat Hillary Clinton is “fixed” or “rigged,” Hargett said, “I hesitate to call somebody irresponsible. But, what I will say is that anything that causes people to have less confidence in being able to go vote, I frown upon regardless of what party that comes from.”

Hargett said the only ones asking him questions about potential fraud have been news reporters following up on Trump’s assertions. That resulted in Monday’s news conference, he said.

At the same time, the TFP carries the latest AP story on Trump’s assertions. An excerpt:

Speaking at a rally Monday night in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Trump doubled down on his widely condemned attempts to undermine the election’s outcome, which are unprecedented in modern presidential politics.

“They even want to try to rig the election at the polling booths. And believe me, there’s a lot going on,” Trumptold a rowdy audience. “Do you ever hear these people? They say there’s nothing’s going on. People that have died 10 years ago are still voting. Illegal immigrants are voting. I mean, where are the street smarts of some of these politicians?”

“So many cities are corrupt,” he added, “and voter fraud is very, very common.”

Column: On bold Bill Haslam, Trump turmoil and down-ballot TN races

The political winds have been blowing rather strongly against Tennessee Republicans in the handful of legislative races where the party’s candidates must face general election storms Nov. 8, inspiring Democrats to hope for a tornado or two touching down in isolated areas of the state.

Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a political environment where developments have fallen into place more favorably for the state’s minority party than this year. And a striking thing is that the face of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam may be seen in the clouds that have formed over the Tennessee GOP as the winds blow – most recently in a declaration that he will not vote for Donald Trump and thinks the billionaire celebrity should resign as the party’s presidential nominee.

That’s about the boldest thing Haslam has ever done politically, rivaled only by his proposal for a modified Medicaid expansion plan that was curtly rejected by the Legislature’s Republican Supermajority as an embrace of Obamacare, wildly unpopular in GOP circles generally. Trump, in accord with all the state’s Republican congressmen and most of the party’s legislators, want to repeal it.

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Roundup of recent TNGOP turmoil over Trump

Since Gov. Bill Haslam said last Sunday that he won’t vote for Donald Trump and the state Republican Party subsequently issued a statement saying Tennesseans should “vote their conscience,” there’s been a substantial amount of Tennessee reaction – much of it negative from Republicans.

A sampler:

First, there’s this clarifying (?) statement sent from TNGOP:

“Feelings are strong in this election and interest is high. The focus of the Tennessee Republican Party remains on advancing the conservative cause in our state over the remaining 30 days.  At the same time, the media spotlight has revealed major flaws in both candidates. There is justifiable concern about the repugnant words of one and the appalling record of deception of the other. Every voter has a choice to make. At the end of the day, everyone should follow their convictions and no one should be criticized for doing so.”

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Sundquist: It’s ‘imperative’ that elected Republicans back Trump

While Gov. Bill Haslam has publicly repudiated Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, former Gov. Don Sundquist is taking an opposite stand.

Here’s a statement the former Republican governor emailed to media Friday:

It is imperative that all Republicans, and particularly elected Republicans, support our nominee for President on Election Day. I do not believe our country can survive an extension of the Obama presidency, which is exactly what electing Hillary Clinton will be.  Moreover, a Hillary Clinton Supreme Court will set this country on a course from which we may never recover. I, too, am disgusted by some of what I have seen Donald Trump say, but none of it compares to the malicious, unscrupulous and perverse corruption of the Clintons.

Haslam on Sunday declared that he will not vote for Trump and instead write in another Republican name for president on election day. Elaborating a bit on Thursday, WPLN reports the governor said he believes his move was for the good of the Republican party.

“We struggle already with women, with minorities and with young people, and we’re on a track where we’re not helping that. Having said that, I have real concerns about Hillary Clinton as president,” Haslam said.

… The governor declined to say whether other Republicans should do the same. So far, in Tennessee, Haslam remains a lone voice among GOP officials. But he says Republican voters should make sure to cast their ballots, regardless of who they support.

Haslam’s original statement is below:  Continue reading