super tuesday

Bloomberg drops out, endorses Biden

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg waits backstage during a rally in Chattanooga on Feb. 12, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Mike Bloomberg, who spent about $8 million on ads and hired more than 40 staffers in Tennessee, is dropping out of the presidential race. The former New York mayor is endorsing Joe Biden, who won Tennessee on Tuesday.

Bloomberg had pledged to dedicate his money and campaign machinery to support the nominee if he didn’t win the nomination.

Biden wins Democratic presidential primary in Tenenssee

Former Vice President Joe Biden rode a wave of momentum from his South Carolina win on Saturday to big victories in Tennessee and other Southern states on Tuesday.

With more than three-quarters of precincts reporting, Biden had 42% of the vote, compared with 25% for Bernie Sanders, 16% for Mike Bloomberg, and 10% for Elizabeth Warren.

Biden won or was leading in 91 of the state’s 95 counties, with is top vote totals coming in Shelby, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Hamilton, and Rutherford counties.

Sanders had his biggest vote total in Knox County, home of the University of Tennessee’s flagship campus in Knoxville, but ended up being edged by Biden by 161 votes. Sanders carried Washington County, where Eastern Tennessee State University is located, and Putnam County, the home of Tennessee Tech, plus Unicoi and Lewis counties.

Bloomberg showed solid results around the state as early votes were tallied, but began to fade as primary-day ballots started flowing in.

25 killed in Middle Tennessee tornadoes, legislature resumes regular business

At least 25 people have been killed in severe weather that tore through Middle Tennessee early Tuesday, including 14 in Putnam County alone.

The start of Super Tuesday voting was delayed by an hour in Nashville after a overnight tornado touched down in the city causing widespread damage. In addition to the Putnam County fatalities, three died in Wilson County, two in Davidson County, and one in Benton County.

The storm did major damage to the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville, just north of the state Capitol complex. A power outage at the Cordell Hull Building led legislative leaders to cancel all morning committee meetings. The cancellations meant a week-long delay of Senate hearings on an effort to cut the privilege tax for brokers, doctors, and attorneys.

But a decision to resume activities at 1 p.m. meant bills could still get hearings on implementing sweeping restrictions on access to abortions in Tennessee and allowing adults to carry firearms in public without a permit. Legislation to grant 12 weeks of paid leave for state employees to care for a new child or sick family member was put off by a week.

Gov. Bill Lee ordered all non-essential state employees in Middle Tennessee to stay home.

“We have activated the State Emergency Operations Center and are engaged with emergency and local officials throughout the affected areas,” he said in a statement. “Please join Maria and me in praying for the victims, their families, and all those tragically affected by this storm.”

Secretary of State Tre Hargett ordered the polls to open an hour late in Nashville, but they are still scheduled to close at the normal time of 7 p.m. Central. Nashville voters whose polling places were damaged by the storm can vote in alternate locations outlined here.

One heavily damaged building was the Basement East, a music venue in East Nashville that had been the site of a “Berniefest” fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Staffers cleaning up after the show huddled in the basement as the storm tore off the roof and destroyed a large exterior deck, according to reports.

The Monday evening event at the Basement East, which was heavily damaged by a tornado in Nashville on March 3, 2020.

 

Chattanooga Mayor Berke backing Biden after Buttigieg drops out

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has switched his endorsement to Joe Biden after Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race.

“In 2015, when a gunman attacked two military facilities in Chattanooga and senselessly killed five brave servicemembers who proudly served our country, Joe Biden, who has lost too many loved ones, showed up to console the heartbroken families,” Berke said in a release. “In a moment of horrific tragedy, Joe Biden helped heal our community. That’s the type of leader Joe is and it’s why I believe he is uniquely positioned to bring our nation together.”

As recently as Saturday, Berke was at a Nashville rally supporting Buttigieg, who dropped out after a disappointing finish when the the South Carolina primary results were released later that day.

“Let’s put someone in the White House who will unite all Americans, bring dignity to the most powerful office in the world, and fight every day for hardworking families in Chattanooga and across the nation,” Berke said. “I am proud to endorse Joe Biden for President of the United States.”

Tennessee’s presidential primary is on Tuesday.

Here’s what Democratic candidates have spent in Tennessee before the Super Tuesday primary

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg meets with supporters after speaking at a rally in Chattanooga on Feb. 12, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has made up three-quarters of the more than $10 million Democratic candidates have spent in Tennessee in advance of the Super Tuesday primary.

According to spending tracker Advertising Analytics, Bloomberg has dropped $7.7 million on broadcast televisions, cable, digital, and radio ads. Bernie Sanders has spent about $567,000, the Elizabeth Warren-supporting Persist PAC $446,000, and Joe Biden $179,000.

Among former candidates, Amy Klobuchar had spent about $817,000,  Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer $604,000, and Pete Buttigieg $40,000.

Here’s a breakdown from Advertising Analytics:

Advertiser Broadcast Cable Digital Radio Total
Bloomberg 5,305,465 451,482 1,438,611 474,386 7,669,944
Klobuchar 543,013 225,375  –  – 816,859
Steyer 446,931 42,848 79,705  – 604,057
Sanders 398,681 94,054 74,432  – 567,167
Persist PAC 371,415 74,971  –  – 446,386
Biden 166,141  –  – 12,697 178,838
Buttigieg  –  – 39,926  – 39,926
TOTALS 7,231,646 888,730 1,632,674 487,083 10,323,177

(This post has been updated to reflect Klobuchar dropping out of the race)

The weekend in Super Tuesday campaigning in Tennessee

Two Democratic candidates have dropped out of the presidential race after campaigning in Tennessee over the weekend.

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg drew a big crowd for  a rally in downtown Nashville on Saturday, just hours before the results of the South Carolina primary would spell the end of his bid for the  nomination. City officials estimated more than 2,700 people attended the event outside the Metro Courthouse.

Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race on Monday Amy Klobuchar. The U.S. senator from Minnesota had held events in Nashville on Friday and Knoxville on Saturday. Neither were affected by the sort of protests that caused the Minnesota Democrat to cancel a St. Louis rally on Sunday.

South Carolina winner Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, headlined a fundraiser in Belle Meade on Sunday evening. Per the pool report by The Tennessean’s Emily West, the event was hosted at the home of Andrew and Marianne Byrd. The Byrd family founded the Iroquois Steeplechase horse race in the 1940s.

Here are some of Jill Biden’s comments at the event:

I am going to take you back to the last election, 2016. I want you to remember how you felt when Florida went red and watching the results. Think about that sick feeling you had when you realized Donald Trump was president. I went to bed figuring, ‘Hillary has it,’ and I am going to bed. Then I got up and they said Trump had one. I went and turned the TV up louder. I couldn’t believe he had won. We all felt horrible.

So now think about the election 2020. I want you to think about those that went from red to blue. They aren’t liberal. They weren’t won with promises of revolution, but they are on the front lines of progress. Moderate democrats are doing the hard work of building coalitions and common ground. They don’t compromise their values. They can’t get anything done unless they appeal to Democrats, independents, and, yes, Republicans. It’s not by taking an all or nothing stance. It’s not by making promises you can’t keep. It’s by building the bonds of community and community is what this is all about. Not just to win elections but to make this world a better place.

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg campaigned in Memphis, Clarksville, and Blountville on Friday.

“I’m running to restore honor to our government and to build a country that we’re proud of and to start getting things done — and to start putting ‘united’ back in the United States of America,” Bloomberg at a rally at the Tri-Cities airport, according to the Johnson City Press.

(This post has been updated to reflect Klobuchar dropping out of the race.)

Bloomberg to return for three Tenn. stops Friday

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks to reporters after a rally in Chattanooga on Feb. 12, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is returning for another three stops in Tennessee on Friday.

The former New York mayor will campaign in Memphis on Friday morning, Clarksville in the early afternoon, and Johnson City that evening.

“Tennessee is often ignored by Democratic presidential contenders, so we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Mike back for his fourth trip to the state,” Bloomberg state director Courtney Wheeler said in a release. “Our field team connects with voters every day, and it’s clear that they want a president who is committed to working with our local leaders to solve our biggest challenges.”

Bloomberg last visited Chattanooga and Nashville on Feb. 12. He’s also made previous stops in Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville.

Bloomberg won’t be the only Democratic candidate in the state that day. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is planning a fundraiser in Nashville on Friday.

Tuesday is last day of early voting in Tennessee

Image: Secretary of State’s office.

Early voting for Tennessee’s presidential primary ends on Tuesday.

About 199,000 people voted early through Saturday, down from 208,000 through the same period in 2016. There had been 29,228 fewer Republican ballots casts through the first 10 days, compared with an increase of nearly 20,000  Democratic ones. GOP voters still accounted for 55% of the early votes cast, but that was down from 66% in the 2016 primary.

Democrats have seen their biggest gains in Shelby County (+4,116 votes), Hamilton (+2,023), Williamson (+1,961), Davidson (1,808), and Knox (+1,417) counties.

Republican turnout has been most depressed in Davidson (-4,087), Knox (-3,907), Rutherford (-2,359), Shelby (-2,202), Monroe (-1,681), and Sumner (-1,459) counties.

Wilson County has had the highest increase in turnout compared with 2016, with 2,560 more voters casting ballots (1,423 Republicans and 1,083 Democrats).  The next highest increases were in Shelby (+1,914), Washington (+1,766), Blount (+891), and Williamson (+783).

Tennessee’s Super Tuesday primary is on March 3.

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Bloomberg to campaign in Chattanooga, Nashville on Wednesday

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is scheduled to appear in Chattanooga and Nashville on Wednesday, the first day of early voting for Tennessee’s Super Tuesday presidential primary.

Bloomberg previously visited Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville in December and January, while most of the other candidates have been focused on the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primaries. Bloomberg decided to sit those contests out in favor of concentrating on the far larger number of delegates available on Super Tuesday.

Bloomberg’s Tennessee events are being held at the  Bessie Smith Cultural Center in Chattanooga at 2 p.m. Eastern and at Rocketown in Nashville at 7 p.m. Central. The latter was a favorite among Republicans running for president in the 2016 cycle, including Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich.

Here’s the release from the Bloomberg campaign:

NASHVILLE — Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg will be in Chattanooga and Nashville on Wednesday, February 12 to hold rallies marking the start of early voting in the state ahead of the Super Tuesday primary.

This is Mike’s third trip to Tennessee since announcing his candidacy in late November.

In late December, Mike announced his national healthcare policy in Memphis and kicked off the grand opening of the state campaign headquarters in Nashville. He returned to the state on January 10 to open the Knoxville regional field office.

“The time, resources and attention Mike gives Tennessee shows his care and focus on Tennessee voters,” said Courtney Wheeler, Tennessee state director for Mike Bloomberg 2020. “We are glad to see he cares about our voices and are looking forward to giving him another big welcome this week.

The campaign’s deep presence in Tennessee is part of Bloomberg’s  campaign to engage voters, win delegates on Super Tuesday and defeat Donald Trump.

 

When is the voter registration deadline? Don’t ask the Dems

Monday is the voter registration deadline for Tennessee’s Super Tuesday presidential primary. An email blast from the state Democratic Party sent out on Friday alerted supporters that that deadline was on March 3 — the date of the actual primary. The party sent out a corrected release the following day.

Graphic: Tennessee Journal.

The date of the voter registration deadline was correct in the body of the email blast, but not in the headline.

All the action this year is in the Democratic primary, given that President Donald Trump hasn’t drawn any serious opposition on the Republican side.

Here’s the graphic that accompanied both emails from the Democrats: