Monthly Archives: July 2018

Lee Co. sends cease-and-desist letter to Black campaign

Bill Lee’s plumbing and HVAC company has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the campaign of rival Republican gubernatorial candidate Diane Black, calling for the removal of information about the company’s treatment of a veteran who was once employed there.

The Tennessean reports that the company said the Black campaign was “deliberately misrepresenting” the facts surrounding the legal dispute between Lee Co. and an Army National Guard member who claimed wrongful termination in a federal lawsuit.

“We have learned that the Diane Black for Governor campaign is deliberately misrepresenting actions taken by Lee Company that relate to a former employee who served as a Tennessee National Guardsman,” according to the letter by Lee Co. general counsel Jason Hale. “You have also misrepresented our company’s attitude toward and treatment of veterans in these communications.”

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Man indicted for making threats to Black

U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) speaks at a Republican event in Nashville on May 7, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A federal grand jury in Chattanooga has indicted a man for making threats to U.S. Rep. Diane Black, a Republican candidate for governor.

The Associated Press reports that the indictment against Clifton Ward was filed on June 26. Black went on Fox News this week to discuss the matter, saying the man left her voicemails, saying that the arrest makes her family feel better.

The indictment says Ward threatened to assault and kill the congresswoman. News accounts say the threats came after she introduced a bill to allow crowdfunding to pay for a wall on the Mexican border.


Haslam grants clemency to four Tennesseans

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has granted executive clemency to four Tennesseans: Michelle Lea Martin, Ralph Randall Reagan, Robert James Sheard Jr., and Steven Lee Kennedy. “The governor continues to review and consider additional clemency requests,” according to a release.

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Knoxville News Sentinel endorses Boyd

Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd speaks to reporters in Belle Meade on July 25, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Randy Boyd has been endorsed by his hometown newspaper, the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The newspaper praises the Knoxville businessman for his “full-blown, thoughtful platform addressing jobs, education, health care and rural development.”

“But he wasn’t about to be torpedoed by more-conservative-than-thou demagoguery,” the paper editorialized. “When U.S. Rep. Diane Black came out with an attack ad questioning his conservative credentials, he fired back.”

The Boyd endorsements comes after the conservative side of the Chattanooga Times Free Press’ opinion pages endorsed Bill Lee in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Rose ad hits back at ‘Swampy Bob Corlew’

Former Agriculture Commissioner John Rose’s congressional campaign is hitting back at Republican rival Bob Corlew, saying he was called a “dedicated Democrat” when he ran for judge and tried to give himself a 775% pay raise as a member of the Murfreesboro City Council in the 1980s.

“Swampy Bob Corlew cannot change Washington, he’s part of the problem,” the narrator says. “Part of the swamp.”

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Corlew ad picks up on opponent-as-child theme

Former Murfreesboro Judge Bob Corlew’s latest TV ad in the Republican primary for the 6th Congressional District portrays his opponent John Rose as a child.

It’s a theme we’ve seen before this election season in an ad run by House Speaker Beth Harwell against her Republican rivals in the governor’s race. Who did it better?


Anti-Boyd website questions pollster’s links to Lee campaign

Businessman Bill Lee speaks at his campaign headquarters opening in Franklin on Feb. 12, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A conservative website that has long targeted Randy Boyd’s gubernatorial bid is raising questions about ties between one of its favored Republican candidates, Bill Lee, and a poll that suggested he had surged to a 6-point lead over Boyd.

The Tennessee Star notes that Lee’s general consultants Blake Harris and Jordan Gehrke have links to JMC Analytics and Polling, the company that released what it billed as a “completely independent” poll in the Tennessee governor’s race this week. Harris and Gehrke are partners in Vertical Strategies and Victory Phones respectively, companies that share a Grand Rapids, Mich., address with another company called Advictory. Lee’s campaign has spent heavily on Advictory and Victory Phones — a company that has been listed as an auto-dialer for JMC polls in other states (the company did not disclose its auto-dialer for the Tennessee poll).

Boyd campaign CEO Chip Saltsman immediately dismissed the poll as “bogus” and said it looked like a “publicity stunt by the Lee campaign to try and artificially create some momentum.”

JMC founder John Couvillon told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he has no clients in Tennessee and decided to poll the GOP primary as a “completely independent project” because there were few other public polls run in the state.

Emmylou Harris endorses Dean for governor

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

Grammy award winner Emmylou Harris endorsed former Nashville Karl Dean’s bid for governor and was scheduled to headline a fundraiser for the Democrat in Nashville on Monday evening.

“Emmylou often uses her musical gifts to bring attention to issues she’s passionate about,” Dean said in a release. “I’m honored that she’s chosen to put her energy and her time into supporting my candidacy.”

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New Black ad calls Boyd, Lee “good men, but they’re moderates’

Diane Black’s latest TV ad goes back to touting her accomplishments in Congress — and footage of President Donald Trump recognizing her at events. Opponents Bill Lee and Randy Boyd, the narrator says, “are good men, but they’re moderates — the kind of Republicans who help Democrats get elected.”


Boyd campaign slams poll showing Lee leading GOP gov’s race

The Randy Boyd campaign is unimpressed by a poll suggesting Bill Lee is leading the Republican primary contest for governor by 6 percentage points.

“No one should fall for a deeply-flawed poll cooked up at the 11th hour by some unknown pollster,” said Boyd campaign CEO Chip Saltsman.

It’s not the first time Saltsman has railed against the methodology of a poll promoting one of Boyd’s GOP rivals. In March he charged that a poll touted by the Diane Black campaign showing her with a 14-point lead over Boyd was “bogus.” Saltsman used that same term to describe the new JMC Analytics poll.

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