Monthly Archives: July 2018

Was steak dinner Boyd’s reason for missing debate?

Randy Boyd got the dominoes falling when he declared that he would not attend a televised Republican gubernatorial debate in Knoxville on Sunday because of an unspecified scheduling conflict. Beth Harwell and Diane Black soon followed suit in deciding not to go. Reporter Cari Wade Gervin has scoured the Twitterverse to reveal that “a pricey steakhouse dinner” in Memphis may have been the reason for Boyd dropping out of the debate.

Lee has 6-point advantage in new poll

Tennessee gubernatorial candidates talk education during SCORE event at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, January 23, 2018. (Photo credit: Belmont University)

Franklin businessman Bill Lee leads the contest for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, according to a new poll. The JMC Analytics and Polling phone poll of 500 registered voters found 26% support for Lee, 20% for Randy Boyd, 19% for Diane Black, and 16% for Beth Harwell. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. Polling site FiveThirtyEight gives JMC at C-plus ranking.

Among the poll’s findings:

“When testing the favorability of the top four contenders, all have over 90% name recognition. Bill Lee’s numbers are the strongest (52-17% favorability ratio). Beth Harwell also has a respectable 39-18% favorability ratio. Randy Boyd’s favorability ratio is 39-31%, while Diane Black is “underwater” 45-30%.”

“In summary, Bill Lee has a lead (but not a secure one) in the primary race for Governor, while the remaining three major candidates are statistically neck and neck with a relatively low undecided percentage less than two weeks from the primary.”

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Lee up with new TV ad claiming GOP opponents are ‘scared’

Republican Bill Lee’s latest ad says in his latest TV ads that his opponents are are attacking him because they’re scared. Because he’s winning, he says.

Harwell’s latest ad touts support for medical marijuana

Republican gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell has a launched a new TV ad touting herself as the only Republican gubernatorial candidate who supports legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee.

“I am the only Republican candidate for governor who supports legalizing doctor-prescribed medical cannabis,” she said. “Many suffer: veterans, children with seizures, cancer patients, our elderly. I just know if were my loved one, I would want this option.”

Harwell notes in the ad that President Donald Trump agrees, showing footage of the president saying “I think medical should happen, right? Don’t we agree?”

Harwell concludes the ad by saying: “Opioids must not be our only option for those in pain.”

Here’s the full ad:


Harwell to make ‘major’ announcement Friday

Republican gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell’s campaign has sent out an advisory to political reporters to alert them to a “major announcement” at a news conference at the state Capitol on Friday.

Of course the last time Harwell’s camp signaled a “major announcement” in June, it ended up being an endorsement from state House Speaker Pro Tem Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville). Interesting, but not exactly earth-shattering.

So what should we expect from Friday’s big presser?


U.S. Senate debate set – UPDATE: Not so fast

A televised U.S. Senate debate has been scheduled at Cumberland University in Lebanon on Sept. 25. It is billed as featuring the nominees of both parties — presumptively Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn. But the Blackburn campaign tells On the Hill that they don’t know anything about it. And we’re hearing Bredesen hadn’t confirmed yet either.

The debate partners include the Gannett newspapers in Tennessee, Nashville Public Television, and the Tennessee League of Women Voters. The event will be broadcast statewide on public television and streamed by the USA Today Network-Tennessee.

Cumberland said it sent out letters to the candidates on June 29 to invite the in the event they win their primaries.

“We are pleased to invite you to participate in the 2018 U.S. Senate Debate for Middle Tennessee on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at historic Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee,” the letter to Blackburn reads. “The partner organizations sponsoring and supporting the debate are inviting the nominees from Tennessee’s two major political parties to participate. We extend this invitation to you in the event you secure the Republican nomination on August 2, 2018.”

Rhodes College announced that it is also holding a Senate debate in Memphis on Sept. 13.

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New Bredesen ad touts track record as governor

A new TV ad from Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen touts his record of tackling tough problems as governor: Arresting spiraling costs at TennCare, managing a budget crisis without a sales tax hike or an income tax, and growing Tennessee’s rainy day fund.

Black mailer depicts Lee with “Three Liberalteers”

A new mailer from Diane Black’s gubernatorial campaign picks up the theme that Republican rival Bill Lee once gave money to three Democrats: former Gov. Phil Bredesen and former Nashville Mayors Karl Dean and Megan Barry, who are labeled “The Three Liberalteers.” The mailer says Lee “bankrolls liberal Democrats.” What it doesn’t say is that Lee gave a combined $1,750 to Bredesen, Dean, and Barry. Hardly solely responsible for any of those bids afloat, but that doesn’t factor into the increasingly bitter Republican primary campaign.

So will this mailer change any minds?

Santorum endorses Black in governor’s race

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santrorum (R-Pa.) has endorsed U.S. Rep. Diane Black for governor.

“With Diane Black in the Governor’s office, I am confident that the conservative values that make Tennessee great will be protected and preserved,” Santorum said in a release.

Santorum won the Republican presidential primary in Tennessee in 2012. (The 2008 winner was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has endorsed Randy Boyd.)

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GOP poll finds Blackburn margin shrinking against Bredesen

A political action committee that supports Republican Marsha Blackburn finds just a 3 percentage point margin between the congresswoman and Democrat Phil Bredesen in the U.S. Senate race.

That’s a drop from a 5-point advantage when the Committee to Defend the President polled the race in February, and a 9-point lead in December, The Tennessean reports. Both of those earlier polls also had Blackburn with more than 40% support.

PAC spokeswoman Amanda Head nevertheless declared “the future is still looking bright” for Blackburn.

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