Monthly Archives: August 2018

Blackburn ad reminds voters of Trump support

In case you forgot, President Donald Trump is supporting Republican Marsha Blackburn in this year’s U.S. Senate race in Tennessee. She has a new ad to prove the point.

The spot rehashes comments Trump made at a rally for Blackburn in Nashville earlier this year: “Phil, whatever the hell his name is, this guy will 100 percent vote against us every single time.”

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Bredesen says attack ad is ‘full of flat-out lies’

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen in a new ad denounces what he calls “flat-out lies” in a spot being run by the Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the conservative Koch network.

Bredesen in the ad takes Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn to task for the content of the ad that claims Bredesen supported gas and sales tax increases while he was governor (Politifact on Thursday called those claims “false.”)

“Congresswoman Blackburn, you’ve been in Washington 16 years now and frankly this ad shows it,” Bredesen says in the spot. The Democrat’s campaign has alleged coordination between the AFP and the Blackburn camp since top aide was recorded telling a GOP crowd that he expected the outside group to be a major player in the campaign.

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Bredesen announces sportsmen’s support group

A release from Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen’s campaign:

UNIONVILLE, Tenn. — To mark the first day of dove hunting season in Tennessee on Saturday, September 1, the Bredesen for Senate Campaign is announcing the launch of the “Sportsmen and Sportswomen for Bredesen” group to provide a space for people who share similar interests — whether hunting, finishing, or enjoying the outdoors — to organize around Governor Phil Bredesen’s campaign for the U.S. Senate and highlight his support for issues that are important to them, such as tackling the Asian Carp invasion in Tennessee’s waterways.  

Governor Bredesen will be hunting in Unionville on Saturday afternoon and will be joined by local Sportsmen for Bredesen supporters.

“Not only has Governor Bredesen listened to the concerns of the angler community while he’s on the trail, but he also responded with a proposal to help support our outdoors tourism economy,” said Jim Perry, retired West Tennessee fishing guide and a founding member of the Sportsmen and Sportswomen for Bredesen group.  “Our community has been begging for this type of leadership and attention for several years. Finally, someone is listening. No other federal representative from Tennessee has made any proposal regarding Asian Carp. It is clear: Bredesen will be our champion.”

Governor Bredesen is an avid outdoorsman and fisherman and has made it a priority to highlight local issues affecting this group of Tennesseans on the campaign trail. In May, after learning about the Asian Carp issue at the Paris Fish Fry, he wrote an op-ed focusing on the harm that Asian Carp is having on native fish in Tennessee’s lakes and rivers and offered solutions for how he would address this problem in the U.S. Senate.

Blackburn agrees to second debate

A release from Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn’s campaign:

Brentwood, TN –  Today, Marsha Blackburn announced she will participate in the October 10th debate hosted by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and Nexstar Media Group, including WKRN (Nashville), WATE (Knoxville), WATN (Memphis), WJHL (Tri Cities), and WJKT (Jackson) as part of the campaign’s debate schedule.

“From immigration to taxes, Phil Bredesen and I have serious policy differences that will drastically affect how Tennesseans are represented in the United States Senate,” said Marsha Blackburn. “I look forward to highlighting our significant policy differences at this debate, and I am grateful for the event’s organizers and volunteers, who have worked to put it together.”

On Monday, Blackburn announced she will participate in the September 25th debate hosted by the Tennessean, the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, News Channel 5 (WTVF), Nashville Public Television, and Cumberland University as part of the campaign’s debate schedule.

UPDATE: Reaction from Democrat Phil Bredesen spokeswoman Alyssa Hansen:

“The contrast between the candidates will be on display — Tennesseans have a choice between an 8-term Congresswoman who’s part of the Washington way or a Governor with a proven track-record of getting things done for Tennessee. Memphis is just as important as the rest of the state, and we hope that Congressman Blackburn feels the same way and reconsiders.”

Lee runs first ad of general election campaign

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee has released his first ad of the general election campaign.

Here’s a transcript of the ad:

I’ve never run for office before. It’s an interesting experience and you sure learn some things. Like politics isn’t the solution, it’s generally the problem. People are the solution. So, whatever your party or if you’ve just given up on politics altogether I hope to earn your support. Tennessee is a great state, but you and I, we can make it even better.

Koch network launches ad targeting Bredesen

The Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the conservative Koch network, has launched its first attack on Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen, taking him to task for supporting various tax increases and for the gall to have once spearheaded renovations and upgrades at the governor’s mansion. See the ad here.

The ad says Bredesen “wasted $9 million” on the mansion while the economy was in a tailspin and rehashes an old refrain against what the spot dubs a “party cave.” Contemporary attacks on the underground entertainment complex decried it as the “Bredesen Bunker,” but they never resonated much beyond conservative neighbors like Lee Beaman. It remains to be seen whether bringing the issue up again nearly a decade later will have more success.

The Bredesen campaign has responded with a video of its own in which the candidate says: “Well, the attacks have started and now you have to make sense of it all.”

The Bredesen campaign noted that Bredesen balanced eight budgets without an income tax when he was governor. “He also worked diligently with the legislature to raise the tobacco tax to fund education and to close corporate tax loopholes that were siphoning resources away from public safety, health care, education, and other priorities,” the campaign said in a release.

Dean calls for local-option gas tax

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

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean is calling for counties to be allowed the the option of adding a local surcharge to gas taxes collected by the state. Dean says much of those extra taxes would paid for by visitors and that the revenues would allow counties to fund specific infrastructure and transportation programs.

“Unlike my opponent, I believe passing the IMPROVE Act was the right move for Tennessee,” Dean said in a statement. “But we can’t rest; we can’t sit still. As governor, I’ll work with legislators to make transportation infrastructure an even better tool to add jobs and increase access to high-quality education and health care.”

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Blackburn takes aim at Bredesen over immigration

Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn speaks at a business forum in Nashville on Aug. 15, 2018 (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn is taking aim at Democratic opponent Phil Bredesen in an an opinion piece published on the website of The Hill newspaper in Washington.

“As governor, Phil Bredesen adopted policies that encouraged illegal immigration,” Blackburn writes in the piece, citing his support for a driver certificate program for people in the country illegally in 2004. What she doesn’t mention is that Bredesen introduced the measure to dial back a full driver’s license program that had been championed by his Republican predecessor, Don Sundquist, who is now a Blackburn supporter. Blackburn herself had voted against the driver’s licenses bill, but had left for Congress by the time certificate measure was introduced.

The bill creating the certificates (which carried prominent markings that they were meant only for driving and “not valid for identification”) passed the Senate on a 32-0 vote and the House 96-2, meaning it had nearly full GOP support (including from Senate Speaker Randy McNally, former Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, Knox County mayor and GOP congressional nominee Tim Burchett, former state Sen. Mae Beavers, state House Majority Leader Glen Casada, House Speaker Beth Harwell, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, and Family Action Council of Tennessee President David Fowler.)

The driver certificate program was abandoned two years later after federal investigators uncovered a burgeoning black market for them.

Blackburn wrote in the opinion piece that she opposed the measures because they “openly rewarded illegal immigration and undermined the hard work of those who entered our country lawfully. Moreover, it made Tennessee a magnet for illegal immigrants.”

It’s not surprising that Phil Bredesen also opposes securing the southern border. He’s spoken out against the wall, saying that it’s just political theater. He says he’s tired of ‘nibbling around the edges’ and wants to get back to big projects. What better way to start than by building the wall. Securing our border isn’t political theater; it’s enforcing the laws of a sovereign nation, and it’s a vital step to keep Americans safe. — Blackburn in The Hill


NYT on Black’s failed effort to land Trump endorsement

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

In a look at President Donald Trump’s influence over the outcome of Republican primaries around the country, the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman unearthed this nugget about U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s failed lobbying efforts in her bid for governor in Tennessee:

This year few Republican candidates, for example, were as aggressive in lobbying for Mr. Trump’s endorsement as Representative Diane Black of Tennessee, who came in third in her state’s primary for governor this month. She approached the president at a White House event, had some of his most high-profile congressional allies weigh in on her behalf, and even deployed some West Wing officials who are friendly to her.

But most of Mr. Trump’s aides wanted him to stay out of the race, and they were able to keep him sidelined in part by reminding him of what Ms. Black said after the video of Mr. Trump boasting about groping women was released in 2016 (“I would’ve yanked my son by the ear if he had talked that way when he was a teenager much less an adult,” she said at the time).

Black finished third in the GOP primary.

Ketron resigns from Senate ahead of becoming mayor

State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) speaks on the Senate floor on Feb. 26, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

From a release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) today resigned as senator for the 13th District in Tennessee effective August 31, two months before his term of office is set to expire.  Ketron will take office as Rutherford County Mayor on September 1 and state law prohibits holding certain public offices at the same time.  

Ketron, who was elected to the Senate in 2002, currently serves as Senate Republican Caucus Chairman, a position he has held since 2010.  He also served in several other key leadership roles during his legislative tenure including Joint Fiscal Review Committee Chairman from 2010-2016 and Senate State and Local Government Committee Chairman from 2007-2010. 

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