Bredesen berated at TNGOP fundraiser that brought in $760K

In Friday night speeches to the Tennessee Republican Party’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner, U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Marsha Blackburn criticized former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and praised President Donald Trump. The state GOP collected more than $750,000 at the fundraising event. From the Times-Free Press: Scalise, the keynote speaker, said Bredesen, who will be opposing Blackburn on November’s U.S. Senate ballot, has criticized the Trump-supported $1.5 trillion tax cut bill that was approved by the Senate 51-48.

“He would have voted against the tax bill and he actually used Nancy Pelosi’s language of the ‘crumbs’,” Scalise said, referring to the House minority leader’s referring to the effect the tax cuts would have on many middle– and lower-income Americans. “That’s what’s at stake here.”

…With polls showing a tight race so far between Bredesen and Blackburn for the seat now held by retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker, a Chattanoogan, the congresswoman also criticized Bredesen.

“I am running to take our Tennessee values to Washington to help President Donald Trump,” Blackburn said. She charged Bredesen is “running to bring back the values of Barack Obama, Nancy Peolosi and Hillary Clinton.”

State Democrats’ Tennessee Victory 2018 spokesman Mark Brown fired his own shot across Blackburn’s bow in a prepared response. “Tennesseans deserve to know if Marsha Blackburn supports President Trump’s job-killing tariffs. Yes or no,” Brown said. “While Blackburn says “Let’s wait and see,” Tennessee businesses are being hit with higher costs and they will pass those along to Tennesseans in higher prices. “For once in her Congressional career, Marsha should give us a straight answer,” Brown added.

Republican gubernatorial candidates attending and speaking were U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin, Tennessee; Knoxville businessman and former state economic commissioner Randy Boyd; state House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville, and Franklin, Tennessee, businessman Bill Lee.

…Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden said the event raised an estimated $760,000, making it the third most successful dinner in the event’s 42-year history.

This year’s dinner chairman was Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, of Ooltewah, Tennessee. Fleischmann was responsible for securing Scalise, a friend, as the fundraiser’s keynote speaker.

Scalise’s Tennessee appearance comes almost exactly a year to after a gunman on June 14, 2017, opened fire on Scalise and others at a House Republican baseball team practice in Alexandria, Va.

Further from The Tennessean:

Blackburn brought up Bredesen’s opposition to Republicans’ tax reform legislation, saying the state wants someone who will support Ft. Campbell, the national guard and veterans. 

“Do you think Phil Bredesen would vote with crying Chuck Schumer or would he vote with our president when it comes to support our troops and supporting our veterans,” she said, reciting Trump’s nickname for the New York Democrat. Blackburn also attacked Bredesen for choosing to “give illegal aliens driving certificates.”

Blackburn did not cite specifics but she may have been referring to a 2004 law, which Bredesen signed, that allowed immigrants to drive in Tennessee after obtaining a “certificate of driving.

While the certificates said “Not valid for I.D.” on them, it was proposed in order to regulate immigrant drivers while also addressing national security concerns, according to The Tennessean’s archives. 

“I’ll bet you he would like for them to get them to vote also,” Blackburn said.

And from another story on the event in Gannett newspapers:

Scalise’s presence also provided a boost for U.S. Rep. Diane Black, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor…. Briefly mentioning Black during his keynote speech, Scalise recalled how he had talked to Black while he was in the hospital recovering from the shooting to discuss the tax reform legislation.

Scalise, who also attended an earlier fundraiser for Black, also called for Republicans to help U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn become Tennessee’s next U.S. Senator.

“President Trump is all in for Marsha Blackburn. I’m all in for Marsha Blackburn,” he said. “We need everybody here all in working to make sure Marsha represents this great state.“legislation.

… In addition to Blackburn, Corker and Haslam made reflective and at-times emotional speeches. They were quickly followed by the four gubernatorial candidates, who were given five minutes to address the audience.

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