Don Sundquist endorses Marsha Blackburn

Press release from Marsha Blackburn campaign

Brentwood, TN –  Today, former Governor Don Sundquist endorsed Marsha Blackburn for U.S. Senate. His endorsement is another clear sign that Tennesseans are rallying behind Blackburn for Senate.

Speaking about his endorsement, Governor Sundquist said, “It is time for Tennesseans to rally behind Marsha Blackburn and send her to the United States Senate. While Marsha and I have not always agreed on a couple of issues, we have always agreed on the most critical issues. I trust her, and I know she will work with President Trump to pass his agenda. Let’s unite and elect a leader who shares our philosophy based on our Tennessee traditions, not a candidate who follows the traditions of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. I urge my fellow Tennesseans to support Marsha in any way they can.”

“I’m so honored to earn Governor Sundquist’s endorsement,” added Marsha Blackburn. “He is a good man and a faithful public servant, and I am grateful for his input as we work to unify the Republican party and defeat Democrat Phil Bredesen in November.”

Notes: The most notable dispute between Sundquist and Blackburn came when she, as a state senator, took a leading role in opposing Sundquist’s unsuccessful push for a tax reform package including a state income tax in 2001. As recently as February, Sundquist — who was succeeded as governor by Democrat Phil Bredesen, Blackburn’s all-but-certain general election opponent -told Politico: “You can say on the record I’m not supporting her.” (Previous post HERE.)

An emailer points out that the arch-conservative Tennessee Star, back in December, had an article on Sundquist’s support for Randy Boyd in the Republican gubernatorial primary with the concluding statement:  The unpopular former governor’s endorsement of Boyd may well be “the Sundquiss of Death” for the Knoxville businessman’s gubernatorial aspirations.

There are also quotes from Mae Beavers, a former state senator who subsequently withdrew from the GOP gubernatorial primary, and Steve Gill on Sundquist helping Boyd.

“I helped lead the fight against Governor Sundquist’s income tax and cannot imagine anyone who is an actual fiscal conservative relying upon him for guidance or support. Since Governor Sundquist left office we not only have not imposed a state income tax on Tennesseans but have eliminated the Estate Tax, eliminated the Hall Income tax, cut the sales tax on food and still had about $2 billion in surplus and recurring revenue last year. ”

“To top it off, Tennesseans voted for a Constitutional Amendment to permanently ban a state income tax so we could finally end the threat. Sundquist claimed Tennessee would be bankrupt if we didn’t pass an income tax; clearly he was wrong. So why does Randy Boyd want his insight, support and expertise?” Beavers asked.

Conservative Republican strategist Steve Gill, who played a critical role in defeating the state income tax efforts while on the air as a talk radio host in Nashville, admitted being puzzled by the Boyd campaign’s embrace of Don Sundquist.

“Sundquist became a pariah in the wake of the income tax battle not just because it was such bad policy but because of the thuggish way he and the Democrats in the House tried to force it down the throats of Tennesseans who adamantly opposed it,” Gill told The Star.

“The policy was horrible, the process they employed was even worse. The fight spawned the ‘horn honkers’ who preceded the Tea Party and was a key factor in turning the legislature from solid Democratic Party control to Republican supermajorities in both houses in just 15 years. It essentially exploded the careers of many actual conservatives, including Congresswomen Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black and State Senator Mae Beavers, all of whom were the most visible opponents the Republican Governor’s plan. Sundquist is not considered any sort of ‘revered elder statesman’ of the party by anybody involved at that time,” Gill concluded

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