Beth Harwell

New TNJ edition alert: Kelsey prison time math, House leadership votes, Funding Board goes low

Then-Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and former Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin) hold a press conference on Feb. 2, 2015. (Image Credit: Erik Schelzig)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out early this week because of the holiday weekend. Here is what’s in it:

— Feds: Contrition key to Kelsey avoiding extra prison time following guilty plea, former lawmaker admits deeds were ‘no accident.’

— State House Republicans stick mostly to status quo, Dems select new caucus chair.

— Funding board goes with extra low revenue projections. Again.

— Gov. Bill Lee’s administration makes its pick on “choice” lanes, hike in EV fees.

Also: Bob Corker says he doesn’t miss it, Beth Harwell chases Belle Meade burglar, Bill Lee hires a Kentucky state senator to run Health Department, Jeremy Durham gets a trial date.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

New TNJ edition alert: Kelsey waves the white flag, Harwell denies wrongdoing, state disclosure problems

Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), right, confers with then-Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) on the House floor in Nashville on April 30, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Kelsey signals surrender in criminal case stemming from failed bid for Congress.

— Harwell denies doing anything wrong by bankrolling federal PAC with state money.

— Legislative candidates slow on the uptake for new state campaign finance reporting requirements.

— Ogles’ fundraising totals continue to sputter, but generic ballot suggests big GOP cushion.

Also: Former Nashville mayor penning book about rise and fall, Cade Cothren gets denied request for day trips to Alabama, longtime Rep. Barbara Cooper – the recipient of a former GOP senator’s infamous “rat’s ass” email — dies, and an independent gubernatorial candidate faces legal charges.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

New TNJ alert: Guilty plea in Kelsey case, Durham appeals, pro-Harwell PAC gets Harwell funding

Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), right, and then-Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin) hold a press conference on Feb. 2, 2015. (Image Credit: Erik Schelzig)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Restaurateur pleads guilty in Kelsey case, Durham appeals Registry fines

— Andy Ogles’ lackluster fundraising endures through third quarter while Heidi Campbell rakes it in.

— Independent expenditures PAC founded to help Beth Harwell got major funding from … Harwell.

— Nashville mayor proposes final piece of funding plan for stadium.

Also: Weston Wamp and Hamilton Count Commission at odds over firing attorney, the Volunteers crowdsource the money to replace goalposts after historic win, Mark Green get’s $600 worth of hair and makeup work, and Andy Ogles tries to place this Bill Frist guy.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

Harwell attack ad, Winstead’s ‘dumb vote,’ and Ogles’ liens

A new set of ads are flooding the airwaves before Thursday’s 5th Congressional District primary. House Speaker Beth Harwell has a negative ad out about Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, whom she labels as a lobbyist backed by “amnesty-loving RINOs who sell out America.”

Here’s the transcript:

HARWELL: I’m Beth Harwell and I approve this message.

NARRATOR: Who’s behind lobbyist Andy Ogles’ campaign? A D.C. special interest group that smeared Donald Trump and another shady special interest group that supports amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. They’re spending big bucks on Ogles, because Ogles will vote for their pro-amnesty agenda. Bought and paid for by never Trumpers and amnesty-loving RINOS who sell out America. Lobbyist Andy Ogles would make the D.C. swamp even worse.

Retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Kurt Wintead has an ad out trying to blunt criticism that he voted and contributed to Democrats.

RETIRED MASTER SGT. MARK HARRIS: Someone called Brigadier General Kurt Winstead a liberal Democrat. This Davy Crockett conservative got fired up mad and called him. I served under General Winstead for five years. Turns out he cast dumb vote and a donation of two over 10 years ago. Never question General Winstead’s integrity or conservative values. I guarantee those with my life.

WINSTEAD I’m retired Brigadier General Kurt Winston and I approve this message.

And the Conservative Americans PAC is hitting Ogles for allegedly failing to pay taxes on his businesses and have the state place a lien on them.

NARRATOR: You fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me. Andy Ogles already fooled us. He campaigned against tax hikes. “I don’t like taxes, all taxes are evil.” Then, he got elected and backed a tax hike. The same Andy Ogles whose businesses didn’t pay their own taxes — the state had to file liens to collect. Now , Andy Ogles is trying to fool us again. Don’t get burned again. Conservative Americans PAC is responsible for the content of this advertisement.

Winstead says poll shows him in statistical tie with Harwell for 5th District lead

Retired National Guard general Kurt Winstead says new polling shows him in a statistical tie with former state House Speaker Beth Harwell and Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles trailing in third for the Republican nomination in the 5th Congressional District.

The poll of 300 voters was conducted for the Winstead campaign by Spry Strategies of Knoxville. It has Harwell with 22%, Winstead with 20%, and Ogles with 15%. Little-known Timothy Lee got the support of 10%, while Army veteran Jeff Beierlein had 9%.

Spry Strategies was the pollster of choice in the 2020 cycle for state House Republicans, who spent $72,650 with the pollster, including $17,400 by Speaker Cameron Sexton of Crossville, $15,100 by Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin, and $11,600 by ex-Rep. Robin Smith of Hixson. The Tennessee Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union, spent $39,100 with the outfit in the second quarter of this year.

UPDATE: Trump Nation News reports an 1892 poll of 400 likely voters has Ogles at 30%, compared with 24% for Harwell, and 13% for Winstead. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9%.

UPDATE 2: The 1892 poll refers to the race being “a tossup in the final weeks,” meaning its likely a bit dated.

Polling website FiveThirtyEight.com gives both Spry and 1892 a B/C rating

New local super PAC running ads supporting Harwell

A new super PAC called Government of the People is running ads attacking Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and supporting former House Speaker Beth Harwell in the Republican primary for the 5th Congressional District. The new group’s treasurer is Debra Maggart, a former state House member and lobbyist.

Here’s the transcript:

NARRATOR 1: DC money flooding into Tennessee, backing lobbyist Andy Ogles for Congress. Why? They want Congress to immediately prioritize amnesty for illegal immigrants. Amnesty. If Andy Oglels wins, he owes them, not you. Lobbyist Andy Ogles. You just can’t trust him.

NARRATOR 2: But you know Beth Harwell. She keeps her word. She cut our taxes. She’ll build Trump’s wall. Tennessee conservatives back Beth. Government of the People is responsible for the content of this advertising.

The ad appears to refer to past positions taken by Americans for Prosperity. Ogles was once the group’s state director and lobbyist.

The School Freedom Fund, a super PAC linked to the Club for Growth, is also out with new ads attacking Harwell and retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead, another leading candidate for the GOP nomination.

Here’s what the narrator says:

Prices are soaring under Joe Biden. But in Tennessee, he’s not the only one to blame. As state House speaker, Beth Harwell rammed through a 28% gas tax increase. That’s why Beth Harwell is a Biden Republican. Imagine the damage they’d do together in Washington. Kurt Winstead is no better. Winstead bankrolled the liberal Tennessee Democrat Party. Winstead and Harwell. Too liberal for Tennessee. School Freedom Fund is responsible the content of this ad.

Harwell was speaker when the General Assembly passed a 6-cent gas tax increase in 2017. While she voted for the measure in the end, saying she “rammed” it through is a considerable exaggeration. Throughout most of the debate on the measure, Harwell pushed for finding ways to fund road projects without resorting to the gas tax hike, a position that angered many fellow Republicans.

The same super PAC is also running ad ad featuring spliced together commentary by Ogles at a recent candidate forum. Here’s the transcript:

OGLES: When this administration attacked Americans by weaponizing COVID, I refused to comply with the mandate. I told Biden he could pound sand. I want Washington D.C. out of Tennessee. Our education system has been hijacked through critical race theory. I’m willing to say no. This administration picked a fight and it’s a fight they’re going to get. My name is Andy Ogles, I’m fed up and I want my country back.

NARATOR: School free for those responsible for the content of this ad.

The ad ends with an image of Ogles with former President Donald Trump, who has not endorsed any of the remaining candidates in the 5th District race.

Boxes overflowing with 5th District mailers

If you live in the 5th Congressional District, you may want to make sure you keep emptying your mailbox. Otherwise, it’s likely to overflow.

Here is a sampling of mailers that have gone out to area residences this week:

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Winstead dips toe into negative ads

Republican congressional candidate Kurt Winstead is dipping his toe into the attack ads that have characterized the closing phase of the 5th District race. The commercial follows a new ad from Harwell, a former state House speaker, attacking Ogles as a “tax raiser” and a lobbyist. Ogles, the mayor of Maury County, is a former lobbyists for the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

Winstead, a retired brigadier general in the Tennessee National Guard, starts out his latest spot with photos of rival Republicans Beth Harwell and Andy Ogles, calling them “career politicians.” Here’s the transcript:

NARRATOR: Our choice for Congress? Two career politicians or tough conservative Republican general Kurt Winstead, an outsider. Winstead’s plan for America will slam our border shut. Return a gallon of gas to two bucks. Winstead will put our country first.

WINSTEAD: If you want a politician, I’m not your guy. If you want to fighter for conservative values, I’d really appreciate your vote. I’m retired brigadier general Kurt Winstead. I approved this message.

The ad features Winstead perusing the border with Mexico and footage of gas being pumped into a vehicle. Here it is:

New Harwell ad calls Ogles tax raiser, lobbyist

Former state House Speaker Beth Harwell is running the first negative ad of her 5th Congressional District campaign against Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, calling him a lobbyist and a tax raiser.

Harwell has been the subject of a barrage of attack ads by super PACs linked to the Club for Growth and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Here’s the transcript of the new Harwell spot:

NARRATOR: The D.C. special interest group that attacked Donald Trump is now lying about Beth Harwell. They support Andy Ogles because he’s a D.C. insider. He’s also a tax raiser. Lobbyist Andy Ogles pushed for a sales tax increase that would have hit working families hard. Conservative Beth Harwell is Tennessee tough. Build Trump’s wall, cut our taxes, pass term limits. Beth Harwell will put America first.

HARWELL: I’m Beth Harwell and I approve this message.

The ad cites a 2016 news report about the Club for Growth criticizing Trump, though the group and the former president have been on the same page numerous times since then. Ogles did back a referendum on a local-option sales tax hike in Maury County. It’s unclear why the script uses conditional language that the tax “would have hit working families,” as it was approved by voters there on a 52%-48% vote in 2020.

New TNJ edition alert: Ogles files a lawsuit, but not his campaign finance disclosure

Andy Ogles is suing to stop this attack ad in the 5th District race.

The latest edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Outside super PACs ramp up attack ads in 5th District, and one candidate takes his complaints to court

— Andy Ogles, who has been targeted for his late property tax, has now missed the campaign finance disclosure deadline by a week.

— A look at key donors to Beth Harwell and Kurt Winstead (and some who hedged their bets by giving to both).

— From the campaign trail: Todd Warner cries foul over mailers highlighting FBI raid and connections to “disgraced former speaker,” competitive primaries for two open House seats in Williamson County, and Scott Cepicky’s fight for reelection.

Also: Larry Arnn says he “will likely say it again,” John Mark Windle retires from the National Guard, Torrey Harris gets arrested, and Registry member Tom Lawless blasts the attorney general’s office.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

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