mailer

Defeated lawmaker appears to pitch former colleagues on constituent service site

Need advice on how to keep constituents happy? Why not ask the guy who lost his primary by 15 percentage points in August? At least that’s what ex-Rep. Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough) appears to be pitching in a mailer sent to former colleagues this week.

“My office used Happy Constituents for years,” says the mailer featuring Van Huss’ legislative portrait and describing him as a current state lawmaker. “Through the process, we learned what works and what doesn’t.”

Happy Constituents logo.

Happy Constituents’ website lists a 2014 copyright and a phone number with a Tennessee area code used by Van Huss’ re-election campaign last summer. But no business by that name is registered with the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office (where it would otherwise be listed between two defunct companies, Happy Clowns and Happy Cottons).

Van Huss in a disclosure filed with the Tennessee Ethics Commission last year only listed income from Marathon Strategies (along with fellow former Republican Reps. Matthew and Timothy Hill) and Airbnb.

Tim Hicks, a Gray developer, defeated Van Huss in the August primary, 58% to 42%.

Van Huss releases shoot-em-up campaign video in response to gun group’s mailer

Rep. Micah Van Huss broke out the firepower for a campaign video to denounce a gun rights group for sending out mailers attacking him and other Republicans for not going far enough on efforts to get rid of permit requirements.

The Jonesborough Republican lashed out at the National Association for Gun Rights as a “lying, leftist pitiful excuse for a gun rights group.” And then the video shows the former Marine unleashing a barrage on the mailer pinned to one of his campaign signs.

The video even features an unaccustomed element for the lawmaker: humor.  After showing a picture of a younger and slimmer Van Huss deployed in Iraq, he says, “Out of the way, Skinny Micah.” Interspersed between shots of heavy gunfire, the lawmaker helps his young daughter shoot a bow-and-arrow at the mailer. And later, Van Huss meticulously sets up a long-range sniper rifle, licks his finger to test the wind, and then nearly misses the target which turns out to be just a few feet away.

Few people would call the National Association for Gun Rights, which has clashed with the National Rifle Association for not going far enough, particularly “leftist.”

Here’s what the group had to say about Van Huss’ ad:

Our members and supporters, as well as a large segment of the gun rights community, expected the legislature to advance House Bill 1553, which was a clean and straight forward piece of legislation. Instead, Republican legislative leadership and the Governor opted for House Bill 2817, which was a watered-down compromise that, frankly, would have made Tennessee’s gun laws even more confusing. They attempted to bill HB 2817 as “Constitutional Carry,” but State Rep. Micah Van Huss even admitted that HB 2817 was not Constitutional Carry in committee on May 26th.

They ignored the countless calls and emails from gun owners to fix HB 2817 and now are hearing again from them at a time when they are most sensitive to political pressure, and they aren’t liking it. Many of the Republican lawmakers who are feeling the pressure are claiming that they support Constitutional Carry and are seemingly outraged that they are being called out for settling on HB 2817, but even they recognize that it wasn’t a solid bill. They are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

Instead of resorting to name calling and cheap political tricks, lawmakers need to listen to gun owners and support only true Constitutional Carry for Tennessee.

Aside from Van Huss, the group sent out mailers attacking the following incumbents: Reps. Kent Calfee, Ryan Williams, Rush Bricken, Paul Sherrell, Matthew Hill, Curtis Halford, Bob Ramsey, John Holsclaw, and Rick Tillis, along with Sens. John Stevens and Bill Powers.

Reps. Tom Leatherwood and David Byrd were also initially targeted, but the mail program was ended after they returned surveys indicating they support the group’s preferred version of the bill.