senate district 20

And I will advertise it: Dickerson talks marijuana in latest spot

Republican state Sen. Steve Dickerson’s latest ad touts his leading role in efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee. Dickerson is facing a tough challenge from Democrat Heidi Campbell this year.

“This is a marijuana plant,” Dickerson says in the ad the camera zooms in on an image of a sparkling cannabis flower.

Here’s what Dickerson says in the rest of the spot:

As your state senator, I’ve led the fight to legalize medical marijuana so our veterans and sickest Tennesseans can deal with chronic pain. But this same life-saving plant has led to mass incarceration, with non-violent marijuana possession resulting in lengthy prison sentences. I think that’s wrong. That’s why I’ve been pushing for criminal justice reform. I’m Dr. Steve Dickerson, and I put people before politics.

Tennessee Equality Project rescinds Dickerson endorsement over Senate speaker’s ad

The Tennessee Equality Project has rescinded its endorsement of Republican state Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville over an ad being run on his behalf by the Senate Speaker Randy McNally’s political action committee.

The ad targets Dickerson’s Democratic challenger, Heidi Campbell, for saying supportive things about Gideon’s Army, which the spot describes as an extremist group calling for “revolutionary changes to our way of life.” Democrats have pushed back against the ad presenting Gideon’s Army as supporting rioting. They point to the group’s efforts to mentor young people and de-escalate violence in predominantly black North Nashville. The organization was also heavily involved in cleanup efforts after a tornado wrought heavy damage in the neighborhood in March. The Tennessee Equality Project denounced the spot as a “disgusting, racist ad.”

“Although he has an exemplary record on LGBTQ rights in the Legislature, elected officials are called to speak out against racism in politics,” TEP executive director Chris Sanders said in a blog post.

Here’s the ad:

The decision to withdraw the Dickerson endorsement means the group is now backing just one Republican candidate for the General Assembly: Knoxville businessman Eddie Mannis, who is running to succeed retiring state Rep. Martin Daniel (R-Knoxville).

Dickerson endorsed by Sierra Club

State Sen. Steve Dickerson has landed the endorsement of the Tennessee chapter of the Sierra Club. The Nashville Republican is facing a tough re-election campaign this fall against Democrat Heidi Campbell, the mayor of Oak Hill.

“I’m proud to have the endorsement of the Tennessee Chapter of Sierra Club, a grassroots organization that works nationwide to build an equitable and sustainable world,” Dickerson said in a release. “I have spent my life consistently and proudly pro-environment. As your state Senator, I will continue working to put legislation in place that protects our environment here in Tennessee and worldwide.”

Dickerson first won the redrawn district in 2012, beating Democrat Phillip North 54% to 46%. Four years later, Dickerson defeated Democrat Erin Coleman 56% to 44%.