GOP congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik picked up three endorsements this morning from state legislators who represent a large portion of the 6th Congressional District in which she's running. Sens. Mae Beavers and Kerry Roberts joined Speaker Pro Tem Judd Matheny in endorsing Zelenik who, as you might have heard, is challenging U.S. Rep. Diane Black.
Zelenik was in Sumner County meeting voters at a polling location, according to a campaign representative, and thus was not there to receive their support in person — a disappointing fact to at least one reporter on the scene (this one) who showed up hoping to catch the enthusiastic candidate in person.
As they announced their endorsements one at a time, Matheny, Beavers and Roberts defended Zelenik against what they called "unfounded" and "malicious" attacks from the Black campaign. They also made note of Black's votes to raise the debt ceiling (suggesting, we suppose, that Black should have allowed the U.S. government to default on its loans) and fund Obamacare (suggesting, we suppose, that Black should not have voted for a three-week continuing resolution in March of 2011 that kept the U.S. government from shutting down).
"Congressman Black has cast many conservative votes, and I don't want to take credit away from her for that," said Roberts, who currently holds Black's old state Senate seat. "But the deal breaker for me was when she voted to increase the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion. As far as I'm concerned, that's the most egregious broken promise of her campaign."
Roberts also said he didn't appreciate attacks calling Zelenik "crazy" and "delusional."
In response to Zelenik's endorsements, the Black camp has sent over a list of folks endorsing the incumbent. That list is copied below (with our emphasis added, since the words "crazy" and "delusional" have already been introduced to the conversation).
National Right to Life
National Rifle Association
The US Chamber
National Federation of Independent Businesses
US Rep Michele Bachmann
US Rep Allen West
Former US Rep Van Hilleary
Lt Gov Ron Ramsey
Rep Cameron Sexton
Rep Terri Lynn Weaver
Rep Ryan Williams
A Black campaign spokesperson also says that, along with Bachmann and West, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey is encouraging voters to support Black on a robocall.
UPDATE: Black campaign spokesman Jennifer Coxe-Baker sends along this response to the Zelenik campaign's comments regarding Obamacare funding and the debt ceiling increase.
"The truth is that Diane Black has voted for over $6 trillion in spending cuts that have been killed in the US Senate. When President Obama asked for a blank check to increase the debt ceiling, Diane Black voted NO. Diane then went to work to get spending cuts greater than the debt increase and a vote on Balanced Budget Amendment and she was successful. The legislation Diane voted for cut $2.5 trillion in spending - a first in the history of the United States and required the House and Senate to vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment.
"Lou Ann Zelenik is crazy if she believes her own false claims that Diane Black supports Obamacare. The facts are that Diane Black has voted to fully repeal Obamacare twice, to defund it 26 times and to partially repeal it over two dozen times. She is also the only lawmaker to have authored a bill that has become law repealing a healthcare provision of Obamacare. She is also a co-sponsor of Michele Bachman's bill to change Obamacare funding from mandatory as currently dictated by law into discretionary spending.
"In regard to Lou Ann's claims that she is running a positive campaign. Voters can listen to the radio ad in Lou Ann's own voice paid for by her campaign attacking Diane Black with the false accusation that she supports Obamacare and determine for themselves if they believe Lou Ann Zelenik is delusional."