Friday, August 1, 2014

Wait ... Diane Black Just Endorsed Jim Tracy?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Action Andy Sher has a fascinating bit of news in the Times-Free Press this morning. 6th district congresswoman Diane Black has not only come out publicly for Jim Tracy, she's attending a fundraiser for the state senator trying to unseat 4th district congressman Scott Desjarlais

Both Black's and Tracy's offices Thursday confirmed Black will attend an Aug. 5 fundraiser for Tracy in Sumner County, which is in Black's 6th District.

"Congressman Black and Senator Tracy have been friends since they served together in the General Assembly," Black spokesman Tom Flanagin said via email Thursday. "He asked her to be his special guest at a fundraiser and she agreed."

Asked if that meant Black is supporting Tracy in the Aug. 7 primary, Flanagin replied, "Yes."

Tracy said in his own statement that "Diane and I came in to the Tennessee State Senate together as part of the group that flipped the Senate to a Republican Majority."

This type of Representative-on-Representative violence is rarely seen. It's no surprise that Black wants Desjarlais, generally considered an embarrassment to the GOP no matter his conservative voting record, out of Congress. But to endorse his rival, who she beat four years ago in a very messy primary, is pretty surprising.

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

#Lamarwatch: Internal Poll Shows Alexander Up Big Over Carr

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 9:55 AM

After an internal poll showed up in the Wall Street Journal this week showing Lamar Alexander up big over Joe Carr, we asked the campaign for the poll. They provided an updated memo last night.

To: Steve Smith, Finance Chairman, Alexander for Senate
From: Whit Ayres, President, North Star Opinion Research
Date: July 30, 2014
Re: Alexander Enjoys Comfortable Lead Over Six Opponents With Eight Days to Go

Our firm conducted a survey of 600 likely Republican primary voters in Tennessee from July 27- 29, 2014. The sample was drawn from a list of all registered voters in the state, and all respondents indicated that they are absolutely certain, very likely, or somewhat likely to vote in the Republican primary for state and federal offices on August 7, or they have already voted. Forty-two percent of the calls come from the east grand division (compared to 46 percent in 2010), 37 percent from the middle (33 percent in 2010), and 21 percent in the west (the same as 2010). Calls were conducted using live interviewers, and 30 percent of the interviews were completed on cell phones. Including a substantial proportion of calls completed on cell phones is a critical step for obtaining accurate numbers in this era when so many voters, especially younger voters, no longer use land lines. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.0 percent.

Senator Alexander stands at 53 percent on the seven-way ballot. Alexander stands at 53 percent in a head-to-head ballot test, compared to 24 percent for Joe Carr, 5 percent for George Shea Flinn, 1 percent for Erin Kent McGee, and 0 percent for Frank Christian Agnew, John D. King, and Brenda Lenard, with 17 percent undecided or refused. George Flinn is both better known and better liked than Joe Carr in the western part of the state, so polls that do not include Flinn fail to capture the full picture of this race.

Three-fifths of Republican primary voters approve of Alexander's job performance. Fifty- nine percent approve and 32 percent disapprove of the job Lamar Alexander has done in the U.S. Senate. Alexander's job approval stands at 66 percent in the east, 52 percent in the middle, and 60 percent in the west.

Undecided voters typically break disproportionately to challengers in incumbent reelection campaigns. Even if that occurs, Senator Alexander's lead is sufficient to produce a comfortable margin of victory for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate on August 7.

Of note, Ayres has some experience this cycle in contested primaries. He was Lindsay Graham's pollster when he won a very contentious South Carolina GOP primary in June.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

#Lamarwatch: Wash Post on TN GOP: "It's Tea Party vs. Legacy of Howard Baker"

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Good piece by Dan Balz this morning in the Washington Post looking at the Alexander race in a more macro context:

Carr, in a telephone interview, said Alexander is insufficiently conservative, wrong for having supported an overhaul of immigration law and far too willing to work with Democrats, and even President Obama. He called Baker a “great statesman” but said this of Baker and Alexander’s style of politics: “I don’t believe it’s suited to the times we’re in.”

Alexander believes Baker’s approach is as vital today as ever. Every Republican in the Senate, he said, is a conservative. “It’s like saying, ‘Who’s the skinniest offensive tackle?’ They’re all over 300 pounds, so what’s the difference?”

He argued that governing a complex country in difficult times requires developing relationships and finding consensus across party lines. The real conflict inside the Republican Party is not conservatives vs. moderates, he said, but rather “between conservatives who think their job is finished when they make a speech and conservatives who want to govern.”

“If you want to fix the debt, you have to introduce a bill and pass it,” he said. “If you want to change Obamacare, you have to introduce a bill and get 60 votes in the Senate and persuade this president to sign it, or the next president.”

It takes balls to say that Baker's style of politics aren't "suited to the times we're in" less than a month after he was buried. Is being a Watergate interrogator, a problem-solver, a chief of staff to the president or an ambassador to Japan suddenly a liability? That a Republican running for the exact seat Baker held could say that takes a lot of chutzpah.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

#Lamarwatch: The Palin Endorsement and Joe Carr's 'Flip-Flopping'

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Coming in over the transom this morning is news from Politico that the Sarah Palin endorsement of Joe Carr last week may not have been a surprise. It turns out that right-wing millionaire Andy Miller — who was the beneficiary of a $200,000 loan from the Carr campaign — shares a financial interest in an Alaskan resort with Todd Palin. Miller has been influential in funding tea party challenges in the state and is a big supporter of Carr.

Miller denied the charge to Politico in their Morning Score newsletter:

“There are numerous investors in that lodge and the investment by the Palin's [sic] and I were made over a year ago, long before Joe Carr even thought about entering the Senate race against Lamar,” Miller said in a statement in response to questions. “The idea that the investment has anything to do with the Palin endorsement is ludicrous and insulting. … My principles are not for sale. The Palins’ principles are not for sale.” Palin’s PAC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Here's the filing in Alaska. Of note, Freeman Webb Holdings, whose partner Bill Freeman is considering a mayoral run, also has a financial stake in the resort.

Continue reading »

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Odom, Clemmons and Getting to the Bottom of the Attack Ads

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 7:00 AM

  • Clemmons campaign
Standing in a mostly empty Legislative Plaza in the middle of the day, Gary Odom laughed about the things his political opponent is saying about him.

The claims are “absurd” and untrue, said the 28-year state rep. Then he laughs and says suggestions he has endorsements by the Tea Party are, contrary to its intent, revving up his base.

“I hope he sends another negative one out,” Odom says about John Ray Clemmons’ campaign mailers against him, “because I don’t think he’s going to win doing that.”

The longtime incumbent is facing off against Clemmons, a lawyer, for the House District 55 seat this year. But Odom is largely missing in action.

Odom cancelled an interview with the Scene earlier this week to talk about his campaign in this week's print edition, saying he had misgivings about the direction of the article. He said Roy Herron, executive director of the Tennessee Democratic Party who has his own philosophical battles with the party, tipped him off that the Scene called him with questions about where he thinks Odom sits on the liberal-conservative Democratic political spectrum.

Days later, Odom skipped the Tennessean’s editorial board meeting that would have put him face-to-face with Clemmons. His challenger then beat up on the MIA Odom, calling him a lobbyist and someone with Tea Party ties, much like he has said to the Scene and in four campaign mailers.

  • Odom campaign
Odom put out his own four-page hit-piece this week in response, calling Clemmons a liar. “If John Ray Clemmons will lie to you as a candidate…. Just think what he would do as a legislator,” read the mail piece.

“The fact is he has nothing he can talk about that he’s done. He’s been an unsuccessful political operative,” Odom told Pith about Clemmons when stopped in the hall. “It’s just lies, and that’s what I’m calling them. Everything they’re doing is a lie. I’ve never been endorsed by the Tea Party.”

Here’s a look at the three major issues Clemmons is raising against Odom so far this race:

Continue reading »

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

#MayoralChatter: Jeremy Kane Announces Mayoral Run

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Jeremy Kane made it official this morning, announcing his mayoral candidacy and the appointment of a campaign treasurer in a press release.

The announcement from the ambitious founder and former CEO of LEAD Public Schools confirmed the assumptions of this blog, local political observers, and a long list of rich people whose names you'll recognize. It has long been a question of when, not if, Kane would get into the race. Now that he's done so, he joins At-Large Councilwoman Megan Barry, attorney Charles Robert Bone, and former school board chairman David Fox in what looks to be a crowded contest to replace Karl Dean.

Pam Martin, President of Cushion Employer Services, will serve as treasurer for Kane's campaign, according to the release, which also notes that Martin served as "co-chair of Mayor Karl Dean's 2007 campaign for mayor, as well as a member of his initial transition team."

Kane's campaign website is live and he's also released this video.

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#Lamarwatch: Sarah Palin Endorses Joe Carr

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Sarah Palin endorsed Joe Carr yesterday.

The conservative grassroots patriots in Tennessee have clearly spoken. When I visited there earlier this month, I was impressed by all the energy and momentum behind Joe Carr. Please join me in supporting him as the Volunteer State’s next Senator!

As a reminder, Sarah Palin:

... Likely hurt John McCain in the 2008 election.

... quit the Alaska governorship.

... is considered stupid by the head of the network that employs her.

... and has a history of high profile endorsement failures already in 2014 Senate races including in Mississippi, Georgia, Oklahoma and Minnesota.

Why again is the Carr campaign trumpeting this?

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Everyone Needs An Editor, Including Big Money PACs

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Everyone needs an edtidor etitor editor, including PACs.

Because what you don't want to do is spend money creating so-called "push cards" to point people toward the candidates you're endorsing ... and send folks to the polls on the wrong day.


Yup, Nashvillians United for Fairness and Justice — the group formed by Bill Freeman and former Tennessee Democratic Party chair Chip Forrester — apparently printed cards with the wrong date for Election Day. A Pith tipster found this on their car yesterday after church. And for the record, electioneers, you can't go on private property without permission. We're just sayin'.

(Of course, there was a noticeable error in the press release announcing the group's formation, so maybe we're not that surprised. Guys, we know some editors who could use the work. Call us.)

If you've got pictures of other direct-mail or election-handout goofs, pass them along to editor@nashvillescene.com.

And don't forget to vote on August 7. It will be a little lonely at the polling place on the 6th.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Is Ron Ramsey Alone In Wanting To Remove Supreme Court Justices?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 8:17 AM

So, just about everyone is getting into the fight over whether or not to retain three sitting members of the state Supreme court.

Yesterday, the Fraternal Order of Police, for the first time ever, endorsed the sitting justices over a Ron Ramsey-backed movement to just replace the Democrats on the court.

The FOP said it decided to take the unusual step of endorsing the justices because the group feels strongly about the importance of fair and impartial courts.

“We enforce as officers the laws that are written, and we expect our justices to enforce the laws the way they interpret the laws and adjudicate on what the interpretations are,” said State FOP President Johnny Crumby.

So, on a bipartisan level, the cops, most lawyers and most of the state's elected officials are all against Ramsey's attempt to pack the court.

In an extraordinary Q&A earlier this year, Ramsey admitted that this is pure partisan politics and that he and his side are willing to skew facts in order to win the election.

Q: But you're proposing a misleading campaign, aren't you?

RAMSEY: Oh, come on. No, I'm not misleading. I'll have our side. They'll have their side.

Q: Why not tell both sides?

RAMSEY: That's the other side. If I'm running for election do I tell both sides? No, I tell what I think will enhance my election. That's what it's for. Then you have an election. The other side tells their side. Does Barack Obama tell the good side, or the bad side, when he's running? No, that's what elections are about. And let the people decide who's telling the truth.

Maybe enough people have decided that half-truths from the Lt. Gov. are bad for the state and are standing up against radically politicizing the courts.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Reading From the Book Of Campfield

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 5:30 AM


Would you bow with me, please?

Oh, Lord, have mercy on thy servants Cari Gervin and Paige Huntoon at Metropulse

For in their zeal to do thy bidding, they have spent what looks like years compiling the antics of Stacey Campfield;

Please give them rest and comfort, because no creature in Heaven or on Earth should expend so much energy on a legislator who has done so little;

Please give their minds relief from the trauma of documenting every boneheaded thing Campfield hast done;

And, if it be thy will, deliver our elected body from his pestilence on Election Day.


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