Erik Schelzig

Editor, The Tennessee Journal

Black’s new TV ad touts ‘lanes, not trains’

Republican Diane Black’s new ad in the governor’s race touts her “lanes, not trains” approach to dealing with traffic congestion in Middle Tennessee.

The U.S. representative from Gallatin discusses her plan to complete the northern loop of I-840 around Nashville so trucks can be sent around the city rather than through it. She doesn’t mention her call to “double-stack” the interstates through the center of the state capital.

The ad is running in the Nashville media market.

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New Lee and Harwell ads hit the airwaves

Republican gubernatorial candidates Bill Lee and Beth Harwell are on the air with new ads:

Philbert? New Trump nickname for Bredesen, or a slip of the tongue?

President Donald Trump’s rally for Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn in Nashville included a series of attacks on her Democratic opponent, former Gov. Phil Bredesen. The main themes were that the president had never heard of him, that Bredesen would vote with Democratic leadership in Congress if he were elected, and that he had previously supported Barack Obama and “Crooked” Hillary Clinton.

Oh, and he called him “Philbert.”

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Black cites violent films, porn as ‘root causes’ for school shootings

U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) speaks at a Republican event in Nashville on May 7, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Violent movies and pornography are causes for school shootings, Republican gubernatorial candidate Diane Black told ministers last week.

“Pornography. It’s available. It’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store. Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there,” Black said according to an audio recording  obtained by the Huffington Post. “All of this is available without parental guidance, and I think that is a big part of the root cause that we see so many young people that have mental illness caught in these places.”

 The congresswoman from Gallatin was speaking to ministers at Safe Harbor in Clarksville.  She said the “deterioration of the family” and and the lack of a good support system was causing children go go astray.

“What do they say about idle hands?” she said. “The devil’s workshop.”

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Corker comment featured in Senate ad – for North Dakota Democrat

Retiring Sen. Bob Corker has caused a lot of heartburn for Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign for his lukewarm endorsement of her bid to succeed him and for his refusal to saying he won’t campaign against his old friend Phil Bredesen in the race. Now some other Corker comments are appearing in another Democrat’s campaign ads in North Dakota.

The ad for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) cites statements made about her by Republican colleagues, highlighted by one made by Corker in 2013 that she was “stronger than battery acid.”

“When it comes to fighting for North Dakota, I take battery acid as a compliment,” Heitkamp says in the ad.

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Former US Rep. Bob Clement endorses Karl Dean

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean speaks to a business group in Nashville on March 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Clement is endorsing Karl Dean, the man who beat him to become Nashville mayor in 2007, in his Democratic bid for governor over House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley.

It’s the second recent endorsement from Clement, who earlier this month gave his nod to the 7th District congressional bid of Democrat Justin Kanew, a film writer and producer who lives in College Grove in Williamson County. That endorsement was at odds with fellow former Democratic U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, who is supporting former aide Matt Reel of Primm Springs in Hickman County, in that race.  State Sen. Mark Green (R-Ashland City) is unopposed for the Republican nomination for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) to run for the Senate.

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Stealth contest no more? Boyd puts out 2-week schedule

Tennessee gubernatorial candidates talk education during SCORE event at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, January 23, 2018. (Photo credit: Belmont Univeristy)

For reasons that haven’t been entirely clear, most of the candidate running for governor this year have kept their whereabouts a closely-guarded secret from the media and the public at large. That appears to finally be changing among the Republican field as we head into the final 45 days before early voting gets underway.

Franklin businessman Bill Lee’s campaign has begun putting out more detailed calendars about where the Republican will be campaigning, while U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s camp has announced occasional one-off events. For House Speaker Beth Harwell it’s mostly been radio silence. But Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd took a major step in scheduling transparency by releasing a detailed list of events he is holding as part of his 95-county bus tour over the next two weeks.

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Corker, Alexander to attend Trump rally despite recent criticism

Republican Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker are attending Donald Trump’s rally and a fundraiser in Nashville despite critical comments made last week about the president’s trade policies.

Trump last week called for an investigation into whether imports of cars, trucks, and automotive parts pose a threat to national security. Needless to say, Corker and Alexander were not impressed.

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Super PAC’s television ad targets Black over immigration

A new TV ad run by an independent Super PAC is taking aim at Diane Black over immigration.

The ad is paid for by a group called Tennessee Jobs Now PAC, which had until now been running its ads attacking Black on talk radio stations. The PAC is mostly funded by millionaire businessman Joe Hollingsworth of Clinton, the father of Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, who won his election in Indiana in 2016 with the support of a PAC called Indiana Jobs Now.

The congressman’s father, Joe Hollingsworth of Clinton, Tenn., has given $8,000 to Boyd’s gubernatorial bid. The Boyd camp has said it has nothing to do with the ads. The elder Hollingsworth publicly contemplated a Democratic bid for governor of Tennessee in 1998, but ultimately bowed out.

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Unsigned: Haslam allows anti-sanctuary cities bill to become law

Critics call it the “mass deportation bill,” while supporters label it the “anti-sanctuary cities bill.” Either way, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday allowed the bill to become law without his signature.

The measure declares that municipalities can lose state grant funds if they loosen local rules involving illegal immigrants and requires state and local law enforcement officers to assist federal officials. Haslam has noted that “sanctuary cities” are already prohibited in Tennessee, despite concerns to the contrary from some of those urging him to sign the bill. He’s also argued that some concerns from the “immigrant community” seemed focused on provisions that were deleted from the measure prior to its final passage.

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