Tom Humphrey

Tom Humphrey

Lee reserves $2.2M worth of TV ad time for June through Aug. 2 GOP gubernatorial primary

Williamson County gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee has reserved $2.2 million worth of TV time to run campaign ads from June through the Aug. 2 Republican primary, reports Joel Ebert.

Although the spots are still months away from hitting the airwaves, Lee has reserved $1.1 million in ads to air on local broadcast stations in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, the Tri-Cities area and throughout West Tennessee, including Memphis and Jackson, as well as Paducah, Kentucky.

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Poll finds 64 percent of TN GOP voters want Corker to retire

A poll of likely Tennessee Republican primary voters, commissioned by the Senate Conservatives Fund, found 64 percent want Bob Corker to retire from the U.S. Senate while 24 percent said he should run for reelection with 12 percent undecided, according to Breitbart News.

The poll also found that Blackburn – who has been endorsed by SCF – would be strongly favored to defeat Corker and U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher a hypothetical three-way Republican U.S. Senate  The results: 49 percent for Blackburn, 26 percent for Corker and 9 percent for Fincher.

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House sub sinks bill expanding legal handgun carry locations; OKs other gun bills

The House Civil Justice Subcommittee Wednesday unanimously voted down a bill by Rep. Judd Matheny to repeal many current restrictions on places where those holding handgun carry permits can take their weapons. HB884 was one of several measures on gun laws before the panel.

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Comptroller finds no major legal problems in Memphis Confederate statues maneuver

Press release from Office of the Comptroller

The Comptroller’s Office has completed a review of the City of Memphis’ December 20, 2017 sale of Health Sciences Park and the easement to Memphis Park to Memphis Greenspace, Inc.

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Bill putting $100K cap on loans to campaigns clears House committee

A bill that limits local and statewide candidates’ from loaning their campaign more than $100,000 was approved by the House Local Government Committee Tuesday, reports The Tennessean.

Sponsored by Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville), HB1770 would not take effect until next year, after the current campaign season that has already seen at least four gubernatorial candidates loaning their campaigns more than $100,000. The bill would still allow candidates to make direct contributions to their campaigns in unlimited amounts — just not loans subject to being repaid afterwards, which sometimes occurs if the candidate wins.

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Update on Corker reconsidering: rebuff from Trump (?), Blackburn sees sexism afoot, etc.

Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s campaign said Tuesday — responding to reports that Sen. Bob Corker is considering reversing an earlier decision and running for reelection to a new U.S. Senate term — that anyone who thinks she can’t win the general election in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race is a “plain sexist pig,” reports the Associated Press.

The New York Times reports, meanwhile, that President Donald Trump has been encouraging Blackburn and rebuffing – so far – what one Republican calls a “charm offensive” by Sen. Bob Corker and supporters seeking the president’s support for Corker seeking for reelection.

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Complaints filed with FEC on Burchett and Matlock campaign financing

Separate complaints have been filed with the Federal Election Commission contending that two Republican candidates in the 2nd Congressional District primary, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and state Rep. Jimmy Matlock, have violated campaign finance laws, reports the News Sentinel.

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TVA’s $29M million aircraft fleet under attack (verbally)

A collection of consumer and environmental groups teamed Tuesday to blast TVA for spending millions on executive aircraft, contending they benefit wealthy executives, directors and business prospects at the expense of ordinary electric ratepayers, reports the Times Free Press.

TVA has spent nearly $29 million in the past two and a half years to buy nearly identical corporate jets and a specialized Mercedes-Benz Style helicopter formerly used by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The executive jets and helicopter are part of TVA’s overall aircraft fleet of nine active helicopters, airplanes and jets (plus a King Air 350 plane that TVA bought for $6.5 million and is now for sale). TVA employs five full-time pilots and aircraft supervisors and spends millions of dollars a year to operate its own aircraft.

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Politico: ‘Distaste’ for Blackburn behind GOP prodding of Corker to reconsider retirement

Following up on earlier reports, Politico says  “a faction of Republicans in Tennessee and Washington” – worried that Republican Marsha Blackburn could lose the November U.S. Senate general election and give Democrats a Senate majority – continues to urge Sen. Bob Corker to reconsider his retirement plans.

A Blackburn spokeswoman scoffs at the notion of the current congressman as a loser and Corker is non-committal (though someone ‘close’ to the senator says he’s listening), according to the lengthy article. The piece also suggests that Corker has “reached out” to President Donald Trump to get his thinking on a retreat from retirement.

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Senate approves revision in rules for online job contract companies

After a half-hour of debate, the state Senate approved 25-3 Monday night a bill that revises legal restrictions for online “marketplace platform” companies that collect a fee for putting those needing temporary work performed in touch with persons willing to do the job – TaskRabbit, for example.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Bo Watson of Hixson, says it’s a business-friendly update to the realities of today’s technology and increasing use of contract services. Critics contend it undermines protections for both workers and those who hire them.

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