Blog Entries

Black mailer depicts Lee with “Three Liberalteers”

A new mailer from Diane Black’s gubernatorial campaign picks up the theme that Republican rival Bill Lee once gave money to three Democrats: former Gov. Phil Bredesen and former Nashville Mayors Karl Dean and Megan Barry, who are labeled “The Three Liberalteers.” The mailer says Lee “bankrolls liberal Democrats.” What it doesn’t say is that Lee gave a combined $1,750 to Bredesen, Dean, and Barry. Hardly solely responsible for any of those bids afloat, but that doesn’t factor into the increasingly bitter Republican primary campaign.

So will this mailer change any minds?

 

Santorum endorses Black in governor’s race

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santrorum (R-Pa.) has endorsed U.S. Rep. Diane Black for governor.

“With Diane Black in the Governor’s office, I am confident that the conservative values that make Tennessee great will be protected and preserved,” Santorum said in a release.

Santorum won the Republican presidential primary in Tennessee in 2012. (The 2008 winner was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has endorsed Randy Boyd.)

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GOP poll finds Blackburn margin shrinking against Bredesen

A political action committee that supports Republican Marsha Blackburn finds just a 3 percentage point margin between the congresswoman and Democrat Phil Bredesen in the U.S. Senate race.

That’s a drop from a 5-point advantage when the Committee to Defend the President polled the race in February, and a 9-point lead in December, The Tennessean reports. Both of those earlier polls also had Blackburn with more than 40% support.

PAC spokeswoman Amanda Head nevertheless declared “the future is still looking bright” for Blackburn.

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Last GOP debate of gubernatorial primary canceled

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

The final televised debate of the Republican gubernatorial primary has been canceled after a spate of candidates dropped out.

First, Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd declared that he had a scheduling conflict would prevent him from attending. Then state House Speaker Beth Harwell said she wouldn’t attend if Boyd didn’t. Then U.S. Rep. Diane Black said she wasn’t going. Franklin businessman Bill Lee said he’d go to the Knoxville debate site no matter its fate, and now plans to hold a town hall nearby on Sunday.

 

Poll has Bredesen with edge on Blackburn, Black over Boyd

House Speaker Beth Harwell attends a gubernatorial forum in Nashville on Feb. 27, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A new automated poll by Emerson College finds Democrat Phil Bredesen with 43% support in the Senate race, compared with 37% for Blackburn. In the Republican gubernatorial primary, 27% said they preferred Diane Black, while 22% supported Boyd, 19% for Lee, and 14% for Harwell.

The survey has a margin of error of a plus or minus 4.1 percentage points in the Senate race and 6.4 points in the governor’s race, so everything is pretty much a statistical tie.

On the Democratic side, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean revived the support of 44% of those polled, compared with 14% for House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh. The margin of error on that race was plus or minus 7.3 points).

In a hypothetical general election matchup, Dean had 39% versus 35% for Black, with 27% undecided. In a matchup with Boyd, Dean had an even slimmer edge: 36%-34, with 30% undecided.

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Wamp endorses Lee for governor

Former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp speaks about his endorsement of Bill Lee in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Chattanooga on July 16, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp is endorsing Franklin businessman Bill Lee’s bid for governor.

Wamp unsuccessfully sought the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2010. So did then-Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, who is a co-chairman of U.S. Rep Diane Black’s bid. Gov. Bill Haslam, the winner of the 2010 contest is remaining neutral in this year’s primary.

“While I originally intended to not take a public stand in this primary race, I have watched closely the tactics, tone and campaign activity of the four GOP candidates,” Wamp said in a release. “Without question, the most positive vision, organization and campaign has come from Bill Lee. No wonder so many in the Gospel and Country music industry are supporting Bill Lee.”

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Bredesen raises $2.4M, loans Senate bid another $2M

Democrat Phil Bredesen raised $2.43 million for his Senate bid the second quarter, while the former governor also donated another $2 million to his campaign.

That places Bredesen’s total collections at $8.2 million since joining the race (including loans from the candidate, which the campaign said are aimed at TV ads and digital efforts).

Republican Marsha Blackburn’s campaign announced that it brought in $2.6 million in the quarter and had $7.3 million on hand moving forward.

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Blackburn raises $2.6M for Senate bid in second quarter

Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn raised $2.6 million for her Senate bid in the second quarter, the Chattanooga Time Free Press‘ Andy Sher reports.

The quarterly haul includes $2.2 million in direct contributions plus nearly $400,000 in transfers from joint fundraising committees. That leaves Blackburn with $7.3 million on hand as the campaign heads toward the general election phase.

“Tennesseans across the state have generously donated to our campaign as I work to take our shared values to the United States Senate,” Blackburn said. “I am so grateful for their support, because these resources are vital as we work to keep Tennessee red and defeat Hillary Clinton’s ally Phil Bredesen in November.”

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Black hits Lee for giving to pro-choice candidate, but her husband did same

U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s latest attack ad on Republican gubernatorial rival Bill Lee criticizes him for giving a $1,750 to three Democrats: Phil Bredesen, Karl Dean, and former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, whom the ad labels an abortion supporter. Unmentioned is that Black’s husband, David, once gave $2,000 to a self-described pro-choice candidate.

David Black gave two $1,000 donations to former state Sen. Rosalind Kurita (D-Clarksville), who played a key role in then-Sen. Ron Ramsey’s 2007 election as the the state’s first Republican Senate speaker since Reconstruction.

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Boyd drops out of final televised gubernatorial debate

Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd won’t participate in the final Republican gubernatorial debate before the Aug. 2 primary.

Republican Randy Boyd addresses the audience during the Gubernatorial Forum on Education at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (George Walker IV /The Tennessean, Pool)

WATE-TV reports that the Boyd campaign is citing a “scheduling conflict” for sitting out the July 22 debate to be held at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville.

Most of the debates and candidate forums so far have been largely staid affairs, thought the atmosphere might have been different this time following the influx of negative TV ads, and because candidates desperate to gain traction might be more willing to take shots at each other.

The Pellissippi State debate is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Eastern between Democrats Karl Dean and Craig Fitzugh, followed by the GOP debate between Beth Harwell, Bill Lee, and Diane Black at 9 p.m.