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Bredesen a ‘yes’ on Kavanaugh nomination

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen speaks to the Nashville Rotary on Aug. 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A statement from Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen:

Presidents have the right to appoint justices who share their values–elections have consequences. I believe a Senator’s responsibility to ‘advise and consent’ is not a license to indulge in partisanship, but should focus on the qualifications of the nominee, their ethics and their temperament.

I believed that Judge Kavanaugh initially met this test, and I was prepared to say ‘yes’ to his nomination prior to Dr. Ford’s coming forward. While the subsequent events make it a much closer call, and I am missing key pieces of information that a sitting Senator has, I’m still a ‘yes.’

Dr. Ford is a heroine, and has brought forcefully into the national conversation the many barriers women face in reporting and dealing with sexual harassment and assault.  I was disgusted by the treatment she received at the hands of the Senate and am determined to help bring about a fairer and far more respectful treatment of these issues.

UPDATE: Here’s Blackburn’s response:

The timing of Phil Bredesen’s announcement is no coincidence. It’s a ploy to divert attention away from his record on sexual harassment and his weak record on illegal immigration policies. He thinks this will get him off the hook for his own sexual harassment problems, but there’s no covering up the fact that he destroyed evidence regarding sexual harassment claims against his friends and political allies. As governor, he gave drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants. He opposes the wall, and he opposes President Trump’s travel ban. His campaign is bought and paid for by Chuck Schumer and national Democrats, including Michael Bloomberg. He put off an answer on Judge Kavanaugh for 88 days, under Chuck Schumer’s direction to stay neutral as long as you can. The contrast on these issues could not be more clear.

New Fox poll has Blackburn leading Bredesen by 5 points

Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen and Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn speak at the 2018 Tennessee U.S. Senate Debate at Cumberland University Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, in Lebanon, Tenn. (Lacy Atkins/The Tennessean, pool)

A new Fox News poll shows Republican Marsha Blackburn leading Democrat Phil Bredesen by 5 percentage points, 48% to 43%. The last time Fox polled Tennessee its survey showed Blackburn with a 3-point lead.

The poll conducted for Fox by Anderson Robbins Research/Shaw & Co. Research gets an A rating from the polling site FiveThirtyEight.com. The poll of 666 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee had a 17-point lead in the poll over Democrat Karl Dean.

The poll found that Bredesen had a 5-point lead among women, while Blackburn had a 17-point advantage among men. Among white men, her lead is 30 points.

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NRSC joins the fray in Tennessee Senate race

The National Republican Senate Campaign has launched its first ad of the U.S. Senate race in Tenneseee. It warns that if Phil Bredesen wins, Denecrats could take over the chamber.

Phil Bredesen and Washington liberals will stop at nothing to take back the Senate and empower radical left-wing politicians focused on repealing the progress President Trump has achieved,” NRSC spokesman Michael McAdams said in a release.

State Democrats notes that the NRSC has received more than $70,000 from auto dealer Lee Beaman, who has stepped down from the boards of Belmont University and Montgomery Bell Academy amid sordid allegations made in his divorce proceedings from his fourth wife.

“Marsha Blackburn and the NRSC should be ashamed of themselves for funding attack ads with money from a man accused of ‘sexual manipulations and degradation.’ They have refused to speak out against Lee Beaman, who’s now the co-chair of Blackburn’s pro-life coalition. Coupled with their rubber-stamp approval of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination without even listening to the concerns of women, it’s obvious that neither Blackburn or the NRSC is interested in standing up for Tennessee women,” Beth Joslin Roth, Tennessee Victory 2018 Women’s Coalition co-chair, said in a release.

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Majority Forward ad targets Blackburn over health care

The Majority Forward PAC is running a new ad attacking Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn. The ad features a Williamson County woman who says she met with Blackburn to discuss maternity coverage for women, but that Blackburn “basically said that there was nothing she could do.”

Majority Forward has spent $1.6 million on ad buys since Sept. 19, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

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Committee to Defend the President running ad against Bredesen

The Committee to Defend the President is running a new ad targeting Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen.

“Don’t let liberal Phil Bredesen rewind all of Trump’s accomplishments,” the narrator says. “Stop him before it’s too late.”

The PAC has spent more than $943,810 in Tennessee so far, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

UPDATE: The Bredesen camp, predictably, is not pleased. Says spokeswoman Alyssa Hansen:

Between the Koch Brothers, Mitch McConnell’s PAC, the NRSC, and every other out of state dark money group, plus the Blackburn campaign itself, Congresswoman Blackburn is taking the D.C. Diane playbook to new depths and turning on an unprecedented wave of negative attack ads in Tennessee. No amount of D.C. swamp politics can hide the fact that during her 16 years in Washington, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn has taken more than $800,000 from drug companies and in 2016 passed a law that federal drug enforcement agents said banned them from doing their job.

Online poll has Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race even

Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen and Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn speak at the 2018 Tennessee U.S. Senate Debate at Cumberland University Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, in Lebanon, Tenn. (Lacy Atkins/The Tennessean, pool)

An online NBC/Survey Monkey poll has the Senate race in Tennessee between Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen tied at 42% each among registered voters.

The poll isn’t held in particularly high regard by polling site FiveThirtyEight.com, which gives it a D-minus rating. A previous Axios/Survey Monkey poll on Aug. 23 had Blackburn with a 14-point lead among registered voters.

The latest poll found Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee with 46% support, compared with 35% for Democrat Karl Dean.

The survey found 53% approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing, while 46% disapprove. The highest number of respondents, 26%, said jobs and the economy are their top issue, followed closely by health care at 25%. Next were immigration (15%), education (8%), the environment (7%), and terrorism (5%).

Seventy-eight percent had a positive impression of the state economy, while 22% said it was negative.

Asked whether a pledge to expand Medicaid in the state would affect their vote in November, 40% said it would make them more likely to vote for a candidate, 24% less likely, and 35% said it would make no difference.

Among other findings:

  • Race relations: 50% said they are staying the same, 33% said they are getting worse, and 16% said they are getting better.
  • Moving confederate monuments: 31% support, 69% oppose.
  • Raising taxes to pay for better infrastructure: 56% willing, 44% unwilling.
  • Raising taxes to pay for better public schools: 55% willing, 44% unwilling.
  • State legislature: 57% approve, 40% disapprove.

 

Supreme Court declines to take up appeal of abortion amendment

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a ruling that upheld the outcome of 2014 vote on a constitutional amendment to give state lawmakers more power to restrict abortion rights in Tennessee, The Tennessean reports.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January upheld the state’s tabulating method. The Tennessee Constitution declares amendments require not just a simple majority, but a “majority of all the citizens of the state voting for governor.”

Plaintiffs argued that only ballots cast by those who had voted in both the gubernatorial election and amendment referendum should be counted (rather than the state’s longtime standard of using the equivalent number of votes).

 

Casada’s PAC running ad defending Rep. Byrd as victim of ‘fake news’

State Rep. Glen Casada is running digital ads in support of Rep. David Byrd’s re-election campaign, likening him to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and President Donald Trump and saying the lawmaker is the victim of “lies & fake news” spread by liberals.

Stand with Coach DAVID BYRD for State House!

What does Representative DAVID BYRD have in common with President Trump & Judge Brett Kavanaugh? They’re all being attacked by unhinged liberals & FAKE NEWS with false accusations because they’re fighting for our conservative agenda! Don't buy their desperate lies…

Posted by Keep Tennessee Republican on Thursday, September 27, 2018

Three women alleged in March report by WSMV-TV that Byrd (R-Waynesboro) had inappropriately touched and kissed them as teenagers while he was their 28-year-old high school basketball coach. One of the women secretly recorded a telephone call to Byrd in which he apologized and told her how “hard it has been for me” to live with his actions with the woman who was a 15-year-old student at the time.

House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) promptly called for Byrd’s resignation. Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) soon followed suit. Byrd issued a statement after the story broke, stating that he has done nothing wrong over his two terms as a state representative and expressing disappointment that Harwell “so quickly turned her back on me.”

Byrd’s image wasn’t helped by revelations that he served as a character witness in 2013 for a family friend who as a 23-year-old teacher pleaded guilty to statutory rape of a 16-year-old student. WSMV reported that Byrd, then the principal of Wayne County High School, told the court that he believed the defendant had learned his lesson and that he would “hire him in a minute” if he were able to teach again.

The AP reports that a national political action committee aimed at preventing politicians accused of sexual misconduct from being re-elected is now targeting Byrd.

Groups work to unseat Republican state Rep. Byrd following sexual misconduct allegations

Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) takes a photo during at event in Lawrenceburg on June 4, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

From a press release:

Nashville, Tenn — Indivisible, Women’s March-Power Together TN, and other partner organizations in collaboration with the  #EnoughisEnough Tennessee PAC will attempt to unseat Representative David Byrd (R) in the 2018 election cycle as he stands accused of sexual misconduct by three former high school basketball players whom he coached at Wayne County High School. 

Indivisible, along with Rep. Sherry Jones and one of David Byrd’s accusers will hold a press conference beginning at 1:00 PM Thursday, and a canvass into Rep. Byrd’s district on October 13th to increase local awareness about the campaign. Participating organizations seek to draw a line from the allegations of misconduct at the highest offices with Brett Kavanaugh to the re-election of David Byrd.

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Haslam administration awards $35M in school safety funding, grants

Gov. Bill Haslam delivers his final State of the State address on Jan. 29, 2018 in Nashville. (Photo credit: Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam’s office has announced how it will allocate $35 million in school security funding across the state. About $10 million of the money is in the form of recurring funding, while $25 million is in the form of one-time grants.

“We have made security for children at our schools a priority, so there was an urgency to have all schools assessed and the funding allocated to increase school safety as we started the school year,” Haslam said in a release.

The grants will allow school districts to make various security enhancements, including better door locks, improved visitor screening procedures and shatter-resistant glass. Some districts are using grants to improve mental health services for students and to pay for school counselors and child psychologists. Additional local funding has led to 213 new school resource officers to be hired around the state.

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