legislative campaigns

Former Johnson City mayor backs off campaign to unseat state Rep. Micah Van Huss

Former Johnson City Mayor Steve Darden says he wants to withdraw from a challenge to state Rep. Micah Van Huss in the state House District 6 Republican primary, reports the Johnson City Press, but apparently his name will remain on the ballot.

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McCormick drops bid for re-election, says he’ll resign House seat effective Oct. 1

Republican state Rep. Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga says he will resign his House District 26 seat effective Oct. 1 and withdraw immediately as a candidate for re-election, reports the Times Free Press. The former House majority leader said he decided to leave the legislature after 14 years to take a new job based in Nashville.

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NFIB endorses reelection of 18 incumbent Republican state legislators and two Democrats (including ‘black Republican’ Tate)

The National Federation of Independent Business’ Tennessee political action committee has endorsed 20 incumbent state legislators for reelection – 18 Republicans and two Democrats. Sen. Reginal Tate and Rep. John DeBerry, both of Memphis. NFIB typically only endorses incumbents.

The Nashville Post notes that Tate’s Democratic primary opponent, Katrina Robinson, was recently endorsed by Democratic state Sens. Lee Harris and Sara Kyle, also representing Memphis. And that Tate and Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron were recently recorded at a legislative committee meeting joking about that unusual move and Tate’s status as “a black Republican.”

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McCormick buys Nashville home, still found qualified to run as state rep in Chattanooga

Gerald McCormick, who is a former House majority leader and eyeing a run for House speaker next year, bought a home in Nashville last year but still has been declared qualified to run for re-election as a state representative in Chattanooga, reports the Times Free Press.

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Legislative candidate’s wife charged with elder abuse, theft

Stephanie Butler, owner of a Cookeville retirement home named Senior Lifestyles, has been charged with elder abuse and theft from residents of the facility, reports the Cookeville Herald-Citizen. She is also the target of a lawsuit stemming from alleged actions in operating a now-closed facility known as Victorian Gardens Retirement Village.

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Sen. Reginald Tate’s primary opponent endorsed by Democratic colleagues, citing his siding with GOP in legislative voting

Two of state Sen. Reginald Tate’s Democratic colleagues from Memphis – Sens. Lee Harris and Sara Kyle – have endorsed his primary opponent as he seeks reelection, reports the Commercial Appeal, adding that’s a break with tradition and “a consequence of siding with Republicans on hot-button issues like defunding Planned Parenthood.”

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With an eye on becoming House speaker, Casada budgets $200K to help elect favored Republican reps

House Majority Leader Glen Casada has budgeted more than $200,000 in spending by his political action committee as part of an “aggressive strategy” to elect Republican representatives this year and —  perhaps not so coincidentally – help him get elected as the House speaker by those winning the races, reports Andy Sher.

Casada is one of at least four current Republican legislators eyeing a run to succeed current House Speaker Beth Harwell, who is not seeking reelection to the House this year and instead running for governor. The other three are Rep. Gerald McCormick, a former majority leader; House Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson and Rep. David Hawk, currently assistant majority leader.

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Reports of elder abuse prompt raid on legislative candidate’s business

An assisted living facility in Cookeville partly owned by Ed Butler, who is unopposed for the Republican nomination in the state House District 41 seat now held by Democratic Rep. John Mark Windle of Livingston, has been raided by authorities amid reports that some elderly residents have been mistreated.

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Mayor running for Congress, former sheriff running for legislature squabble in hallway, exchange insults afterwards

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, who is running for a seat in Congress,  and former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchinson, who is running for a seat in the state House, had a heated exchange when they crossed paths in Knoxville’s City-County building recently, reports the News Sentinel.

The May 10 incident was caught on a security camera video, but without any audio. The two men offer differing accounts of the verbal exchange, though both say it included anonymous emails about Burchett and his stepson. The two have a political history: Burchett defeated Hutchinson in the 2010 mayor’s race.

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Democrats have fielded candidates in almost all state House and Senate races

Democrats have filed as candidates for almost all seats in a Tennessee General Assembly that is now controlled by a Republican Supermajority and party leaders say that sets up more contested partisan legislative races than they can remember from recent history.

By the party’s initial count, there were Democratic candidates running in 97 of the 99 state House seats and 15 of the 17 Senate seats that are on the November, 2018,  general election ballot. But a final review of qualifying petitions indicates there are three Republicans each in the Senate and House with no Democrat qualifying to oppose them.

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