legislators

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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Rep. Harold Love Jr. running for Nashville mayor

Calling himself a “coalition builder,” Democratic state Rep. Harold Love Jr. has announced he will be running for Nashville mayor at the same time he’s running for reelection to the state House, reports The Tennessean. If he wins both races, Love says he’ll resign from the House District 58 seat.

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Sen. Thelma Harper officially announces she won’t seek reelection

News release from Senate Democratic Caucus

NASHVILLE – After nearly 40 years of public service, state Sen. Thelma Harper announced today that she would not seek re-election to the 19th Senatorial District.

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Appeals court rejects legislators’ intervention in lesbian couple’s child custody dispute

The state Court of Appeals has rejected an attempt by 52 state representatives and 19 state senators to intervene in a divorce dispute over child custody between Sabrina Witt and Erica Witt, two Knoxville women who were married in Washington, D.C., reports the News Sentinel.

The opinion, written by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Michael Swiney also declares that the legislators should pay costs involved in appealing the trial court’s decision dismissing their motion to intervene.

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Businessman Paul Harper, husband of state senator, dies aged 79

Nashville businessman Paul Wilson Harper, husband of state Sen. Thelma Harper, has died at age 79 “after a year of slowly declining health,” reports the Tennessee Tribune.

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Rep. David Byrd accused of sexual misconduct; Harwell says he should resign

State Rep. David  Byrd has been accused by three women of having inappropriate sexual contact with them while he was a high school basketball coach and they were teenagers, according to WSMV. House Speaker Beth Harwell promptly called for the Waynesboro Republican to resign from his House seat after being provided a secretly-recorded tape of Byrd apologizing to one of the women. Continue reading

Mae Beavers running for Wilson County mayor

Mae Beavers, who resigned from the state Senate last year to make a short-lived run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, has obtained a qualifying petition to now run for Wilson County mayor, reports the Wilson Post.

She will face Incumbent Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, who has already filed his qualifying petition. Another potential candidate, Bob Richie, has picked up a petition but has not filed, according to the county election commission office.

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Blackburn blessed by 56 of 74 Republican state representatives

Press release from Marsha Blackburn campaign

BRENTWOOD, TN – Today, 56 state Representatives announced their support of Marsha Blackburn for U.S. Senate. They join Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally, a majority of Republican state Senators, and a growing list of Tennesseans in endorsing Blackburn for Senate.
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Haslam spokeswoman: ‘Political affiliation did not play a role’ in appointing school safety panel

Through a spokeswoman, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s office is pushing back against criticism of his appointments to a  task force assigned to study school safety and recommend revisions in state laws or policy, reports the Times Free Press. Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris has been the lead critic, saying the 16-member panel is solid Republican with no Democratic members “where a bipartisan consensus is sorely needed.”

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Haslam: No executive order to restore net neutrality in TN (but there’s a bill)

Gov. Bill Haslam is spurning request from Democratic state legislators that he join some other governor in issuing an executive order to preserve “net neutrality,” reports the Nashville Post. Rep. John Ray Clemmons of Nashville and Sen. Lee Harris of Memphis wrote him a letter last week with the request, which could have restored regulations repealed by the Federal Communications Commission.

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