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Another Black poll shows her leading Boyd in GOP gubernatorial primary (41 percent to 28 percent)

An internal polling memo leaked by U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s campaign shows her on top of GOP primary competitor Randy Boyd by 13 points, reports the Nashville Post, close to the results of an earlier Black-commissioned poll that was labeled “bogus” by Boyd’s campaign.

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Black poll shows ‘surge,’ Boyd camp calls it ‘bogus’

U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) speaks at a Republican event in Nashville on May 7, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

An internal poll for U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s campaign shows the Gallatin Republican “surging ahead” of her primary rivals. The Grassroots Targeting poll of 800 registered Republican voters shows Black with 41%, compared with 26% for nearest rival Randy Boyd of Knoxville.

Chip Saltsman, the Randy Boyd for Governor Campaign CEO, promptly issued a statement calling the finding a “bogus poll” that fails to reflect what he called “a clearly competitive two-person race.”

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Human Resource Agency’s executive director fired for alleged misconduct (including use of agency van to attend GOP fundraiser)

The executive director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency, headquartered in Cookeville,  was fired Wednesday by a 14-12 vote of the organization’s board of directors, reports WSMV TV. The vote came after a closed-door meeting for a briefing on allegations against Luke Collings by the board’s attorney. A state comptroller’s audit is also underway.

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Sessions ‘not shedding any tears’ over ICD raid on TN meatpacking plant

Speaking at a law enforcement conference in Gatlinburg, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised to continue being strict on illegal immigration and said he’s “not shedding any tears”    over the recent ICE raid on a meatpacking plant in Grainger County, reports the News Sentinel.

Newly appointed U.S. District Attorney Doug Overbey introduced Sessions, who delivered a 25-minute speech including criticism of the “fuzzy-headed left” as well as promising to add 35 prosecutors and 18 immigration judges to border states to deal with backlogs on immigration cases.

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Cyberattack crashes Knox County Election Commission website

Knox County officials say the election commission website that displays election results crashed on Tuesday night — when tallying of local primary election results was underway — due to a “deliberate” and “widespread” cyberattack, reports the News Sentinel. A cyber security contractor is now looking into the problem.

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Gibson goes from Trump, Blackburn darling to Chapter 11

Nashville-based guitar maker Gibson has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company’s products were featured at the White House last year as part of President Donald Trump’s “Made in America Product Showcase.” And in 2011, Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz was the guest of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) at then-President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Juszkiewicz had blasted the Democratic adminstration for raids on Gibson factories to seize exotic wood imported in violation of environmental laws. Gibson the following year agreed to pay a $300,000 penalty to get federal prosecutors to drop the criminal case.

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House GOP retaliation for Confederate monument removal: A scripted political show?

Some Republicans familiar with the discussions leading up to Tuesday’s state House vote cut $250,000 in funding for Memphis in retaliation for the city removing Confederate statues say the money was put into the state budget on the front end only so that it could be later taken away as  part of an effort send a message to Memphis, reports the Commercial Appeal. Others deny that was the case.

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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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Lenoir holds money lead in Shelby County mayor race

David Lenoir, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Shelby County mayor, raised $232,740 over the past six months to keep his financial lead in what will likely be a costly political slugfest, reports The Commercial Appeal.

Lenoir, who currently serves as the county trustee, had $345,438 tucked away in his campaign treasury as of Jan. 15, according to his campaign finance disclosure. Behind him, Republican Juvenile Court Clerk Joy Touliatos raised $125,558 and loaned herself another $115,000 as she tried to close the gap ahead of the May 1 primary election.

Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland, the third candidate hoping to win the Republican primary, raised $32,165 and spent $24,900, leaving him with $16,319.

On the Democratic side of the race, Sen. Lee Harris reported a balance of $92,259 after raising $108,486 and spending $16,227, blowing past primary opponent Sidney Chism, who raised $10,550 and spent $2,442 to end the period at $8,107.

Bank of Bartlett President Harold Byrd, whose disclosure shows only $750 in contributions, confirmed Thursday that he will not enter the Democratic primary after flirting with the idea for months.

Haslam: “The message is that we can’t stop now.”

Gov. Bill Haslam gives a preview of his State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam gives a preview of his State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has given this preview of his final State of the State address in a meeting with reporters at the state Capitol on Monday:


I thought I’d give a quick preview of tonight’s State of the State address. As you know it’s my last – eighth and final. I will spend some time looking back over the past seven years.

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