Blackburn turns Twitter rebuff into fundraising effort

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn has been barred from advertising her campaign for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination on Twitter because a line about her efforts to investigate Planned Parenthood was deemed “inflammatory,” reports Politico. Blackburn is using the Twitter rebuff as a theme in her fundraising efforts.

Blackburn, who is running to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker, launched her campaign last week with a video proclaiming herself “a hard core, card-carrying Tennessee conservative.” In her announcement video, she boasts: “I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts. Thank God.”

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State museum commission repeals controversial code of conduct

The Douglas Henry State Museum Commission voted Monday to repeal controversial policy changes adopted in July that some state legislators saw as an attempt to muzzle critics, reports the Nashville Post.

The policies included a “code of conduct” that prevented commission members from maligning the Tennessee State Museum or its staff and required notification before a member spoke to the press. It also outlined a process to force the resignation of a commissioner who didn’t abide by the policies — something at odds with the state law that specifies how commissioners are appointed.

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Trump-Corker feud escalates to back-and-forth trashing tweets

President Donald Trump said in Twitter posts Sunday that Sen. Bob Corker “begged” him for a reelection endorsement and, after Trump refused, the senator “didn’t have the guts to run.” Corker’s chief of staff, Todd Womick, says that’s not true.

And Corker himself had this as a responsive tweet to Trump’s claim: It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.

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Statewide Fincher listening tour precedes decision on U.S. Senate run

News release from Stephen Fincher

FROG JUMP, Tenn. – Listening to voters before launching a possible bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Senator Bob Corker, Stephen Fincher will travel the state from Mountain City to Memphis to hear what voters want in their next U.S. Senator.

Fincher will begin the tour in Mountain City on Monday and travel to multiple counties a day meeting with small groups of Tennesseans. The tour will work westward and conclude in Memphis in the coming weeks.

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Senate Democratic Leader running for Shelby County mayor

State Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris is running for Shelby County mayor and will not seek re-election to the Senate District 29 seat, reports the Memphis Daily News.

“On the campaign trail, I plan to force a real conversation about creating more meaningful opportunities for our students and reducing poverty,” Harris said Wednesday, Oct. 4, in a written statement announcing his candidacy. “It’ll be one of the first times that this has happened in this community.”

Harris, who is also a former Memphis City Council member, was elected to the state Senate in 2014 from the council seat.

He joins former Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism in the May (Democratic) primary…  And in the process has started a scramble for his state Senate seat which is on the ballot in the August state and federal primaries.

The Republican primary for mayor, so far, is a contest among Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir, Shelby County Juvenile Court Clerk Joy Touliatos and Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland.

Contenders in the 2018 county elections cannot begin pulling qualifying petitions for the ballot until Nov. 17.

“I’m not in this for layups,” Harris told The Daily News. “I’m in this for real serious challenges.”

Hispanic Republican commissioner seeks to succeed Democratic Rep. Pitts

Tommy Vallejos, a Montgomery County commissioner and Clarksville pastor, has declared as a Republican candidate for the House District 67 seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Joe Pitts, reports the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle.

“Joe Pitts has done a great job, but I feel I can add to all that he’s done,” Vallejos said. “Everyone’s saying, ‘But there’s never been a Hispanic state representative before,’ but guess what, there’s never been a Hispanic county commissioner before, so what’s new?”

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Marsha Blackburn announces as Senate candidate via video

Beginning of an AP story:

NASHVILLE (AP) — U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn announced her campaign for U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s seat on Thursday in a video that slams the “totally dysfunctional” Senate and Republicans in particular for their failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Blackburn also touts her support for gun rights, opposition to abortion rights and calls for more limits on government spending in the video.

“I know the left calls me a wingnut or a knuckle-dragging conservative,” she said. “And you know what? I say that’s all right. Bring it on.”

Haslam won’t run for senator

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today issued the following statement regarding his decision on a run for U.S. Senate:

 “While Crissy and I will always be grateful for all of the encouragement and support to run for the United States Senate, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for Senate in 2018. The primary reason is that I want to remain completely focused on my job as governor. I know that being a candidate for the Senate during my last 15 months as governor would be a distraction from the task at hand. And, while I have loved being a mayor and a governor, I don’t feel the same call to run for Senate at this point. At the end of my term, I will have been in public office for 15 years.  I feel like I can be most helpful in my next service as a private citizen.” 

Warren Buffett’s company buying Pilot Flying J

Berkshire Hathaway Inc., better known as billionaire businessman Warren Buffett’s company, has struck a deal to buy a 38.6 percent equity stake in Pilot Flying J, the truck stop/gas station company owned by Tennessee’s Haslam family.

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Democrat raises $100K for run against Blackburn (or?)

Reality television star Justin Kanew says he has raised more than $100,000 as a Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional District seat currently held by Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, reports the Nashville Post.

“As Marsha decides which office best suits her, we’ll be over here running hard for the opportunity to truly represent the people of the 7th district,” Kanew said in a press release. “We’ll likely never match the millions Marsha has sitting in her war chest, but over the course of the next year we look forward to continuing to raise enough money to get our message out through grassroots efforts, adding more volunteers and voters to our team who are excited about bringing something new to TN7. This is a campaign by the people and for the people, and that won’t change no matter who the GOP nominates.”

…The son of a Hollywood director, Kanew has been endorsed by celebrities like Adam Brody, Mindy Kaling and Martina Navratilova, but he said that 84 percent of his donations were under $200. 

As of June 30, Blackburn has $3.12 million on hand in federal campaign funds — all of which she could use for a Senate run, which she is strongly considering. 

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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