John Duncan

Besides Burchett, Duncan retirement may bring out other candidates for 2nd Congressional District

Beside Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, who is scheduled to announce his political plans Saturday, the News Sentinel has a rundown on other prospective candidates to replace retiring U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. in the 2nd Congressional District. The article quotes former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe as saying Burchett is the clear frontrunner at this early juncture.

Among other Republicans: State Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, who says he think about it. Also, listed as “rumored” but not quoted are Blount County Sheriff Jim Berrong, state Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville; state Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville.

State Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, who ran against Duncan in the 2014 GOP primary, said he’s not running for Congress.

On the Democratic side, Joshua Williams, a clinical psychologist, had already announced as a candidate before Duncan said he is retiring. Renee Hoyos, executive director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network, says she’s considering a run. Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero says she is not.

The district, of course, is solidly Republican and hasn’t elected a Democrat since the Civil War.

TN politician comments on Congressman Duncan’s retirement

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett (via News Sentinel)

“I am grateful for Congressman Duncan’s friendship, and I appreciate the years of service he and his family have dedicated to our community… He has been a consistent, conservative voice for the 2nd District, and he’s represented us well. Few families have made a bigger impact in East Tennessee than the Duncan family, and I have no doubt they will continue to make a difference.

In an interview after Duncan’s announcement, Burchett declined to say whether he intends to run for Duncan’s seat. “I’ll still be making my announcement on Saturday,” he said. “I think it’s time we reflected on Congressman Duncan and his family’s service to our community.”

State Rep. Jimmy Matlock

“We just learned of the announcement by Congressman Jimmy Duncan not to seek another term of office. I can think of no one who has conducted himself in a more statesmanlike, humble manner. In over 30 years of working with him, I’ve never been around an individual who woke up every day with such zeal to serve his constituents. He has set the bar so high that we will have a difficult task of trying to meet that level of devotion and character in our district and in our nation. I wish to give a heartfelt thank you to Congressman Duncan from myself and my family for his years of service.”

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Duncan won’t seek reelection to Congress

Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., the longest-serving Tennessean in Congress, will not seek re-election next year to the 2nd Congressional District seat he has held since 1988, reports the News Sentinel.

“It has been a very special privilege to represent the people of the Second District in the U.S. House of Representatives,” the Knoxville Republican said. “However, I will not be running for re-election in 2018.”

Duncan, who turned 70 on July 21, said he had considered retiring even before his last election in 2016.

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Duncan one of three congressmen voting no on Russia, Iran and North Korea sanctions bill

From Politico:

The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea, with the GOP-controlled chamber advancing a significant new constraint on President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

The sanctions legislation, which allows lawmakers to block Trump from any attempt to roll back sanctions against Moscow, is expected to pass the Senate in similarly bipartisan fashion before next month’s recess.

… The House’s 419-3 vote on the sanctions bill saw only three dissenters: GOP Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, John Duncan of Tennessee and Thomas Massie of Kentucky. Even Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Russia’s staunchest defender on the Hill, revealed hours before the vote that he would support the measure out of support for its penalties against Tehran and Pyongyang.

Full story HERE.

Duncan: Payments of campaign funds to son ‘has been done according to law’

U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. is defending payments from his campaign account to his son, John J. Duncan III, reports the News Sentinel. The newspaper’s report pegs the payments since the younger Duncan’s conviction of official misconduct as Knox County trustee at $293,250, a bit less than reported earlier by the Nashville Post.

“Every expenditure from my campaign has been done according to law and in compliance with all pertinent regulations of the Federal Election Commission,” (Congressman Duncan) said. “Many members of Congress, past and present, have paid family members for campaign work. The fact that family members have run, and worked in, my campaigns has been public for a long time.

“In the last four years, I have paid my son, John, who has been in charge of my entire political operation doing everything from putting up yard signs and answering campaign calls to conducting polls, giving speeches, and raising funds. He was paid far less than many campaign managers and consultants while doing many things that they would not do.”

“Every expenditure in relation to my family was done because I got family members to do things for much less than Washington campaign people. These are important positions of trust and I have the utmost trust in my family.”

Note: Previous post HERE.

Duncan paid $316K in campaign funds to son; other family members also on payroll

U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr.’s congressional campaign account has paid the Knoxville Republican’s son, John J. Duncan III, $316,500 in salary since July, 2013, when the younger Duncan pleaded guilty to misconduct charges and resigned as Knox County trustee, reports the Nashville Post.

The campaign also pays for his son’s cellphone and reimburses his mileage, many meals and multiple other expenses, according to reporter Cari Wade Gervin’s review of campaign disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The article says that the veteran officeholder has also made thousands of dollars in payments to other family members – another son, a niece, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law and his sister – through his campaign fund and through his political action committee, Road to Victory PAC.

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Duncan bashes Washington Post reporter in House floor speech

Republican U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., who earlier this year said President Donald Trump was wrong in declaring the press an “enemy of the people,” on Tuesday delivered a brief House floor speech denouncing The Washington Post and its White House bureau chief, Philip Rucker.

Duncan singled out a Tuesday article by Rucker bearing the headline “Trump reacts to London terror by stoking fear and renewing feud with mayor.

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Psychologist seeks Democratic nod in 2nd Congressional District

Joshua Williams, a 64-year-old Knoxville clinical psychologist, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2nd Congressional District seat now held by Republican John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., reports the News Sentinel.

Williams is running to work toward comprehensive health and mental health care, “fair and just” taxation and tax reform and to work to end the opioid and heroin epidemic that’s striking the country, particularly Appalachia.

“It’s one of the places I’m uniquely qualified to comment on because I’ve been in healthcare for over 30 years and I see the end result – I see the bodily damage and death caused by these drugs,” he said.

The state’s 2nd Congressional District hasn’t been held by a Democrat since before the Civil War in 1855, so it’s been a while.

“What you’ll hear me say repeatedly is that Mr. Duncan and his father (Rep. John Duncan Sr.) will have represented the second district for 52 years out of the 200 that the state has had representation,” Williams said. “And you’ll hear me say that we appreciate their service. That’s about all I’d say about it.”

Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. hasn’t said publicly whether he will run for office again next year.

…Williams has been a board member of Leadership Knoxville, the Tennessee Voices for Children and the Knox County Community Health Improvement Council. He and his wife, Laurie, also a clinical psychologist, live in Knoxville. They have three grown children.

Duncan bashes League of Women Voters as ‘arm of the Democratic party’

Excerpt from an op-ed piece by Republican U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. appearing in the News-Sentinel:

Once again the League of Women Voters has acted as an arm of the Democratic Party….They have been working with a nationwide group called Indivisible, which according to NPR, was formed by former Democratic staffers.

So I was not surprised that I got a request from our local League of Women Voters wanting me to hold a town hall meeting even though two such events have already been held here.

They want me to help draw a crowd so that liberals can come and spout off partisan Democratic talking points and other left-wing views.

…The group will occasionally parade out a few members who claim to be Republicans, but who really oppose almost everything Republicans stand for, or perhaps a few conservatives who just do not realize how liberal and partisan the League is.

The National and local League organizations have strongly supported Obamacare, higher taxes, job-killing environmental regulations, and more government takeover of private property, making it much more expensive for young couples to buy homes. The League is strongly pro-abortion.

Alexander, Corker, Duncan seek fed focus on alleged defective guardrails

Three Tennessee congressmen – Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, along with Rep. John Duncan Jr. – are asking federal officials to consider revoking their approval for the use of highway guardrails linked to four fatalities in Tennessee, reports WJHL-TV.

In the letter, they asked FHWA Acting Deputy Administrator Butch Waidelich, Jr. to consider revoking its letter of eligibility for the X-Lite Terminal Guard rail issued in 2011.

The eligibility letter indicates the product has been tested and is eligible for federal reimbursements for states that use it.

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