other states

Bredesen, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones talk bipartisanship at Democratic fundraiser; $450K collected

In Saturday night speeches to the Tennessee Democratic Party’s Three Star Dinner, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and former Gov. Phil Bredesen struck similar themes, saying a willingness to work with Republicans is the way to change Democrats’ political fortunes in the Volunteer state. Party officials say about $450,000 was raised at the event in Lebanon.

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Politico: List of competitive U.S. Senate seats shrinking, with TN still on the list

The U.S. Senate battleground map has shrunk dramatically in recent weeks, reports Politico, and that’s a net plus for Democrats but not enough to change their status as heavy underdogs to win the chamber in November.

Democratic incumbents look increasingly safe in four Rust Belt states President Trump carried in 2016 — Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Republicans are locked in a bitter primary until August. Both parties agree a core universe of states are truly in play: Republicans are targeting Democratic incumbents in Missouri, Indiana, Florida and North Dakota, while Democrats are contesting GOP-held seats in Nevada, Arizona and Tennessee. There is disagreement on how competitive West Virginia and Montana are.

One big clue on which states are truly in play came this week when the Democratic Senate Majority PAC placed fall ad reservations in Florida, West Virginia, Montana, Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota, Tennessee, Nevada and Arizona. For now, the group decided Brown, Casey, Stabenow and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) don’t need extra help.

Steven Law, who runs the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund, said that Democrats’ “target list is a lot like ours.”

“There were a few states they left off that we think could be competitive,” said Law, whose group has not yet placed its reservations. “But right now, we think the field of battle is already probably about 80 percent defined, and I think both sides see the battle lines as they are.

(Note: The Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC said its ad buy totals $80 million in the nine targeted states, but did not give a state-by-state breakdown. Press release HERE.)

… In Tennessee, Democrats are upbeat about former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who won every county in the state when he last ran in 2006 and remains popular. Republicans argue Bredesen will go the way of other Democratic retreads, like Ted Strickland and Evan Bayh in 2016, both of whom lost by sizable margins. Trump visited Tennessee late last month to boost Rep. Marsha Blackburn and attack Bredesen, though Republicans acknowledge they will need a more sustained effort to drag down Bredesen’s favorability.

Former Maryland governor and his PAC endorse Karl Dean for TN governor

Former Maryland governor and 2016 presidential candidate Martin O’Malley has endorsed Karl Dean for governor, reports the Nashville Post.

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Illinois proposal denounces TN House for spurning anti-white nationalist resolution

A resolution filed in the Illinois House of Representatives declares that the Tennessee House has “been cowed by the growing influence of white nationalists and neo-Nazis” and the Democrat sponsor tells The Tennessean he expects it to pass with Republican support. It’s suggested other states may do the same.

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Speakers retaliate against California: No state-paid travel to NCSL convention

From an AP report, as appearing in a California newspaper:

Tennessee’s Republican House and Senate leaders say the state isn’t paying lawmakers or staffers to attend a California legislative summit.

In a letter Thursday, Senate Speaker Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell said the state won’t cover the National Conference of State Legislatures conference trip in Los Angeles because of California’s ban on state-paid trips to Tennessee.

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Haslam talks with governor accused in extramaritial affair, offers no advice on resignation

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, facing an indictment tied to an extramarital affair, cancelled a planned appearance at a weekend National Governors Association meeting in Washington and fellow Republican governors who attended shied away from saying whether he should resign or fight the charges, according to Politico.  With Nashville embroiled in controversy over Mayor Megan Barry’s extramarital affir, Gov. Bill Haslam, who chairs the Republican Governors Association, said he has talked with Greitens but isn’t offering advice.

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Haslam ‘not certain about arming teachers’ while planning statewide school safety review

Gov. Bill Haslam, who last week said his administration plans a statewide review of school security in light of a recent mass shooting at a Florida high school, is quoted in a Sunday Politico story headlined, Governors to Washington: Stop dithering on guns.

The article is based on comments from state chief executives gathered for a weekend meeting in Washington of the National Governors Association meeting in downtown Washington.  An excerpt:

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Republican Governors Association reports record fundraising with Haslam as chair

Press release from Republican Governors Association

WASHINGTON D.C.  – The Republican Governors Association announced today $63.2 million raised in all of 2017, including $27.2 million raised in the final six months of the year, setting a new fundraising record that significantly eclipses the $52.5 million raised in 2013, the last comparable year. This fundraising success allows the RGA to strongly support incumbent Republican governors, target key Democrat-held governorships, and elect a new class of Republican governors in 36 gubernatorial elections scheduled to occur less than 10 months from now.

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Black names former Florida/Louisiana operative as campaign manager

U.S. Rep. Diane Black has assembled a group of “top Republican political operatives” to run her campaign for governor, according to a Politico ‘Morning Score’ notebook item:

Matt Parker is the campaign manager. In 2016 he ran President Donald Trump’s effort in Florida. He previously worked with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Republican Party.

 Lance Frizell is serving as senior adviser. He has worked for the Tennessee Republican Party, the Tennessee House Caucus, and served as chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. 

 Jordan Young is also a senior adviser for the campaign. Young served as deputy chief of staff to Ramsey and executive director of the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus.

Chris Hartline is the campaign’s communications director. Prior to that he was press secretary and communications director for the House Budget Committee under Chairman Black and has also served as war room director for Scott’s reelection campaign.

Note: An  astute reader observes, via email, that Politico misspelled Frizzell’s name — leaving off one ‘z’ of the two in Frizzell.

Corker ‘really happy’ with Moore defeat in AL; Haslam sees a message

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker tells the Times Free Press that Alabama Republican Roy Moore’s Senate race loss is “good for America” as well as the Republican Party so “that people understand this kind of beyond-the-pale extremism just is not going to elect Republicans to office.”

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