U.S. Senate campaign

A glance at Corker, Alexander, the Senate Obamacare dither and related Democrat bashing of Corker — just for today

Tennessee’s two U.S. senators, Republicans Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, are apparently taking different stances on the latest move on health care legislation by many – but apparently not most — or their fellow Senate Republicans. The basic idea is to a vote to repeal Obamacare now with a two-year waiting period while Congress tries to figure out a replacement. It appears from their comments that Corker’s for it, reversing a past position; Alexander is not.

Corker issued a press release indicating support for the idea. His announcement was promptly denounced by Democrats, including James Mackler, who is campaigning for the party’s nomination to oppose him in 2018.

Alexander initially issued a press release (HERE) saying he wants to have hearings on the replacement regardless of how voting goes on the latest repeal effort with no indication of his stance  on the actual vote,  but the Tennessean today quotes Alexander on CNN as suggesting he doesn’t like the repeal-without-a-replacement idea and the votes aren’t there:

“I don’t think there are 40 votes to repeal and say to the American people, ‘Well, trust us to come up with something in the next couple of years.’ I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Alexander said.

(UPDATE/Note: Subsequently,  the Times-Free Press has this Alexander comment:  “Most pilots like to know where they’re going to land before they take off, and we should too.”)

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Corker ‘extremely prepared’ for reelection run; search for credible conservative challenger continues

Tennessee’s conservative power brokers, led by wealthy Nashville automobile dealer Lee Beaman, are looking for a Republican challenger to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, reports the Washington Examiner, but they aren’t interested in launching a “quixotic battle” and Corker has $6.6 million ready for his reelection campaign.

The article – a condensed version appears in The Hill – says state Sen. Mark Green is the “preferred candidate,” but he’s unlikely to run because of his personal relationship with the incumbent and because “an uncomfortable spotlight was cast on his past comments about Islam and gender-related issues” before withdrawing as President Trump’s nominee as U.S. Army secretary.

“We will be extremely prepared,” Ward Baker, the top Republican strategist handling Corker’s re-election and a former executive director of the NRSC, the Senate GOP campaign arm, said. “Everyone will be taken seriously.”

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Facebook page urges Green to run against Corker

A Facebook page has been set up under the title “Draft Mark Green to run for U.S. Senate in 2018” and The Tennessean quotes Rick Williams,  “a tea party-aligned conservative activist,” saying he was one of several people who helped form a group of the same name.

“It’s a group of conservatives from across the state,” Williams said, adding that he and others in the group were supportive of Green’s bid for governor and Army secretary. Some who are part of the online group were among the signatories of a letter encouraging Green to run for governor.

“A lot of us don’t see Bob Corker as supportive of the president as he should be,” Williams said.

The page also gets a mention in rambling Jackson Baker post, wherein the Memphis Flyer sage — also citing Williams as a source — notes that other names mentioned as possible Republican opponents for Corker include Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, State House Representative Andy Holt and Americans for Prosperity Tennessee state director Andrew Ogles.

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Andy Holt eyes challenge to Corker

State Rep. Andy Holt tells The Tennessean he’s considering a 2018 run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by fellow Republican Bob Corker.

The legislator from Dresden cited a poll commissioned by Tennessee Star as indicating Corker has waning support from Republican primary voters. (Note: It found 41 percent support for Corker and about the same percentage favoring “someone else.” See previous post HERE.)

“I’ve had countless people contact me. People I respect. People with resources,” Holt said.

…”I owe it to the people who have given me support over the years to consider it, and that’s exactly what I’m doing,” Holt said.

Holt said he has not set a timeline for his decision, saying it is “too early in the process for that.”

Democratic candidate faults Corker for ‘timid words of hollow (Trump) disapproval’

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate James Mackler campaigned in Chattanooga and Williamson County Wednesday, reports The Tennessean, contending that Republican incumbent Sen. Bob Corker did not go far enough in his recent statement saying the Donald Trump White House is in a “downward spiral.”

“I think at this point we heard that we are in a downward spiral, and it’s important to note he said ‘they’ … Sen. Corker tried very hard to become a part of this administration, and now he’s trying to distance himself from it. But we need more than timid words of hollow disapproval,” Mackler said.

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Democrat Mackler’s introductory U.S. Senate campaign video

Posted on Democratic U.S. Senate candidate James Mackler’s campaign website, the video is mostly promotional bio stuff – he’s a veteran, has a family, loves Tennessee, etc. – but also bashes Donald Trump and incumbent Republican Sen. Bob Corker,  “another millionaire politician looking to move up.”

 

Nashville lawyer/Iraq combat veteran seeks Democratic U.S. Senate nomination

News release from James Mackler campaign

NASHVILLE – James Mackler, decorated Iraq combat veteran that served in the 101st Airborne Division, today announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate. James will seek the Democratic nomination to run against two-term incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN).

“I am running to restore respect, honesty, and, most importantly, integrity in Washington,” said James. “Our country has become so divided that our leaders refuse to work together to solve our most important problems. As a veteran, I know first-hand the strength of teamwork, cooperation, and the benefits of diversity to accomplish even the most difficult mission.

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Bredesen, Freeman co-host fundraiser for Va. senator

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen and Nashville businessman Bill Freeman, who have been at odds over political matters in the past, are co-hosting a fundraiser for Virginia Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine’s 2018 reelection campaign on April 28, reports The Tennessean.

The event will be held at Valentino’s Ristorante, which is co-owned by Freeman.

To be a host for the lunch reception fundraiser at the West End Avenue restaurant, donors are to contribute $5,400, according to an invitation obtained by The Tennessean, while others are asked to donate $2,700 a person.

Ahead of the presidential election, Freeman and other Nashville Democrats welcomed Kaine at Valentino’s for an Aug. 23 fundraiser for the then-vice presidential candidate and his running partner Hillary Clinton.

Kaine’s Senate seat figures to be a top target of Republicans during the 2018 midterm elections, although at this point there are no declared GOP candidates seeking the seat.

Haslam: ‘I am not calculating running for the Senate’

Gov.  Bill Haslam says he expects Bob Corker to run for reelection to the U.S. Senate next year and speculation about his own future, including a bid for the seat, has been “way overread,” reports the Times-Free Press.

“They just said what are you going to do next? I said I have no idea,” Haslam told reporters during a “town hall” meeting (in Cookeville) to promote his proposed IMPROVE Act, which seeks to increase fuel taxes for Tennessee transportation projects while simultaneously cutting non-highway taxes in several areas.

Haslam, who is term limited and will leave office in January 2019, was asked at this week’s Tennessee Press Association and The Associated Press meeting about what he intends to do when his term ends.

“They said, well, you didn’t rule out running for Senate, and I said I have no idea what I’m going to do,” the governor said. “So I am not calculating running for the Senate.”

Asked if Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, has indicated what his future plans are, Haslam said, “my assumption is that he’s going to run for the Senate again. I haven’t heard anything from Sen. Corker that made me feel like he was going to do anything except that.”

… Since November elections in which Republicans maintained their Senate majority and Corker kept his prime spot as chairman, the senator has been vague about his political future and the possibility of running again for Senate or running for governor.

“I just don’t want to go down the path of starting bringing in options,” the former Chattanooga mayor said in a December interview… “What we do is something we’ll be thinking about over the course of the next several months.”

The newspaper further reports that Andy Ogles, Tennessee director of Americans for Prosperity, “didn’t exactly quash” speculation that he will run for the U.S. Senate next year, acknowledging “there has been  speculation along those lines” and adding, “We’ll have another conversation in a few months.”