On Senate District 8 and a Campaign Relationship

The four-candidate race in Senate District has been reviews Hank Hayes. An excerpt.
Jackson, meanwhile, is hoping her name identification in Hawkins County
— the district’s largest county in population — will push her ahead,
although she finished third in the 2010 GOP Primary for the county
mayor’s race.
“I have put out more than 1,000 signs…I’m running a retail campaign,
going door-to-door and seeing people face to face,” said Jackson, a Realtor.
Rice, however, takes issue with Jackson’s connection to former state
Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens, a Rogersville Democrat.
“I signed her (nominating) petition; (but) I told her that after quite a
bit of encouragement from the leadership of the Republican Party in our
district (and beyond ), that I had also decided to run for the state
Senate seat,” Rice said in an e-mail. “She stood up and looked extremely
upset; then told me that Ken Givens was going to be able to raise quite
a bit of ($249,000) money for her and that I couldn’t raise near that
much and that (Givens) could get Democrats to cross over and vote in the
Republican Primary.”
In response to Rice’s e-mail, Jackson said: “I did not say anything like
that….We didn’t discuss anything about money. He must have a bad
memory or he is not telling the truth.”
Givens, a former state representative and a widower, acknowledged he’s
in a relationship with Jackson.
“When she announced she was running for state Senate, I would think that
most people would understand that someone seeing someone would probably
support them,” Givens explained. “…If I’m from Hawkins County, it
would only make sense that I would want somebody from Hawkins County
whether I was seeing Cynthia or not…I’m not ashamed or timid that I
would back a Hawkins Countian…I don’t have any plan to go after
Democrat votes. That’s something people decide for themselves.”
Aside from attacking Jackson, Rice said he’s focusing on jobs and
education in his campaign appearances.


Note: The full article is below.


Four Republicans have little time — plus a short fund-raising window —
to emerge as the frontrunner in a winner-take-all GOP Primary for a
Northeast Tennessee state Senate seat.
There is no Democrat or Independent candidate vying for the 8th
Senatorial District seat on the November general election ballot.
At the start of this year, state Sen. Mike Faulk looked like a shoo-in
to be re-elected to the seat. The Church Hill Republican, in his first
term, had risen to chair the Senate Calendar Committee, which determines
the bills that make it to the Senate floor for a vote.
Faulk was also a legislative machine. He was the prime sponsor of more
than 80 bills, including the controversial “Guns In Parking Lots”
legislation pushed by the National Rifle Association. He also carried
legislation developed by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration.
But Faulk, citing a need to concentrate on his law practice and care for
his ailing mother, announced in March he would not seek re-election.
The 4th Senatorial District, which was renumbered as the 8th District,
did not change in this year’s redistricting process. Its political
boundaries still encompass Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins,
Jefferson and Union counties.
Candidates seeking the seat are Hawkins County Republican Cynthia
Bundren Jackson, state Rep. Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains,
Jefferson County Republian Hobart Rice and Union County Commissioner
Jeff Brantley.
“We all think we are (the frontruner),” said Rice, a member of the
Tennessee Republican Party’s executive committee. “The one thing I’m
trying to do is look people in the eye and talk to them…if you want
people to trust you, you’ve got to look them in the eye. I’m not going
to waste money on television (advertising).”
Fund-raising Scramble
Faulk’s announcement was not anticipated by the candidates. In first
quarter campaign finance disclosures filed with the state in April,
Brantley reported getting his campaign account set up. Jackson reported
loaning her campaign $3,000. Niceley reported having about $12,000 cash
on hand in his state House campaign account.
In contrast, Faulk reported having about $40,000 cash on hand in his
campaign account. He raised and spent more than $400,000 in his 2008
campaign resulting in a victory over former state Sen. Mike Williams,
who ran as an independent. Williams, now the county mayor in Union
County, filed a petition this year to run as a Republican for the seat,
but he was declared ineligible by the Tennessee Republican Party.
While corporations can now give money to campaigns and political action
committees, it appears all four GOP hopefuls will have to rely on
grassroots campaign efforts to get their message out.
The Contenders
The candidate with the most district-wide name recognition might be
Niceley, who lists his occupation as “farmer” on his legislative Web site.
“I expect to win,” said Niceley, who touts his ratings with the
Tennessee Conservative Union and National Rifle Association. “I’m
talking to people and telling them about my record. I’ve got a good
record. I’ve got to get it out.”
At a recent Realtors event in Gray, Niceley called Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey
“an old friend.” Ramsey, who was also at the event, was asked if he was
endorsing Niceley. “No,” Ramsey, R-Blountville, replied.
Four of the district’s counties have an unemployment rate at or around
10 percent, making jobs the number one issue, according to Niceley.
“The way you create jobs is to cut taxes so people have a little extra
money in their pocket to spend…We’ve cut taxes more in the last two
years than any other legislature in the history of this state. That’s
the record we need to get out,” Niceley proclaimed.
Jackson, meanwhile, is hoping her name identification in Hawkins County
— the district’s largest county in population — will push her ahead,
although she finished third in the 2010 GOP Primary for the county
mayor’s race.
“I have put out more than 1,000 signs…I’m running a retail campaign,
going door-to-door and seeing people face to face,” said Jackson, a Realtor.
Rice, however, takes issue with Jackson’s connection to former state
Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens, a Rogersville Democrat.
“I signed her (nominating) petition; (but) I told her that after quite a
bit of encouragement from the leadership of the Republican Party in our
district (and beyond ), that I had also decided to run for the state
Senate seat,” Rice said in an e-mail. “She stood up and looked extremely
upset; then told me that Ken Givens was going to be able to raise quite
a bit of ($249,000) money for her and that I couldn’t raise near that
much and that (Givens) could get Democrats to cross over and vote in the
Republican Primary.”
In response to Rice’s e-mail, Jackson said: “I did not say anything like
that….We didn’t discuss anything about money. He must have a bad
memory or he is not telling the truth.”
Givens, a former state representative and a widower, acknowledged he’s
in a relationship with Jackson.
“When she announced she was running for state Senate, I would think that
most people would understand that someone seeing someone would probably
support them,” Givens explained. “…If I’m from Hawkins County, it
would only make sense that I would want somebody from Hawkins County
whether I was seeing Cynthia or not…I’m not ashamed or timid that I
would back a Hawkins Countian…I don’t have any plan to go after
Democrat votes. That’s something people decide for themselves.”
Aside from attacking Jackson, Rice said he’s focusing on jobs and
education in his campaign appearances.
“To be able to bring the jobs in, we’ve got to increase education in
Tennessee from being third or fourth from the bottom (in the nation),”
Rice said. “We send people to the legislature year after year and
nothing changes. We’ve got a governor now who is willing to change
things. He needs help there.”
Brantley, who runs a trucking company in Sharps Chapel, did not return a
phone call seeking comment for this story.
Early voting for the August 2 GOP Primary begins July 13.

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