Pro-Voucher PACs Drop $250K into State House Campaigns

Andy Sher has tallied up $367,000 worth of late campaign spending by PACs in Tennessee legislative campaigns that were reported in filings for the period July 1-26.
More than $250,000 came from two PACs supporting school voucher legislation that got much of their money from outside the state. Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, and Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville, were the biggest beneficiaries.
In Memphis’ House District 90, Students First and the Tennessee Federation for Children have joined hands in a state House primary on behalf of a Democrat who backs education vouchers.
Tennessee Student First’s PAC put up $104,018 to fund neighborhood canvassers and direct mail to help Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis. DeBerry, a black social conservative, faces Rep. Jeanne Richardson, D-Memphis, a white liberal, records show.
The Tennessee Federation for Children spent nearly $36,000 on direct mail and advertising to help DeBerry. It also put $100,489 into contributions and independent expenditures for various Republican candidates.
DeBerry backs vouchers while Richardson does not.
…The Tennessee (Students First) group received all its funding from the national organization. It spent $150,182 to help House Education Committee Chairman Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville, who faces Republican Dale Carr. That included an independent expenditure of $46,164 for advertising.
The Tennessee Federation for Children’s in-state backers include Nashville auto dealer Lee Beaman and Dorothy Scarlett, wife of retired Tractor Supply Co. Chairman Joe Scarlett. They respectively gave $10,000 and $15,000 in the second quarter.
But the group in July received a flood of new contributions, including $65,000 from the American Federation of Children, a Washington, D.C., group that also backs vouchers, according to Registry filings.

Leave a Reply