TN Political News Notes, 9/16/12

GOP Legislators Collect $475K
Republican House and Senate members had a hugely successful joint fundraiser Thursday in Nashville, hauling in an estimated $475,000, reports Andy Sher.
Tickets for the Nashville event ranged from $2,500 for a courtyard reception outside the War Memorial Building to a $10,000-per-ticket event inside the War Memorial’s auditorium and $25,000 for a dinner at the Hermitage Hotel with top legislative leadership and special guests.
…Proceeds are split between the House and Senate Republican caucuses
Koch Tennessee Touch
The Koch brothers, the Kansas billionaire industrialists known for financing the tea party movement and countless conservative groups, extend their generosity to the Tennessee congressional delegation as well, reports The Tennessean.
So far for the 2012 elections, the Koch Industries political action committee, Koch PAC, has spread $42,500 among five Republican members of the delegation.
Getting the most has been Rep. Marsha Blackburn ($17,500), followed by Reps. Diane Black of Gallatin ($10,000); Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump ($7,500); Chuck Fleischmann of Ooltewah ($5,000); and Scott DesJarlais of Jasper ($2,500).And the Tennessee Republican Party has received $5,000 from the PAC.

On Changing Nashville Election Dates
A proposal to save money by having Nashville’s mayoral, vice mayoral and Metro Council elections at the same time as other elections is raising concerns among council members who might not support it enough to give voters a say in the matter, says the Tennessean.
And columnist Gail Kerr is not too keen on the idea, either.
Matalin & Carville Do Memphis
There were moments in the “Political Perspectives” Centennial luncheon Friday at the University of Memphis, featuring political consultants Mary Matalin and James Carville, when a more complete picture of the long-running, right wing-left wing, made-for-TV act emerged. The CA’s rundown HERE.

Voting Precincts Split Mom, Daughter
Georgianna Vines reports on a mother and daughter who live next door to one another, but have been assigned to different voting precincts in the most recent Knox County precinct realignment.
On the TennCare Coverage Lottery
Using one man’s experience as an illustration, the Chattanooga Times-Free Press has done a review of what amounts to a lottery for coverage under TennCare’s “spend-down” program for people who are broke and have large, unpaid medical bills.
As Gov. Bill Haslam and state lawmakers consider whether they will expand the TennCare program under guidelines of the federal Affordable Care Act, critics say the phone-in system exemplifies why Tennessee needs to provide coverage to people who face a mountain of medical debt.
Michele Johnson with the Tennessee Justice Center, an advocacy group that focuses on family issues, compares the system to the Oklahoma land rush.
“It might be a good way to give away concert tickets, but it’s not the way to decide who gets health coverage,” Johnson said. “No other state does it this way.”

Pat Nolan’s Return to Commentary
After a 12-week absence, Pat Nolan has returned to providing his weekly political commentary… catching up on developments as well as the stroke that sidelined him for a while.
‘Love Your Muslim Neighbor’ in Murfreesboro
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — A self-described Christian group in Washington D.C. says it plans to encourage Murfreesboro residents to “Love Your Muslim Neighbors.”
Tim King, a spokesman for Sojourners, says the billboard is slated to go up on Sept. 24. Sojourners describes itself as a Christian advocacy and education organization.
King told the Daily News Journal ( ) that the group decided to place the message in Murfreesboro after being contacted by area residents who saw a similar message on a billboard in Joplin, Mo. He said those asking for the billboard told Sojourners about the controversial mosque that was built and said they wanted to “put out a very different message.

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