Ted Welch Switches Role inTennessee GOP Fundraising

Ted Welch, the man who has served as a central thread connecting the characters and campaigns of the now-dominant Tennessee Republican Party is entering a new phase, reports The Tennessean.
At 79, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight months ago, he is moving from the role of organizer of the party’s grandest events to honoree.
As his longtime friend (Lamar) Alexander gears up for a run at a third term in the U.S. Senate, Welch isn’t the one making calls to ensure the senator rakes in another $1 million during the next quarter.
Instead, the honorary finance chairman of Alexander’s re-election bid (the other being embattled Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam) is the subject of the senator’s next fundraiser, a “Salute to Ted Welch,” set for Tuesday in Williamson County.
“Every other time, he’s been organizing,” Alexander said, looking back at his numerous campaigns.
Welch, a former door-to-door Bible salesman and master of the fundraising phone call — a not-so-easy task for even the most seasoned politicos — stuck to a pretty simple formula: one call after another, flipping through a Rolodex, as he turned personal and political connections into money.
For more than four decades, Welch has played GOP fundraiser extraordinaire: from Gov. Winfield Dunn’s victory in 1970 to Alexander’s gubernatorial and Senate triumphs, to the more recent victories of Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Bob Corker. In between have been Sens. Howard Baker, Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, and new Republicans at the state level, such as House Speaker Beth Harwell.
…”If you’ve ever thought about running for politics in 30 years and you have not gone to have a conversation with Ted, you’re not doing it right,” said Bryan Kaegi, Alexander’s fundraiser and a Welch admirer.
Kaegi — along with his sister, Kim Kaegi, Corker’s chief fundraiser — is part of the next generation of Republican fundraisers who fall under the Welch tree. Another is Agnes Warfield, current fundraiser for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a woman called both the “Money Maven” and “The Money Lady.”

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