Tennessee Conservative Union leader Lloyd Daugherty dies

Long-time political advocate and commentator Lloyd Daugherty, a founder and longtime president of the Tennessee Conservative Union, died Friday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, reports the News Sentinel.

According to his mother, Gertrude Daugherty, he died at about 10:10 a.m. from an apparent heart attack.

“He was here for heart surgery in July and was having extended surgery, which would be about two weeks ago this coming Monday, and he began having worse symptoms, so we put him in the ER at Vanderbilt and he went away this morning,” she said.

The mother said Daugherty would have turned 56 in November.

“He was a very special person. We’re going to miss a lot of his knowledge,” she said. “This was not expected. It was sudden. We’ve lost a smart person. He was very, very brilliant.”

Daugherty helped found the Tennessee Conservative Union in 1977. The organization, which bills itself as an advocacy group for small government and conservative principles, helped unseat state Supreme Court Justice Penny White during a contentious retention election in 1996.

The group also took part in various protests against proposals for a state income tax.

Note: Daugherty was also a leader in the 1996 effort that led to rejection of a new term for Penny White as a Tennessee Supreme Court justice. This year, on the other hand, he backed Democratic Justices Sharon Lee and Gary Wade for new terms in their successful retention election effort. While most often endorsing Republicans, the Tennessee Conservative Union also supported Democrats on occasion — including former Democratic Congressman Bob Clement over Republican Lamar Alexander in the 2002 U.S. Senate race.

A statement from Sen. Lamar Alexander emailed to media:

“Lloyd Daugherty was a principled man, conservative to his core, who loved our country and did his best to help all of us remember its founding principles. I was glad to call him a friend.”