House District 14 post-election spin: Insure TN a loser, school choice a winner

News release from Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The unofficial results are in and Jason Zachary has been elected to the open seat for Tennessee House District 14. The candidates were similar on most issues, except whether or not Tennessee should expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

Governor Haslam proposed the Insure Tennessee plan during the special legislative session at the beginning of the year. Insure Tennessee was promptly defeated in the Senate Health Committee and again each time the supporters sought to resuscitate it.

The defining issue of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion proved to be all the Zachary camp needed to pull off a big victory. It didn’t hurt that Zachary was also firmly opposed to raising the gas tax, while his opponent was not nearly as resolute on the issue.

“The voters have spoken: HD14 served as a referendum on big government,” said Andrew Ogles, state director of Americans for Prosperity Tennessee. “If Gov. Haslam is serious about improving the lives of hard working Tennesseans, then he needs to stop forcing liberal policies like Insure TN and increases to the Gas Tax and focus on job creation and growing the Tennessee economy.”

News release from Tennessee Federation for Children
Nashville, Tenn. (August 12, 2015) – The Tennessee Federation for Children PAC (TFC PAC) congratulates Jason Zachary on defeating Karen Carson in the special election primary for state House District 14, and commends both candidates for running a positive, issue-focused campaign.

Jason Zachary’s pledge to fight for children against the special interests of the education bureaucracy follows in the footsteps of the previous officeholder, Ryan Haynes, who stepped down this year to serve as chairman of the Tennessee state Republican Party.

“We saw in 2014 and 2012 that voters want legislators who support choice in education,” said Tony Niknejad, director for the Tennessee Federation for Children PAC. “Defeating a challenger with an 11-year political career is difficult, but Zachary’s determination to put parents in charge of their children’s education clearly resonated with the Republican voters of West Knox and Farragut.”

GOP voters have lined up behind school choice. Earlier this year, a poll performed by OnMessage, Inc. found that 69% of GOP Primary voters support an opportunity scholarship program that gave parents the right to use tax-dollars to send their child to a school that best serves his or her needs. The polling memo from OnMessage, Inc. can be found here:

More recently, school choice has made the news as an issue that unites nearly every Republican candidate for President.

“With 13 of the Presidential candidates in the news all emphasizing and re-emphasizing their strong support for school choice, it’s really no surprise that Jason Zachary won. There’s simply not many Republican voters left when you espouse a position that’s contrary to Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker and others,” added Niknejad. “Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have taken positions opposing school choice. We expect 2016 will be a very exciting election year for Tennessee.”

Statement from House Speaker Beth Harwell:
“I appreciate both candidates’ willingness to step forward and serve the people of the 14th district. With no opponent in the general election, I want to welcome Jason Zachary to the Tennessee General Assembly and the House Republican Caucus, and I look forward to working with him.”