Lundberg deemed apparent favorite to win Ramsey’s state Senate seat

State Rep. Jon Lundberg is the apparent favorite to win the state Senate seat being vacated by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, says Hank Hayes in a review of the race for the Kingsport Times-News. The August primary will decide the election since no Democrat is running.

Lundberg has the money, more than $100,000 in his campaign account… The Bristol Republican also has other resources — namely his marketing and public relations agency — to craft his message and reach out to voters. Lundberg, a former television news anchor, also has the military background as a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve. He has name identification in both Kingsport and Bristol thanks to how his House District 1 boundary is drawn.

The Senate District 4 August GOP Primary ballot has four candidates, but Lundberg’s main competition without question is former state Rep. Tony Shipley whose last political campaign did not end well.

Shipley, of Colonial Heights, lost an August 2014 Republican Primary race to state Rep. Bud Hulsey by more than 1,500 votes.

Shipley, an Air Force veteran who was denied a fourth term in office, had been under attack in direct mail pieces and television ads from a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group called Advance Tennessee.

“It was the most despicable, nasty, dirty campaign I’ve ever seen in my life,” Shipley said of the Advance Tennessee attacks on election night. “It was embarrassing it was done that way, when you have a super PAC (political action committee) blow your brains out for about a month. I guess you can expect those things to happen. … Negative campaigning works.”

The group had linked Shipley’s voting record to President Barack Obama and Tennessee House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh.

“We simply can’t afford Tony Shipley anymore,” said one 2014 Advance Tennessee mailer. “He has more in common with Obama and West Tennessee liberals than he does with East Tennessee conservative Republicans.”

Shipley himself used similar tactics to defeat Democrat Nathan Vaughn of Kingsport in 2008 and 2010.

As this race plays out, it will be interesting to see which third party advocacy groups emerge to attack or support either Lundberg or Shipley.