Category Archives: presidential campaign

Cohen on presidential election: ‘This is Armageddon’

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen kicked off a get-out-the-vote campaign by Shelby County Democrats on Saturday with a brief but fiery speech supporting Hillary Clinton and attacking Donald Trump, reports Jackson Baker.

“This is Armageddon,” Cohen told a sizeable (crowd) crammed into a meeting room at the headquarters. “We have a choice between a lady who wants to carry on Barack Obama’s legacy and …the most Neanderthal candidate we’ve ever had as the nominee of a major political party.”

Clinton’s opponent Donald Trump is “trying to win with lies and hate and misinformation,” and by “dividing people,” Cohen said.

Linking Trump to Russia, Cohen said, “We’re going to find out more and more about his contacts with Russia. We’ve never had a candidate in our history who owes so much, or any amount, for that matter, to a foreign nation. And particularly a foreign nation that is one of our most powerful enemies, or the antithesis of what America is about.”

Cohen said Clinton’s campaign was one of “looking out for America,” while Trump’s was devoted to “self-interest” and involvement with “oligarchs.”

…Scoffing at various public criticisms of Clinton for faults of her own, Cohen said, “The perfect is enemy of the good. And I’m telling you, Hillary Clinton is very, very good.”

On Mike Smith, TN-raised presidential candidate

In an interview with the News Sentinel, independent presidential candidate Mike Smith — a Colorado Springs, Colo., attorney who was raised in Knoxville — acknowledges little chance of winning but says voters need more options.

“I’m unhappy with my choices in this presidential election and my question is, ‘what are you going to do about it?’ We’re not bound to vote for a Republican or a Democrat,” Smith said.

…He went to Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City for his undergraduate work, then got a master’s degree in 2002 from the University of Tennessee in human performance and sport studies with a concentration in sports management. Then, he said, he earned a law degree from Liberty University in Virginia and practiced law in Tennessee before moving to Colorado in 2012.

He opened Veritas Law Firm in 2014.

In addition to being on the Tennessee and Colorado ballots, Smith said he’s working to run as a write-in option in 30 states.

“It is a long shot, but growing up in East Tennessee, I’ve seen a few Hail Marys,” he said.

Although he’s calling himself an independent, Smith, a former Republican, said he still holds many beliefs that align with conservatives.

He breaks from Republican nominee Donald Trump on a few points. Smith sees building a wall on the Mexican border as an unfeasible, unrealistic way of handling immigration. And he said he believes Trump’s answer to the Affordable Care Act is a rehash of that same plan.
“His stances change frequently,” Smith said.

Donald Trump Jr. holds TN fundraiser

Donald Trump Jr. swung through Franklin on Wednesday for a private campaign fundraiser at the home of a Franklin couple, Sandy and Mike Stresser, reports The Tennessean.

Money raised went to the Trump Victory Committee, the joint committee fundraising effort of the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign.

Trump, the eldest of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s children, addressed the reception for about 20 minutes and then spoke individually to attendees at an event that lasted more than an hour.

Among the 75 or so in attendance were multiple Republican state lawmakers, including Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin; Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin; and Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville; as well as Bill Hagerty, former Economic and Community Development commissioner under Gov. Bill Haslam.

Hagerty serves as Tennessee’s finance chairman of the Trump Victory committee and was recently tapped to be a member of Trump’s transition team.

“I felt that Don Jr.’s visit was very successful,” Hagerty said. “His message was well received. And I’ve enjoyed the time that I’ve spent with Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric. They represent their father very well.”

Christian conservatives ‘cheapest date in American politics’?

David French, a Columbia, Tenn.-based conservative commentator who toyed with running for president earlier this year, told a Southern Baptist gathering that Christian conservatives should cease being “the cheapest date in American politics” by always backing Republicans, reports The Tennessean.

The National Review staff writer …called this year’s election cycle a “colossal, miserable, disgusting failure” with nomination of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but added “in American history it’s been worse.”

While the Columbia resident dissected how the election wound up in such a gloomy state, he also laid out a path for social conservatives Saturday at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s post conference in Nashville. The morning event delved into the presidential election, religious liberty and the future of the church.

“We cannot tie ourselves to one political party,” French said. Continue reading

5 independents on TN ballot (4 with party affiliations)

Five people have been approved for listing as Independent candidates for president on Tennessee’s November ballot, including four who are otherwise designated as nominees by national party organizations less known than the Democratic and Republican parties.

Tennessee’s list of presidential candidates was finalized Thursday, according to a spokesman for the state Division of Elections, overseen by Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

Only Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump will be identified by party affiliation on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot under a state law that has been the subject of lawsuits in recent years. But four are campaigning nationally as nominees of third parties. They are: Continue reading

Educationally, Haslam says Trump talking ‘bogeyman;’ Clinton going backward

Gov. Bill Haslam says the presidential candidate’s aren’t talking enough about education issues and are off base when they do bring up the issue, reports the Times-Free Press.

“There’s very little conversation about education” by Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat hopeful Hillary Clinton, said Haslam at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting.

The Republican governor called education “a really hard problem.” But, he said, that’s not an excuse to “back up” on the issue.

“We won’t fix poverty issues until we address education issues,” said Haslam, who was introduced by former Chattanooga mayor and current U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

In the 25 or more presidential debates so far by both the political parties, there has been “a minute and a half of conversation about education,” Haslam said.

Trump has talked about doing away with Common Core standards and removing federal intervention from local schools, Haslam said. But, he said, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., led efforts to make it unlawful for such intervention in the schools.

“There’s no such thing as Common Core to worry about anymore,” Haslam said. “That’s a boogeyman that has gone.”

Meanwhile, Clinton has taken a step backward on what Haslam said was a bold move by President Barack Obama to make sure teacher evaluations are tied to student assessments, contrary to teacher unions.

“Clinton has basically said ‘I don’t believe that,”‘ the governor said. He said the Democrat nominee has indicated she’s not sure about end-of-the-year assessment.

“Both national parties are not focusing on one of the key issues,” Haslam said.

TN GOP lawmakers not opening their wallets to Trump

Excerpt from a Tennessean report on presidential campaign fundraising in Tennessee, which overall shows Hillary Clinton still leading in money collection though Donald Trump has grained ground in the last couple of months:

Not one of the nine Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation – including U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn who had a primetime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, who was considered a vice-presidential candidate – have written a check to Trump, a trend that has expanded beyond Tennessee.

Only two Republican members of Congress have donated to Trump, according to a Fortune analysis of his latest campaign contributions.

In Tennessee, Reps. Jeremy Durham, Kelly Keisling and Bill Sanderson and Sen. Mae Beavers, who served as chairman of the state’s delegation to the RNC, are the only lawmakers to give money to the billionaire this election cycle.

By comparison, at this same point in the 2012 election, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney received at total of $24,000 from four of Tennessee’s Republican members of Congress, including Blackburn, and three state lawmakers – House Speaker Beth Harwell and Sen. Jack Johnson and Beavers.

Romney also received two $2,500 donations from Gov. Bill Haslam during the same time period. Although Haslam has not written a check to Trump, his father, James Haslam II, who also donated to Romney in 2012, has given the presidential candidate $2,700.

Clinton, meanwhile, has received $7,700 from five Tennessee Democratic lawmakers – or 15 percent of the 33 seats the party holds between Congress and the state legislature – during the 2016 election cycle.

The Democratic lawmakers to give to Clinton are: U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, Sen. Jeff Yarbro and Reps. Craig Fitzhugh, Harold Love and Raumesh Akbari, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

During the same time period in the 2012 election, President Barack Obama received $2,100 from five Democratic state lawmakers.

Anti-Trump independent fails to get on TN ballot

Independent candidate Evan McMullin, running as a conservative alternative to Republican nominee Donald Trump, failed to secure even half the signatures needed to get onto Tennessee’s ballot, according to Politico.

McMullin, a long-shot presidential contender, has been scrambling to get his name on the ballot in states whose deadlines have not already passed. Last week, McMullin successfully made it onto the Iowa and Louisiana ballots, but he fell short in Tennessee, collecting just 129 of the 275 signatures required.

“Evan McMullin’s campaign did not submit enough signatures to be included on Tennessee’s ballot as an independent presidential candidate,” Adam Ghassemi, director of communications for Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, told POLITICO on Monday.

Tennessee’s threshold to get onto the ballot is lower than in Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana and Utah, where McMullin’s name will appear. In Tennessee, presidential candidates also must list their running mates and the electors who agree to represent them.

With only 77 days to go before Election Day, McMullin hasn’t said who he would like as his running mate.

Jimmy Carter backs ‘quite unpopular’ Clinton in Memphis

By Adrain Sainz, Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that both major presidential candidates are “quite unpopular,” but he knows who’s more qualified and he’s voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton in November.

The 91-year-old Carter spoke with The Associated Press on the site of a Habitat for Humanity construction project in Memphis.

Carter, considered a worldwide ambassador for Habitat for Humanity, said he doesn’t like to advocate for particular issues because he works equally with Republicans, Democrats and people of many religious beliefs in his role with the home building charity.

But he did say that “everybody knows that I’m a Democrat, and I’ll be voting Democratic.” Continue reading

TN lottery jackpot winner donates to Democrats, picked as elector

Knoxvillian Roy Cockrum, recently designated as one of Tennessee’s 11 presidential electors by the state Democratic Party, has become a major donor to Democratic political causes since winning a Powerball lottery jackpot in 2014, a review of financial disclosure records indicates.

“He’s a big Hillary (Clinton) supporter,” said Tennessee Democratic Chair Mary Mancini in a telephone interview.

When he won the Powerball jackpot in June of 2014, Cockrum opted to collect the lump sum payout of $153.5 million rather than the $259.8 million payout that would have applied if spread out in annuitized payments.

In a news conference at the time, Cockrum, a 58-year-old bachelor, said he left his native Knoxville for college and after graduation spent 20 years as an actor and stage manager before taking a vow of poverty to serve in a religious order, the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an Episcopal religious community in Massachusetts. He left the order and returned to Knoxville in 2009 to care for his aging and ill parents.
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