Category Archives: presidential campaign

Beavers selling Trump stuff for PAC profit

State Sen. Mae Beavers and her husband, Jerry, are selling homemade Donald Trump campaign materials with profits going to Beavers’ political action committee rather than the Republican party or the Trump campaign, reports The Tennessean.

Beavers, who served as a Trump delegate and chair of Tennessee delegation at the Republican National Convention, has a booth at the Wilson County fair this weekend as well as a storefront operation.

Interested buyers will be able to choose from a host of different options ranging from $15 hats and T-shirts to $3 buttons and $5 yard signs.

Although the material, which features Trump and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence’s name on it, may look official, it was actually printed by the Beaverses.

“My husband and I have purchased it,” she told The Tennessean, explaining that the couple spent $5,000 to print gear that includes camouflage, red, black or blue hats and black and blue T-shirts that go as large as 2XL.

On Friday, Beavers said the fact that she’s selling homemade Trump gear, which she said was all made in the United States, is not an unusual practice.

“Everybody’s doing this all over the state,” she said. Continue reading

TNDP chooses slate of 11 presidential electors

The Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee has chosen a slate of 11 members of the Electoral College who will cast their votes for Hillary Clinton should the Democratic nominee carry the state in the November election – a prospect, of course, generally deemed unlikely.

Two of the Democratic electors, Richard Eskind of Nashville and Gale Jones Carson of Memphis, are designated as statewide electors representing Tennessee’s two U.S. Senate seats. (Eskind was husband of the late Jane Eskind, the first woman to win a statewide elective office in Tennessee – the old Public Service Commission – and once the party’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat.)

The other seats are designated as representing each of the state’s nine congressional districts. Here’s a list of the Democratic electors by congressional district, as provided by the Tennessee Democratic Party:

Nancy Fischman of Johnson City, 1st Congressional District
Roy Cockrum of Knoxville, 2nd Congressional District.
Annie Hall of Signal Mountain, 3rd Congressional District
John T. Bragg Jr. of Murfreesboro, 4th Congressional District
Andrea Conte of Nashville, 5th Congressional District. (Note: Conte is the spouse of former Gov. Phil Bredesen.)
Aubrey T. Givens of Lebanon, 6th Congressional District
Michael T. Cartwright of Franklin, 7th Congressional District
Michael McWherter of Dresden, 8th Congressional District (Note: McWherter is the son of the late former Gov. Ned McWherter)
State Rep. Raumesh Akbari of Memphis, 9th Congressional District

TNGOP chooses slate of 11 presidential electors

The Tennessee Republican Party’s State Executive Committee has chosen a slate of 11 members of the national Electoral College for the formal process of choosing the nation’s next president following the November election. The Republican slate will cast the Tennessee ballots if Donald Trump carries Tennessee, as generally anticipated.

Two of the Republican electors, Joey Jacobs of Brentwood and Beth Scott Clayton Amos of Nashville, fill the slots designated for the state’s two U.S. Senate seats. The others each represent one for each the state’s nine congressional districts.

Here’s the list of electors by congressional district, as provided by TNGOP.

Congressional District 1: Jason Mumpower of Bristol.
Congressional District 2: Susan Mills of Maryville.
Congressional District 3: Liz Holiway of Harriman.
Congressional District 4: Lynne Davis of Lascassas.
Congressional District 5: Tom Lawless of Nashville.
Congressional District 6: Mike Callahan of Monterey
Congressional District 7: Pat Allen of Clarksville.
Congressional District 8: Shannon Haynes of Alamo.
Congressional District 9: Drew Daniel of Memphis.

From a TNGOP press release:

TNGOP Chairman Ryan Haynes remarked, “These people have been instrumental in the success of the Republican Party and we are proud to name them as electors to represent our state.”

These electors were officially submitted to the Tennessee Secretary of State earlier today. The meeting of the presidential electors will take place on December 19, 2016 in the House Chamber of the Tennessee Capitol.

Nashville Kaine event part of national Clinton strategy?

Politico has a story on the Clinton campaign strategy in sending vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine to red states — including Tennessee with a Nashville event scheduled next Tuesday — for fundraising. An excerpt:

“So when they’re doing routine fundraising in [traditionally Republican] states, they have the ability to do so because they don’t have to position their vice presidential candidate in battleground states in order to bracket the other ticket. They’re free to open up a new front.”

In an ideal world for the Democratic ticket, every Clinton or Kaine event in a traditionally Republican or Republican-leaning state would set off alarm bells at Trump headquarters that would have his strategists scrambling to throw their limited time and money at states other than Ohio or Florida — which he must win to even come close.

Already this week, Trump has gone so far as to hire new operatives in Georgia, a state where President Barack Obama raised money for Clinton earlier this summer, where Bill Clinton is due to do the same next week, and where leading Democrats see a real opportunity to make inroads. His team this month requested ad rates there, too, as well as in other states most Republicans have not often had to worry about defending, such as Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, and Missouri. He’s even hired a pair of operatives in South Carolina, a usually deep red state where one recent public poll showed Clinton within striking distance.
Now, pushing deeper into Republican territory, Kaine’s fundraising spree is taking him to a trio of spots that are far from traditional Democratic fundraising hubs at a time when most vice presidential contenders tend to camp out full-time in swing states rather than scouring second- or third-tier campaign finance cities.

After a public-facing campaign swing through North Carolina, Iowa, and Wisconsin earlier in the week and a stop in Missouri on Wednesday, Kaine is due for one closed-doors event in Sun Valley, Idaho and two in Jackson, Wyoming on Thursday. Following his private stops in more traditional Democratic fundraising centers — eight total events in Portland, Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles, northern California, and the Denver suburbs by Monday — he’s scheduled to be in Little Rock, Arkansas and Nashville, Tennessee for two more on Tuesday, according to fundraiser invitations obtained by POLITICO.

Trump names Tipton County farmer as Ag advisor

From a Politico report:

Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled a list of agricultural advisers brimming with Republican heavy hitters, including Govs. Sam Brownback and Terry Branstad and several top farm-state lawmakers in a move that seemed aimed at quelling criticisms he is relying on a mostly third-string team.

The New York City real estate mogul’s rural and agriculture advisory committee — comprising 65 people — is a Who’s Who of farm policy, with five members of Congress, including the chairmen of the House and Senate agriculture committees, 10 current and former farm-state governors and two former GOP presidential nomination rivals, former Govs. Rick Perry and Jim Gilmore.

It’s an astoundingly mainstream roster for a candidate who seized the nomination on a wave of anti-establishment fury, splintering the party along the way.

There’s one Tennessean on the list: Charlotte Kelley of Tipton County, a former county commissioner, who, along with husband Richard, farms 14,000 acres of cotton and operates a cotton gin in Burlison, according to Michael Collins.

TN man sentenced in Mitt Romeny tax return case

A Tennessee man has been sentenced to four years in prison for claiming he had hacked Mitt Romeny’s tax returns and demanding money to keep them secret, reports NBC News.

Michael Mancil Brown, 37, of Franklin was convicted in May on fraud charges. He sent a letter in 2012 to the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers claiming that he had gotten access to its computer network and had stolen three years’ worth of tax documents for Romney and also for Romney’s wife, Ann.

Brown demanded that the firm deposit $1 million worth of bitcoins into an account to prevent him from releasing the tax documents he claimed to have.

Late Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Billy Roy Wilson sentenced Brown to 48 months in prison and ordered him to pay about $200,000 in restitution to the accounting firm.

Note: Justice Department press release is HERE.

Kaine schedules Nashville fundraiser

Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine has scheduled a high-dollar fundraising event in Nashville for Aug. 23, reports The Tennessean. The dinner and reception will be at Valentino’s Ristorante to benefit Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

An invitation for the Hillary Victory Fund campaign fundraiser obtained by the Tennessean lists a fundraising level of $33,400 per couple to serve as hosts of the event at the West End Avenue restaurant, which is co-owned by prominent Tennessee Democratic fundraiser Bill Freeman. Hosts who haul in that amount a host reception and receive preferred seating.

Attendees are to pay $10,000 a couple for the lower champion level, which includes cocktails and dinner.

Kaine, Clinton’s vice presidential candidate and a U.S. senator from Virginia, came to Nashville three years ago to be the keynote speaker of Jackson Day, the annual fundraiser for the Tennessee Democratic Party.

During the Democratic primary, Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state, three times visited Nashville, which is home to Tennessee’s top Democratic donors, including Freeman and attorney Charles Robert Bone, who were both Nashville mayoral candidates last year.

Note: For the presidential campaign thourgh July 15, Clinton has already raised more than $1.8 million in Tennessee, according to the FEC. Trump’s Tennessee fundraising total is at $304,750.

Corker criticizes Trump comments, still backs him

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker took issue today with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s assertions that President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are “the founders” of ISIS, according to the Times-Free Press.

“To say that an elected official in our country founded a terrorist organization like ISIS is taking the facts that took place in 2011 and carrying that far too far,” the Chattanooga Republican told reporters following a speech (at Franklin) to the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.

Corker earlier noted that Obama and Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Clinton had made a “number of decisions” in 2011 that helped fuel the rise of the Islamic State, such as failing to take action in the Syrian civil war, as well as providing “no follow up” in Libya, where, he said, the government was “decapitated.”

“That certainly created some conditions for ISIS to flourish,” said Corker, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Corker also strongly criticized Trump’s remarks on Tuesday in which he said Second Amendment supporters may be able to stop Clinton from naming Supreme Court justices who could weaken gun rights.

Some interpreted the remarks as a threat to Clinton. Trump strongly denied that, but a number of Republican officials cringed.

“I think that those type of comments had no place in our public discourse and was disappointed to hear” them, Corker said.

Nonetheless, Corker, who was under consideration as Trump’s running mate before withdrawing his name from consideration, said he continues to back Trump.

“My consistent comment has been that I plan to support the Republican nominee, and that’s the same thing I’ve said for six months,” Corker said. “No differentiation on that.”

Did Trump donate $20M to St. Jude’s? (Probably not)

The Washington Post has a story questioning the claim, made by a Donald Trump supporter at a rally last October, that the billionaire mogul gave $20 million to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

The report, published also in today’s Commercial Appeal, notes that the declaration brought loud cheers from the rally crowd and a “Thank you” from Trump, who subsequently – but indirectly – appeared to imply the claim was true.

The gist of the Post’s look into the matter: There’s no evidence Trump ever gave anything close to that amount to the charity. But a foundation headed by his son, Eric Trump, apparently has committed to raising that amount for the hospital.

Corker aide joins Trump transition team (prelude to cabinet post?)

Two senior Republicans close to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) have joined the Trump transition team, including one of Corker’s staffers, drastically improving the senator’s chances for a Cabinet post in a potential Donald Trump administration.

So reports the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin. Further:

Corker recently approved a temporary leave of absence for John Rader, counsel for Corker’s committee, so that he can work on presidential appointments for the transition team, which is headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Corker has been rumored to be seeking an appointment as either treasury secretary or secretary of state.

“John is taking a leave of absence to assist in the transition, which is an effort sanctioned by the federal government for both campaigns,” Corker’s chief of staff, Todd Womack, told me.

Rader, who has worked for Corker since last year, previously worked as an aide for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R). Three senior Republicans told me he will be the Trump transition team’s deputy director for presidential appointments, working directly under another Tennessee political figure, William Hagerty. (Note: In Tennessee, he served as Haslam’s first commissioner for the Department of Economic and Community Development.)

Hagerty was director of presidential appointments for the Mitt Romney presidential transition team in 2012 and asked Rader to help him this time around. Corker’s office did not put Rader up for the job.

Pursuant to a 2010 law signed by President Obama, both presidential nominees receive federal support and funding for their transition preparations. Hagerty and Rader would have a huge role in selecting and vetting candidates for more than 4,000 presidential appointments Trump would need to make if he is elected.

…Sources close to Corker told me that his first choice is to be treasury secretary and his second choice is to be secretary of state. Corker told the Tennessean last month that he could see himself in either of those roles.