Tag Archives: advertising

Dickerson’s opponents question mailer money

State Sen. Steve Dickerson’s Republican opponent and potential Democratic challenger are both calling for a legislative committee to investigate the Nashville lawmaker over his use of taxpayer-funded constituent mailers and telephone calls, reports The Tennessean.

On Monday, Ron McDow and Erin Coleman, who are challenging Dickerson in the August primary and November general election, respectively, sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey asking him to convene a special hearing of the Senate Finance Investigations and Oversight subcommittee.

The purpose of the hearing, McDow and Coleman say, is to have the subcommittee investigate Dickerson’s use of legislative money to communicate with his constituents via three direct mailers and town hall events conducted over the telephone.

Despite the criticism, Dickerson — who is chairman of the oversight subcommittee — and Ramsey are standing behind the senator’s use of taxpayer money. Continue reading

Black camp: Carr reaches ‘lows never before seen in TN politics’

As part of a story on apparent inaccuracies in U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s radio ad touting her endorsement by the National Rifle Association, WSMV TV says the NRA is sticking with its move and Black’s campaign is denouncing challenger Joe Carr as sleazy.

The Black ad says the lawmaker got her handgun carry permit after becoming the victim of a violent criminal assault. But other reports indicate she didn’t get the permit until 14 years after the robbery and some other details of Black’s comments in the ad have been questioned based on a police report at the time. (Note: Carr’s press release on the matter previously posted HERE.)

Black declined an on-camera interview, but her press secretary Jonathan Frank sent the following statement:

“This is not going to be Joe Carr’s first losing campaign, but it certainly is his sleaziest. In what is likely the end of his political career, he and his allies have sunk to lows never before seen in Tennessee politics. They’ve exploited the addiction problems faced by Diane’s in-laws. They pretend that she never was violently assaulted when a police report documents it all. They even attacked her life as a single mother before she met Dave.

“Now that the Carr campaign has been confronted with the truth about Congressman Black’s attacking, they continue to dismiss this violent crime as a ‘purse snatching’ and are effectively telling their supporters that the attack described in the police report wasn’t bad enough. Efforts by the Carr campaign to minimize this assault are offensive to victims and their families. It is pathetic attacks like this that have caused Joe Carr to rack up three failed campaigns in a row. On Aug.4, Tennesseans will reject Joe Carr’s sleaze and relegate him to an even less reputable line of work.”

Political analyst and former campaign manager Kent Syler said it’s extremely important to get all the facts in a campaign ad right.

“The facts in this police report are certainly traumatic enough to cover the points of this ad without vacillating from it whatsoever,” Syler said.

Syler said whether the inconsistencies were intentional or not, it’s a good lesson in campaign advertising.

“Having that paper to back it up is important. Many times you’ll even see the police report in the ad as evidence,” he said.

The National Rifles Association has endorsed Black. Spokeswoman Jennifer Baker sent the following statement:

Diane Black is a strong advocate for the 2nd Amendment and an inspiration to women determined to avoid being victimized by exercising their constitutional right to self-protection. It is ludicrous that her political opponents are twisting the facts of experience as a victim of a violent crime.”

DesJarlais: ‘Dead baby parts’ mailer ‘reprehensible’

Challenger Grant Starrett’s latest political mail attack on U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais has the congressman crying foul about “morally reprehensible” tactics, reports the Times-Free Press.

The mailer, which began hitting voters’ mailboxes earlier this week, accuses the congressman of having been “silent on life” and features a picture of DesJarlais with tape over his mouth beside a doctored “Planned Parenthood” cooler marked “Dead Baby Parts $500.”

It’s an intended hit on DesJarlais for not having joined in with GOP House committee colleagues’ questioning of Planned Parenthood’s chief last year over allegations the nonprofit abortion provider “sold” abortion fetus parts to medical companies.

“Even liberals in his home state of California, would be repulsed by Grant’s morally reprehensible campaign tactics,” DesJarlais campaign spokesman Robert Jameson said of the mailer, one of four that Starrett has sent out in recent days.

Jameson said “Grant should apologize to voters in the Fourth District for subjecting them to this trash, pack his bags and head back to his parents’ mansion in Beverly Hills. Clearly, politics is not his calling in life.”

But Tommy Schultz, Starrett’s campaign manager, said the mailer is fair and accurate and that the congressman should be the one apologizing.

DesJarlais’ first TV ad bashes ‘California trust fund millionaire’

More than a week after 4th District GOP primary rival Grant Starrett began airing a new television ad assaulting U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ record, the Tennessee congressman is returning the favor with his own TV spot slamming Starrett, reports the Times-Free Press.

DesJarlais’ “Mr. California” ad is slated to begin airing in the Chattanooga market on Tuesday. It portrays Starrett, an attorney who lives in Murfreesboro, as a youthful, out-of-state trust-fund millionaire trying to buy a seat in the largely rural 4th Congressional District.

Starrett has been running ads since early June, but this is DesJarlais’ first in the 2016 primary and comes as early voting is under way in the Aug. 4 election.

Running to DesJarlais’ right, Starrett has slammed the three-term incumbent on several votes and repeatedly has skewered him for passing on a 2015 opportunity to grill the head of Planned Parenthood at a congressional hearing.

DesJarlais’ first spot, which borrows heavily from an earlier direct-mail piece, is a take-off on the old TV series “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” featuring a gushing narrator with a British accent.

“‘Mr. California,’ starring Grant Starrett, the 28-year-old California trust-fund millionaire,” the announcer says. “Starrett grew up in a $10 million ocean-view mansion, moved to the 4th District last year just to run for Congress, using inherited fortune and out of state cash to join the club in Washington.”

Doctored images include a smiling Starrett on a California beach or grabbing his moment on a Hollywood red carpet, and images of $100 bills raining down on the candidate.

The ad shows DesJarlais speaking with a farmer and an elderly couple as the announcer, in an American accent, says, “Dr. DesJarlais fights for us, not the Washington establishment, making Scott DesJarlais the fourth most conservative congressman in the country.”

Tyler Privette, DesJarlais’ campaign coordinator, said the candidate has made a “significant ad buy covering both cable and network in the Chattanooga and Nashville media markets.”

Federal Communication Commission filings by Chattanooga broadcast TV stations on political advertising show an initial purchase of $11,029.

Note: A link to the ad is HERE.

‘Dark money’ ads target Black, Luttrell, Kelsey, Greer

Attack ads from a group with secret donors are targeting candidates in two congressional Republican primaries in Tennessee, reports The Tennessean. One of the targets, U.S. Rep. Diane Black, is calling on opponent Joe Carr to have the “dark money group” reveal donors.

Power of Liberty’s registered agent is Tennessee conservative activist Steve Gill, who said the group is a 501(c)(4), an Internal Revenue Service designation for “social welfare” nonprofit organizations that — unlike Super PACs — aren’t required to disclose their donors.

In addition to launching radio and mail ads attacking Black in Tennessee’s 6th congressional GOP primary, Power of Liberty has also released negative ads targeting Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, state Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, and businessman Brad Greer. All three are candidates in West Tennessee’s crowded 8th congressional district Republican primary to replace departing U.S. Rep. Steve Fincher.

…In a statement, Black spokesman Jonathan Frank said that Carr, a former state representative, should call on Power of Liberty to release its donors.

“The issue in this race is that this dark money group is spending more money than Joe Carr is raising on his own,” Frank said. “For all practical purposes, this group is his campaign; he has little in the way of support from across the district. Joe should ask this group to disclose its donors to leave no doubt among voters where his support is coming from.”

…Gill, who is working for multiple Republican candidates in Tennessee this election cycle, called Power of Liberty an “issue advocacy” group, likening the organization’s efforts to the right-wing Americans For Prosperity, which has opposed a gas tax and Medicaid expansion, among other agenda items at the Tennessee legislature.

“The issues (of Power of Liberty) are all the same stuff that we’ve been pushing for a long time — the illegal immigration issues, government elitism, tax policies,” Gill said. “It’s the same conservative stuff that I do all the time.”

…Gill said Power of Liberty might make an advertising play in Tennessee’s 4th congressional district race between U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais and challenger Grant Starrett, as well as a race in Virginia that he did not identify. He also said Power of Liberty played a role in helping organize the rollout of a new “Blue Lives Matter” effort — a state legislative push from multiple Republican lawmakers to pass legislation to increase penalties for assaulting, killing and attempting to kill law enforcement officers in Tennessee.

…Kelsey, one of 13 candidates running in the 8th congressional district, has been targeted by both mail and radio ads paid for by Power of Liberty. The mail piece criticizes his vote in 2015 in favor of in-state tuition at public universities and colleges for undocumented immigrants.

“As illegals continue to pour across our open borders, Senator Brian Kelsey has a simple a plan to deal with illegal immigration: Send illegal immigrants to college and send Tennessee taxpayers the bill!” the ads reads.

Kelsey told The Tennessean that he regrets that vote, but like the Black campaign, he said the 501(c)(4) organization should reveal its donors.

“I fully support the free speech of this group, but I think they should disclose who’s funding it,” Kelsey said.Continue reading

Unchallenged senators transfer state mailer money to Dickerson, Overbey

State senators without re-election opponents this year have transferred thousands of dollars of state government funds used for voter mailings to challenged colleagues — a practice now banned for members of the state House.

The contrast reflects differing positions taken by Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell on use of the “constituent communications” funds. A review of records also shows a striking disparity in the amount of money stockpiled in the accounts by senators compared with representatives.

Only two of the 99 members of the House have more than $10,000 in their accounts, and several have used their own money — or checks drawn on their political campaign accounts — to cover the cost of newsletters, constituent questionnaires and the like because they lack money in their taxpayer-provided accounts. Most senators, on the other hand, have far larger balances — topped by Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson, R-Hixson, with $117,157 stashed in his communications fund.

Bills filed in the past legislative session would have prohibited transfers from one legislator to another and put limits on stockpiling. Yet another bill would have banned mailings to voters in a legislator’s district for 90 days before an election instead of the current standard of 30 days.

The bills failed with Ramsey voicing opposition, but Harwell quietly last March acted on her own to ban transfers by members of the House, a fairly widespread practice for decades by both senators and representatives. The two speakers have overall control of how members can use the money allocated to them — $6,832 per year for senators; $2,016 for representatives.

“She firmly believes that postage money belongs to the constituents of that particular district, not the member. The funds are there to communicate with the constituents of that particular district,” said Kara Owen, spokeswoman for Harwell. Continue reading

Diane Black TV ad focused on protection from immigrants, refugees

From a Tennessean description:

In a 30-second spot, which began airing Thursday, Black tells an audience that she has fought hard to ensure the country’s borders are protected.

“The fact is that people come into this country illegally — we’ve got to hold them accountable and responsible,” she says.

A narrator notes that Black is the “sponsor of the law” which seeks to stop refugees coming from Syria and Iraq. Black has pushed legislation aimed at that goal but it has not received Congressional approval or become law.

“This is an issue that both Democrats and Republicans have failed to address,” Black continues in the ad. “This has got to be something that we do as an American people to say no more.”

The ad is the first of a series of spots that will air on broadcast and cable stations throughout her district. According to Black’s campaign, she is set to spend $493,000 on TV ads in advance of the Aug. 4 primary election.

DesJarlais launches direct mail attack on ‘trust fund millionaire’

Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District Rep, Scott DesJarlais is making a direct mail attack on his primary challenger, Grant Starrett, as a young West Coast “trust fund millionaire” trying to “buy his way into Congress.”

Further from the Times-Free Press:

The DesJarlais mailer, the first publicly funded piece by the three-term South Pittsburg physician in the Aug. 4 primary campaign, labels Starrett as “Mr. California.”

“Grant Starrett should be running for Congress in California, not Tennessee,” the mailer says. It further charges Starrett, 28, with “moving to Tennessee to buy his way into Congress,” that he “only moved into our district a year ago” and he “doesn’t represent us or our small town values.”

The mailer says Starrett “grew up in a ten million dollar home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in California” and notes his campaign is funded “with out-of-state money, including a half million-dollar loan from himself.”

Tommy Schultz, Starrett’s campaign manager, retorted that “apparently Grant Starrett is getting to Scott DesJarlais.”

Schultz blasted the congressman for spending $67,000 of public money on communications with constituents from Jan. 1 to March 31.

“It’s not surprising DesJarlais spent more than all eight other Tennessee Congressmen combined with taxpayer-funded ‘Mass Communications’ and then is blasting out false attack mailers from his campaign,” Schultz said in an email to the Times Free Press on Sunday.

…Robert Jameson, DesJarlais’ spokesman, charged Starrett “is someone who has absolutely no ties to the community and whose establishment views are out of touch with the majority of folks in the Fourth District. California does not need another congressman.”

‘Make America White’ candidate revels in criticism of billboard

Tennessee politicians have lambasted a billboard declaring “Make America White Again” while Rick Tyler, the independent congressional candidate who paid for it, says that’s just what he wanted. So reports the Times-Free Press.

(T)he 58-year-old Ocoee, Tenn., restaurateur reveled in the controversy his two billboards elicited.

While both signs — the second featuring a picture of the White House festooned with Confederate flags — were taken down by the billboards’ owners Wednesday, Tyler said on his campaign website that “be assured, the response that has been engendered by the billboard is precisely what was expected and hoped for.

“You see this is not a mere publicity stunt, but rather a calculated maneuver to dispense hardcore truth while simultaneously doing an end run around the iron curtain of censorship,” the site reads.

Tyler added that his “Make America White Again” billboard was indeed a takeoff on GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”

In a Times Free Press interview Wednesday, Tyler, principal owner of the Whitewater Grill in Ocoee, described himself as an “insurgent candidate” in the 3rd Congressional District race. Tyler said he wants to ban non-whites from emigrating legally or illegally to the U.S., deport undocumented immigrants already here and end government-support programs he says encourage non-whites to have children at taxpayer expense.

While Tyler says he is on a mission to save America and return the country to its past, Tennessee House Minority Leader Joe Towns, D-Memphis, wasn’t buying any of it, calling Tyler a “con and a psychopath.”

“He doesn’t need to lead a pack of dogs,” Towns, who is black, said of Tyler.

News release from Tennessee Republican Party
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – June 22, 2016 — Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes released the following statement regarding Independent Congressional Candidate Rick Tyler’s offensive billboards in Polk County, Tennessee:

“There’s no room for this type of hateful display in our political discourse. Racism should be rejected in all its heinous forms in the Third Congressional District and around the country.”