Tag Archives: Alexander

Rand Paul ‘very supportive’ of Lamar Alexander (but that’s not an endorsement)

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kentucky’s Rand Paul said Monday that he’s “very supportive” of fellow U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander but stopped short of endorsing the Tennessee Republican, who is up for re-election next year.

Alexander’s campaign has been working to fend off potential primary challengers from the right. Tea party activists unhappy with Alexander staged a counter-rally last week when the senator held a campaign event in Smyrna. But a GOP opponent has yet to emerge.

Alexander’s first TV ad of the campaign features Paul, a tea party favorite, in the two senators’ role in halting an Army Corps of Engineers plan to erect barriers to prevent people from fishing below dams on the Cumberland River. The spot includes video of Paul saying: “Nobody wants to say no to Lamar Alexander.”

Paul told reporters before a forum at a Nashville charter school on Monday that he didn’t want to be drawn into what he called a media-driven “parlor game” about endorsements.

“I’m very supportive of Sen. Alexander, and I hope he doesn’t get an opponent, I hope he wins re-election,” Paul said. “I’m very supportive of him, but I really just don’t want to get trapped into all these political games.”

But Paul, who is considering a presidential bid in 2016, hasn’t completely exempted himself from political endorsements in Tennessee. He was in in suburban Nashville on Sunday night to speak at a fundraiser for state Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin.

Alexander said he was comfortable with Paul’s position, noting that he has not been endorsed by any other U.S. senator other than Bob Corker, a fellow Tennessee Republican.

“We’re not here to endorse each other,” Alexander said. “What I try to do is earn the respect of my colleagues. And Rand Paul has certainly earned my respect for the way he speaks out and works on education, and I hope I can earn his.

“So we’re not here about endorsements; we’re here about how can we help teachers, and parents and children, and I appreciate very much what he has to say,” he said.

Alexander said his campaign ad featuring Paul was not meant to give the impression that he had won his endorsement.

“My TV ad I hope gives the impression that we’re pretty effective when it comes to defending the rights of fishermen,” Alexander said.

Tea Party Still Looking for an Alexander Challenger

Tea party groups plan to conduct “auditions” for prospective 2014 challengers to Sen. Lamar Alexander during August and September, reports Andy Sher as part of an overview story on the incumbent Republican’s re-election campaign.
Of course, all things considered, the chances look very good for Alexander’s reelection.
He’s got some $3 million in cash on hand. He’s raising more. And he’s already running ads.
Alexander last week said he thinks things are going well.
“The last public surveys I’ve seen … showed I had a slightly higher approval rating from people aligned with the tea party than I did even with the Republicans,” Alexander said.
He cited a May poll by Vanderbilt University showing him with a 53 percent general job approval rating, with 60 percent support from Republicans and 62 percent from self-identified tea partiers.
The overall poll had a 4 percent margin of error. The margin of error was higher in sub categories.
“I’m just going to do the best I can as a senator and respect the right of everybody else to believe whatever they want,” Alexander said.
He touted the “hundreds of conservative Middle Tennessee Republicans” who attended his rally Saturday.

Tea Party Activists Rally Against Alexander Near Alexander Event

SMYRNA, Tenn. — While Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney acted as master of ceremonies at an event hosted by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s reelection campaign Saturday, tea party activists held an event nearby to denounce the incumbent lawmaker’s voting record.
The contrast may illustrate the split within state Republican ranks now that the party holds a supermajority in the state Legislature, the governor’s office, both U.S. Senate seats and seven of nine U.S. House seats.
“We’re just sick and tired of the Republican establishment telling us we can’t have an open debate on Lamar Alexander’s record,” said Ben Cunningham, founder of Nashville Tea Party and Tennessee Tax Revolt, who served as master of ceremonies at the “counter-rally” attended by perhaps 200 persons from around the state — including a small group from Alexander’s native Blount County.
He said Devaney “is not supposed to endorse in a primary” but is effectively doing so by boosting Alexander’s re-election campaign toward a “coronation” by “trying to intimidate” prospective opponents.
“There is no primary now,” said Devaney when asked about the comments of Cunningham and others at the tea party gathering.

See also The Tennessean, which includes this paragraph:
Jim Jeffries, a spokesman for Alexander, on Saturday night said that more than 500 people showed up for the Alexander campaign event at the Smyrna Air Center to honor Middle Tennessee Republican Party chairmen.

Continue reading

Alexander, Corker Break GOP Ranks on Confirming EPA Nominee

Both of Tennessee’s senators broke with their party to approve the President’s choice for head of the Environmental Protection Agency, reports WPLN.
The bulk of the Senate’s Republicans worked to block Gina McCarthy at every stop along the nomination process, including an attempted filibuster. Only six GOP Senators voted in her favor.
While he deviated from the party’s efforts, Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander cited the GOP as the reason why he voted for McCarthy. In a statement, Alexander pointed out that she has worked for five Republican governors and likely has better conservative credentials than anyone else President Obama would be likely to appoint.
…Tennessee’s other Senator, Bob Corker, was heavily involved in efforts to broker a deal with Democrats, heading off their use of the so-called “nuclear option” to ensure approval of the President’s nominees.
After striking that deal, Corker voted for Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
He and Alexander also helped Democrats ensure a vote on the nominee to the Labor Department by blocking any Republican chance at a filibuster. However, they did go on to vote against Thomas Perez’s confirmation, along with every other Republican.

On Alexander, Corker Splitting Votes and Cutting a Deal in the U.S. Senate

Tennessee U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker split their votes on confirming President Obama’s nominee to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which came after a deal averted a threats Democratic threats to invoke the so-called “nuclear option,” reports Nooga.com. Alexander voted against confirmation of Richard Cordray; Corker for.
The move came after threats by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to espouse “the nuclear option,” a procedural tactic that would have allowed the number of votes needed to confirm presidential appointees to be 51 instead of the traditional 60-vote threshold.
Reid cited repeated filibusters by Republican senators as his reason for considering the tactic, drawing criticism from Alexander and others. Elements of Tuesday’s compromise were hashed out Monday night in a closed-door meeting of senators in the Capitol’s Old Senate Chamber.
As part of their deal, two new nominees for the National Labor Relations Board will be chosen as replacements for appointees picked by Obama during a recess in 2011. Votes will also be scheduled for Department of Labor and Environmental Protection Agency nominees.

The Daily Mail, meanwhile, has a report quoting “two senior Senate aids” (anonymous) as declaring Alexander was making threats himself behind the scenes during the deal-cutting talks.
Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, threatened Reid with an even bigger nuke than Reid famously threatened: a promise to retaliate by opposing every so-called ‘unanimous consent’ resolution that comes to the Senate floor.
‘Senator Alexander told Senator Reid that if he did what he thought he was going to do, the wrath of God was coming, and he was going to deliver it personally.’
Both aides confirmed that the Republicans’ leader in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, approved of the plan. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. Alexander’s office did not respond to a request for an official comment.
….Sen. Alexander had already offered a series of different threats on the Senate floor on June 18, telling Democrats that if they changed the debate rules, he would prepare 10 pieces of legislation and pass them quickly the next time Republicans were in the majority.
New York Times political prognosticator Nate Silver, who correctly predicted the outcome of every state’s electoral votes in the 2012 presidential election, said Monday that Republicans were poised to hold either 50 or 51 Senate seats after the 2014 midterm election.
Alexander’s June 18 threats included the repeal of Obamacare, a voucher program for public education, drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, completing the Keystone XL pipeline, a national ‘right to work’ law and finishing the construction of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.
That project is in Reid’s home state of Nevada, and he’s blocked it since 2010.
‘I think Lamar Alexander is a serous player,’ the second staffer said. ‘He’s got game, and Harry Reid blinked.’

Rand Paul Hasn’t Endorsed Lamar Alexander

Aides to Sen. Rand Paul said the Kentucky Republican’s participation in Sen. Lamar Alexander’s campaign ad should not be construed as an endorsement for a third term in the Senate, reports Chris Carroll.
Paul, a tea party favorite who praises Alexander in the Volunteer State Republican’s statewide ads, said through a spokesman his remarks should be viewed in a very narrow context.
“The footage that Sen. Alexander’s campaign is using is from a public press conference in regards to a bill they both cosponsored,” spokesman Sergio Gor said. “At this time Senator Paul has not made an endorsement in this race.”
Viewed in a broader light, Paul’s actions belie his statement in the ad that “Nobody wants to say no to Lamar Alexander.
In fact, Paul opposed Alexander on three recent, high-profile votes: the “fiscal cliff” measure, an Internet sales tax bill and immigration reform.
Alexander voted for all three, angering some tea party activists.
Gor and Paul chief of staff Doug Stafford said the former Bowling Green ophthalmologist has not decided whether he’ll endorse Alexander or anyone in Tennessee’s 2014 Senate race.
To date, Alexander has not drawn a GOP primary challenger. But conservative opposition groups, including one called “Beat Lamar,” have sprung up across Tennessee. Lately, they’ve cited Alexander’s immigration vote as a reason to bring him home from Washington.
Initial reports about the ad, which deals with a bill fighting fishing restrictions, highlighted Paul’s presence and its effect on Alexander’s political future. An article in The Hill newspaper cites an unnamed Alexander campaign aide saying, “Paul’s inclusion in the video is designed to boost Alexander’s credibility among the grassroots Tea Party activists.”
But in a Friday phone interview, Alexander himself cautioned against “making more or less of the ad than there is.”
“I know how to run an endorsement ad, and this was not an endorsement ad,” Alexander said. “I’ve run into several people who saw the ad, liked it and understood it was about fishing.”

Ramsey, Campfield Shun Entreaties to Oppose Alexander

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and state Sen. Stacey Campfield both say they are being urged to run against U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in next year’s Republican primary, but have no intention of doing so.
“I’m not exaggerating, I get a dozen emails a week asking me to run,” Ramsey told reporters. “The tea party groups are out there looking for an opponent and I think they’ll have a hard time finding one against Lamar.”
The Senate speaker said he doesn’t even want the job.
“Why would I want to step down and be a United States senator?” Ramsey said. “He’s one of one hundred. I’m one of one.”
Campfield, R-Knoxville, said he has also received frequent entreaties from conservatives urging him to challenge Alexander, but tells them he is “happy being a state senator.” Campfield is up for re-election to his seat next year and already has Richard Briggs, a Knox County commissioner and physician, running against him.
“I’ve had people ask me, but short of them coming up with millions of dollars to get the message out about how wonderful I am, no, I’m not running,” he said.
Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, stirred a flurry of interest recently when a tea party blog reported he canceled an appearance at an Alexander event because he was upset with the incumbent’s vote on an immigration bill. But a spokeswoman told the Tennessean that Green and Alexander are friends and he missed the event for family reasons.
Ramsey said he talked with Green, counseling him against opposing Alexander because “I know what it’s like” to be hugely outspent in a campaign — a reference to his unsuccessful run against Bill Haslam for governor in 2010 — and “I think he’s doing too good a job in the state Senate.”

Alexander TV Ad: Fishing saved and Rand Paul Can’t Say No to Lamar!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Lamar Alexander’s first ads of his re-election campaign feature fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a tea party favorite from neighboring Kentucky.
The Alexander campaign announced Friday it has bought $180,000 worth of ads to run over two weeks on broadcast and cable television and on the radio.
The ads highlight Alexander’s successful effort to place a moratorium on an Army Corps of Engineers plan to erect barriers to prevent people from fishing below dams on the Cumberland River. (It was, says Alexander in the radio version, “one of the most extreme cases of government overreach in history.”)
The spot includes video of Paul saying: “Nobody wants to say no to Lamar Alexander.”
Alexander’s campaign had $1.8 million on hand through the first quarter of the year. While some tea party groups have grumbled about a third term for Alexander, no Republican challenger has emerged so far.

Note 1: Politico says Alexander collected $2 million in second quarter fundraising and has some details on the ad, HERE.
Note 2: The Alexander campaign news release, with links to the radio and TV versions of the ad, is below.

Continue reading

Different Perspectives on Senate-passed Immigration Bill

Headline on Lamar Alexander Press release today:
Alexander Votes to Secure Border, End de Facto Amnesty
Says immigration reform now goes to U.S. House of Representatives to “improve the legislation and finish the job”
Headline on Marsha Blackburn Press Release today:
Senate Amnesty Bill D.O.A. In House Of Representatives
Text of the releases is below, along with statements from Sen. Bob Corker and Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Diane Black on the Senate’s passage of the immigration bill.

Continue reading

Miscellaneous TN Government and Political Tidbits

TennCare Drawing Lampooned on Daily Show
Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart has lampooned Tennessee’s “health care lottery,” otherwise know as the TennCare “spend down” drawing wherein 2,500 people with huge medical bills get to apply for TennCare benefits via telephone call. Video HERE.
Paul Wants to Raise Kane
Former Congressman Ron Paul has been urging professional wrestler Glenn Jacobs, whose stage name is “Kane,” to run against Lamar Alexander in the 2014 U.S. Senate primary, according to Matt Collins, who was on Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign staff. So reports Reason.com.
Dawn in the Legislature
Freshman state Rep. Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro, tells the Daily News Journal in a Q-and-A story that she learned a valuable lesson during her first legislative session: How a bill begins is usually not how it finishes.
“I always tell people … that how the bill is written (will determine if) I will support it or not, because I learned that one amendment can change the entire face of the bill,” White said
Cooper’s PR Person Exits
Katie Hill, the press secretary for U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper for the past 18 months, is leaving the Nashville Democrat’s staff to take the same role with Gabby Giffords’ new political action committee. HERE.
Lazy Headline Writing Denounced
Frank Cagle’s weekly column begins with this line: It’s not an Internet tax, dammit, no matter how many times lazy headline writers call it that.
You Could Say Hill’s Bill Just Hit a Speed Bump
State Rep. Timothy Hill backed off on his bill to prohibit Bluff City from using traffic cameras to ticket speeding motorists during the past session, but says he’ll put the measure on notice for another try in 2014. HERE.
Quiz on a State Senator
Robert Houk poses the question: How much do you know about Rusty Crowe?
On the UT Fracking Front
The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees has not been involved in plans to drill for oil and gas on UT land in Morgan and Scott counties. The Southern Environmental Law Center thinks they should be. HERE.
Meanwhile,t UT is now taking bids from those interested in drilling on the 8,600 acres. HERE