Republican Mark Green unseats Democratic Sen. Tim Barnes in Senate District 22, HERE.
Republican Steve Dickerson defeats Phil North in Senate District 20, HERE.
Democrat Bo Mitchell defeats Charles Williamson in House District 50, HERE
Republican Todd Gardenhire wins Senate District 10, HERE
Kent Williams, the state’s only independent legislator, wins a new term, HERE
Democratic Rep. John Tidwell wins a new term in House District 74, HERE.
After one term in the state legislature, state Sen. Tim Barnes knew he was going to be in a fight to come back to Capitol Hill, reports the Tennessean in the latest look at an intense state Senate campaign. “When the lieutenant governor says he wants 33 state senators and makes me a target and raises money for my opponent, believe me, I know it’s going to be a tough race,” Barnes said.
The District 22 contest between Barnes, D-Adams, and doctor and business owner Mark Green, R-Clarksville, has become negative enough to earn statewide attention.
These tactics have become more frequent in the past month, even though the major attacks haven’t been handled by the candidates. While the Tennessee Democratic Party and a nonpartisan progressive group have separately attacked Green’s record as a doctor and questioned a campaign funding issue, the state Republican caucus released a television ad criticizing Barnes’ record in the state legislature (and other stuff).
…At the same time, Republican officials outside of the Green campaign are going on the attack against Barnes. A television ad that tied the Democrat to liberal positions on federal issues, including cap-and-trade legislation and the Affordable Care Act aired on local stations and was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday.
Republicans are faulting Democratic state Sen. Tim Barnes for spending $15,517 from his taxpayer-funded “constituent communications” account on two mailers this year, one in June and one in September, reports the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. “It’s pretty clear that constituent communications need to be done when the legislature is in session,” said Jordan Young, Senate Republican Caucus executive director.
“Saving all that money and using it during the campaign when his services are completed is wrong,” Young said. “Wouldn’t you want to know about a particular issue before you vote on it?”
Legislators are given an allowance for mailers for communications with constituents, but those mailers are prohibited during the 30 days before a primary or a general election.
In this case, the June mailer went out about a week before the cutoff, which Young said indicates Barnes was “flirting with that rule.”
But, he said, “whether it follows the rule or not doesn’t make it right. Sen. Barnes is using taxpayer resources to build up his name” and that’s not fair, he said, when “our candidate has to pay for it himself.”
On Nov. 6, Barnes faces Republican Mark Green for the District 22 seat, which includes Montgomery, Stewart and Houston counties. Young characterized it as the only “highly contested” state Senate race where the incumbent is a Democrat.
…Barnes responded that there’s nothing unusual or unethical about the mailers.
“I’m sure they would call it that, but if you look into when legislators mail these out, they do it during the session and after the session,” Barnes said.
“It is not only perfectly ethical, it is common practice and a vital and needed way to communicate with constituents.”
“A lot of these are summarizing what we did in the legislative session to get feedback. It gives us the opportunity to plan for the next session.”
…Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis called the accusation “unfounded criticism.”
“All legislative mail – from the content to the timing – is approved by the speaker’s office, therefore if they have an argument, they have to take it up with Speaker (Ron) Ramsey, who the last time I looked was a Republican,” Kyle said.
“And I guarantee he reads every one of those word for word.”
— Note: For more on the ‘constituent communications’ accounts — which are exploited on a bipartisan basis — see this story written with the primary pending and mostly focused on how incumbents — Republicans included — transferred money from their accounts to help colleagues with the mailers under question.
From the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle: The 178,768 people of Montgomery, Stewart and Houston counties will decide one of Tennessee’s most competitive races this November when they choose between incumbent state Sen. Tim Barnes and Dr. Mark Green for Senate District 22.
Barnes was elected to the Tennessee Senate in 2008 after he beat write-in candidate Rosalind Kurita. A legal battle fought by the Democratic Party made him the party’s nominee instead of Kurita, the incumbent.
Barnes has been practicing law for 27 years and maintains a legal practice in downtown Clarksville.
Green is president and CEO of Align MD, a hospital staffing company, and previously worked as an emergency room physician and as a flight surgeon for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Green served two deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. Both candidates sat down with The Leaf-Chronicle recently to lay out their positions on major issues facing the state Senate.
Full story HERE.
The gloves are off in the race for Tennessee Senate District 22, according to the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. In a direct mailer sent this week, Sen. Tim Barnes attacked Dr. Mark Green and his record with Gateway Medical Center.
The glossy, paid for by the Tennessee Democratic Party, claims that under Green’s management Gateway was the lowest-ranked hospital in the state and that Green was caught directing doctors to “cherry-pick” healthier patients to boost hospital profits.
But the claims in the mailer are based on out-of-date data and are not fair to the hospital, according to members of the hospital staff.
“He truly painted a picture that was incongruent with the current facts about Gateway Medical Center,” said William McGee, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Gateway.
The mailer cites data from a Consumer Reports article that claims Gateway was the lowest-rated hospital in the state and had a death rate higher than the national average.
But Gateway CEO Tim Puthoff said in a statement that the Consumer Reports article used old data that included only 37 of the 120 hospitals in Tennessee and Gateway’s mortality for August 2011 to July 2012 was in line with the national average.
In the statement Puthoff said he met with Barnes Friday and Barnes agreed not to mention Gateway in any further campaign communications.
By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former state Sen. Rosalind Kurita on Thursday lost a federal appeal of her ouster as the Democratic nominee in her 2008 bid for re-election to the Tennessee General Assembly.
In a brief ruling, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s refusal to reinstate Kurita to the ballot after Democratic officials declared her 19-vote primary win as “incurably uncertain.”
The legal team for Kurita’s primary opponent and successor, Clarksville attorney Tim Barnes, argued that there had been heavy Republican crossover voting and alleged that poll workers directed his supporters to vote in the wrong primary.
Democrats were angry with Kurita after casting a key vote in favor of Sen. Ron Ramsey in the Republican’s 2007 election as Senate speaker. Ramsey had subsequently named Kurita as Senate speaker pro tempore, the ceremonial No. 2 position in the upper chamber.
Dr. Mark Green – Republican hopeful for the District 22 state Senate seat currently held by Democrat Tim Barnes – fired an opening campaign shot at his presumed opponent Friday evening.
From the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle: Speaking to a dinner audience of almost 100 campaign supporters at the Hilton Garden Inn near Exit 4, Green didn’t mention Sen. Barnes by name, but said, “I won’t ride on the coattails of (state Rep.) Joe Pitts.”
Backed at the complimentary dinner by leading Tennessee Republicans including U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Green, who has lived in Clarksville for 10 years, officially launched his bid for the GOP nomination for Tennessee’s Senate. Earlier in the day, Blackburn and Ramsey had led other fundraising efforts for Green’s campaign.
Green is CEO of Align MD, a Clarksville-based health care company serving hospitals in five Southeastern states. He also founded Align MD Foundation, which provides physicians for humanitarian mission trips to Ethiopia and Cambodia. Green served in the Army as a ranger and as a special operations physician, participating in the capture of Saddam Hussein. He interviewed Hussein on the night of his capture.
In an evening event emceed by retired Gen. Hugh Smith, Green was hailed as a “true American hero” by Ramsey. Blackburn said Green joins the party platform focused on “jobs, the economy, and out-of-control government spending.”
“I am a warrior, and I am a fighter,” Green told his audience, “and I want to fight for this community.”
News release from state Sen. Tim Barnes:
NASHVILLE – A bill sponsored by State Senator Tim Barnes and State Representative Joe Pitts to protect renters of recreation vehicles from carbon monoxide poisoning passed both the House and Senate on Monday.
“This legislation comes too late for those who have lost their loved ones, but with the help of their family members, we can ensure that such a tragedy never happens again,” Barnes said.
Senate Bill 2357/House Bill 2734 requires all lease or rental recreational vehicles in Tennessee to have working carbon monoxide detectors. The bill was brought to the state legislature after a tragic incident in Clarksville last year in which five people were killed from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning during a charity event.
Police found the victims in an RV with a generator near a vent and all the windows and doors shut. All five had fatal amounts of carbon monoxide in their blood.
Christine and Ed Watson, whose daughter and husband were killed, came to Pitts and Barnes with the legislation. The bill requires all lease or rental agreements to contain as statement acknowledging that the vehicle is equipped with a working detector.
Under the bill, companies can be held liable for violating the requirement.
“The Watsons have worked tirelessly to educate both lawmakers and the public about the dangers of carbon monoxide and how to prevent such a terrible heartbreak from happening to other Tennesseans,” Pitts said. “In our eyes, Christine and Ed Watson are heroes.”
The legislation now goes to Governor Bill Haslam for his signature.
By Kristin M. Hall,Associated Press
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — Military spouses who leave their jobs because of the frequent moves required in the military would be eligible for unemployment benefits under proposed bill in Tennessee that has the support of the governor.
The bill sponsored by state Sen. Tim Barnes and state Rep. Joe Pitts of Clarksville passed the Senate on Thursday after Gov. Bill Haslam included $280,000 for the bill in his 2012-2013 fiscal year budget proposal. The House version has not yet been put to a vote.
With thousands of soldiers based at Fort Campbell, Ky., on the Tennessee line, the two Democratic lawmakers have spent months advocating for the bill and making visits to the installation to hear directly about the needs of military families.
“We realized that Tennessee was one of only 11 states that did not offer those unemployment benefits and being from the Fort Campbell/Clarksville area that was an embarrassment to me,” said Barnes this week.
Their efforts paid off when the Republican governor included the necessary funding that had previously been a sticking point.
CINCINNATI (AP) — A former Tennessee state senator has asked a federal appeals court to order a special election to give her a chance to reclaim a seat she lost after Democrats removed her as the party’s standard bearer.
Attorneys for Rosalind Kurita on Tuesday told the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that the Tennessee Democratic Party improperly placed Clarksville attorney Tim Barnes on the November 2008 ballot, even though Kurita bested him by 19 votes in the primary.
Attorneys for the Democratic Party and state of Tennessee told a three-judge panel that primaries are a function of the parties, not the state.
Democrats were angry with Kurita after she cast a key vote in favor of then-Sen. Ron Ramsey in the Republican’s election as Senate speaker in 2007.