U.S. Senate candidate Brenda Lenard said Wednesday that she has been urged to leave the race and endorse another of incumbent Sen. Bob Corker’s opponents in the Republican primary because of a bad check conviction and bankruptcies in her background.
Lenard, a Tea Party activist and single mother working on a doctorate in political science at the University of Tennessee, said she will “absolutely not” do so and believes that her life experiences – including the 1990s financial problems – make her a better person and a better candidate.
“There is not one thing in my past or even now that I’m ashamed of,” said Lenard, 45, of Sweetwater. “Life is tough and sometimes you have to roll with the punches.”
Sen. Bob Corker’s campaign is all dressed up with nowhere to go. The Tennessee Republican had raised $12.5 million to fund his re-election bid by the end of March, reports The Tennessean. Only one other senator running for re-election this year raised more, according to a Tennessean Washington Bureau analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
So far, at least, Corker doesn’t have much of a race to spend it on. Other top-grossing senators have clear reasons to aggressively raise money. Some, such as Democratic Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey — who has outraised Corker by $1.1 million — or Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, live in states with expensive media markets.
Others, such as Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio or Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, are preparing for tough re-election challenges.
Running a campaign in Tennessee, however, is relatively inexpensive, and Corker has no viable competitors. His nearest challenger, Republican Brenda Shivon Lenard, had brought in just $58,346 by the end of March. His closest Democratic competitor, Larry Crim, had raised $6,200.
(Note: Corker put $3 million of his own money into his 2006 campaign, which he narrowly won over Democrat Harold Ford Jr. after a combative Republican primary. His total spending in that race was about $11 million.)
State Rep. Brenda Gilmore says she’ll propose legislation to repeal a law enacted during the last legislative session that overrode a Nashville city ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation by businesses that contract with Nashville city government, reports The Tennessean. The sponsor of the override bill, Rep. Glen Casada, says that’s not going to happen. The Nashville Democrat will join state and local gay rights activists and Metro Council members today to introduce legislation that she hopes will restore local rights to ban discrimination, even if those laws are stricter than the state’s.
Local officials are still fuming over the state legislature’s decision to push through a law that invalidated a local regulation that banned city contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“It was Metro Council and Davidson County’s wishes that people who do business with Metro government would have the same values and honor their commitments not to discriminate against anyone, and I think my colleagues should recognize that,” Gilmore said. “And just as they don’t want federal government interfering in state government, we shouldn’t interfere with our local government.”
….It remains to be seen whether Gilmore’s proposal has a chance in a Republican-dominated General Assembly that nullified the Metro law less than six months ago. Casada, at least, thinks not.
“I don’t think they’re going to give that bill a second glance,” he said. “Thousand and thousand and thousands of bills get introduced each legislative session, and I’ll remind you that HB 600 passed on bipartisan support. … (Tennessee lawmakers) understand the importance of having a uniform code of conduct for business in these difficult economic times.”
But the new bill’s supporters hope to at least start a dialogue on the issue of gay rights and local control.
As state and local governments struggle to make ends meet and regularly cut programs and services, a handful of Middle Tennessee elected officials and candidates for office haven’t paid their Metro property taxes in the four months since they came due, reports The Tennessean. A Tennessean survey of property tax records shows two state legislators who represent Nashville, as well as one Davidson County judge and four Metro Council candidates, hadn’t paid their taxes as of Wednesday.
… The delinquent owners include two longtime state lawmakers who previously served on the Metro Council
Sen. Thelma Harper, first elected to the Senate in 1988, owed $1,199.35 on a Jefferson Street building she and her husband bought for $8,000 in 1989, according to property records. Built about 70 years ago, the building was appraised by the city for $72,600 in 2009.
Colby Sledge, press secretary for the Senate Democratic Caucus, said Harper’s husband intended to pay the bill in February but “quite frankly, it just slipped his mind,” he said.
“Rep. Brenda Gilmore, serving her third term in the state House of Representatives, and her husband, Harry, owe $1,081.03 on their Bordeaux home. Gilmore said the couple is working to pay the bill.
“We plan to pay it before the summer is over,” she said. “We just don’t have the money.”
Another elected official, Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Carol Soloman, owed $1,606.26 each on three rental units she owns in Madison under the business name Soloman Rentals. The address listed for Soloman on Metro property records for each unit is “604 Metro Courthouse,” her office chambers.