Tag Archives: Brian Kelsey

Kustoff wins 8th District GOP nomination

Former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff defeated 12 opponents to capture the Republican primary for Tennessee’s 8th Congressional district Thursday night, all but guaranteeing that he will go to Washington to succeed Stephen Fincher in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Further from the Commercial Appeal:

With all 15 of the 8th District’s counties reporting, Kustoff had 27 percent of the vote outdistancing the other candidates…. He’s expected to easily win the Nov. 8 general election in the heavily Republican district.

“I’m very proud of the campaign that we ran and the volunteers all across the 15 counties in the district. It’s very humbling,” Kustoff said in a brief interview late Thursday. “And I’m going to work hard to make sure that I’m the congressman for the 8th District come November.” Continue reading

Rick Santorum campaigns for Kelsey

Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who won Tennessee’s Republican presidential primary in 2012, campaigned for state Sen. Brian Kelsey in the 8th Congressional District GOP primary race Tuesday.He made stops in Jackson, Fayette County and Collierville.

This comes a week after former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the Tennessee GOP presidential nomination in 2008, campaigned in the district for David Kustoff, a former U.S. attorney who is another of the 13 candidates seeking the GOP nomination in Thursday’s election.

From the Jackson Sun:

Santorum used his speech to pump Kelsey’s record and said West Tennessee’s conservative values are being criticized as antiquated and bigoted. He said unlike Donald Trump’s different style, the 8th District should be represented by someone trustworthy.

“You have to have people who go to Washington, D.C., that you know you can trust who will stand up to that,” Santorum said. “So I understand fresh and new and shake things up, but Ronald Reagan always said, ‘Trust but verify.’ And if you’ve got someone with a record you can verify, that’s a pretty good place to start.

“What I want, if I’m voting for Congress, is someone I can trust,” he said. “So you’ve got a decision to make, and I just hope you take it seriously. This isn’t a time to get mad. It’s a time to get focused. Our country is in trouble.”

“I think if we can get proven conservatives up there in Washington, whether we have a President Trump, like we all hope for, or a President Clinton, then we will really have a Congress who can hold its ground,” Kelsey said. “And not only hold our ground, but we’ve got to start moving the ball down the field forward.”

Legislators helping Kelsey, other colleagues, in campaign financing

Campaign finance disclosures filed last week show state legislators facing challengers in the August Republican primary — but most of all Sen. Brian Kelsey, who is running for Congress — got considerable financial help from their colleagues.

Kelsey has now reported donations from 22 fellow senators and 26 current or former state representatives — all Republicans — in his quest become the fourth state senator to win a Tennessee congressional seat, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Collectively, the legislators have given “Kelsey for Congress (KFC)” more than $40,000 — most at $1,000 each, though a couple more and several less — and helped him to a fundraising lead among the 13 candidates seeking the GOP nomination in the 8th Congressional District. Kelsey of Germantown reported contributions of a little more than $700,000 as of July 1, a lead in fundraising, though George Flinn, a multimillionaire perennial candidate form Memphis who has loaned his campaign $2.7 million, is far ahead in spending.

Kelsey’s reported legislator contributions include $2,000 from embattled state Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, who last week suspended his own re-election campaign after a state attorney general’s report accused him of inappropriate interactions with sexual overtones involving 22 women.

The disclosures also show at least seven donations from lobbyists at the state Legislature. Tennessee law forbids direct donations to legislative candidates by lobbyists, though they frequently form — or manage — political action committees to make the contributions to avoid the law. And that law doesn’t apply when a legislator runs for Congress.

Another interesting Kelsey donor is Tom Lawless of Nashville, who serves as a board member of the state Registry of Election Finance, the panel that enforces state campaign finance law.

There’s further support for Kelsey from the judicial branch. State Supreme Court Justice Holly Kirby chipped in to his campaign, along with Bill Young, who serves as top aide to Attorney General Herbert Slatery and who is currently under consideration for appointment to a Davidson County judge position by Gov. Bill Haslam. Continue reading

Anti-abortion group backs Kelsey in 8th Congressional District

News release from Tennessee Right to Life
Leaders of Tennessee Right to Life announced their support today for Brian Kelsey in the Republican primary race for the state’s 8th Congressional district. Characterized as a key leader in efforts to promote Right to Life legislative priorities, the organization said that demonstrated leadership made the difference in favor of endorsing Kelsey.

As a leading pro-life legislator, Brian Kelsey has used his position and background in the law to draft and defend policies that protect vulnerable unborn children. “Brian Kelsey has been willing to exert the necessary influence and political capital to ensure that Tennessee’s public policies consistently affirm the dignity of every human life,” said Stacy Dunn, Vice-President of Tennessee Right to Life.

“From early days in the legislative struggle to place pro-life Amendment 1 on the ballot, Brian Kelsey was at the table and helping to draft the strongest possible language to restore common-sense protections” said Brian Harris, President of Tennessee Right to Life.

“Brian Kelsey is a tested pro-life leader and has earned our confidence with his demonstrated ability to move forward a compassionate, protective pro-life agenda,” said Harris. “Tennessee Right to Life urges the election of Brian Kelsey in order to continue giving voice to the pro-life views and values of West Tennesseans.”

Kelsey leads 8th District fundraising on first report

Seven of the 13 candidates seeking the Republican nomination to the 8th Congressional seat have filed their first financial disclosures, reports the Jackson Sun. State Sen. Brian Kelsey leads in money collections with former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff as runnerup. Multi-millionaire perennial candidate George Flinn, on the other hand, leads in spending.

Here’s the list:

Brian Kelsey, R, – $433,605 raised, $13,161.47 spent

David Kustoff, R, – $319,682 raised, $3,405.66 spent

Mark Luttrell, R, – $144,570 raised, $1,575.87 spent

Brad Greer, R, – $103,712.86 raised, $3,182.21 spent

George Flinn, R, – $74 raised, $212,056.23 spent

David Maldonado, R, – $62 raised, $1,743.66 spent

James Hart, I, – $0.00 raised, $38.85 spent

TN legislature deemed most conservative in nation

The American Conservative Union Saturday honored the Tennessee General Assembly as the most conservative legislature in the country at the group’s Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in National Harbor, Md., reports Michael Collins.

State Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, who is running for the 8th Congressional District seat, and state Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, accepted the award.

This is the first year the organization has given the award.

“I’m proud of our record as the most conservative state in America,” Kelsey said.

“We’ve balanced our budget,” Kelsey said. “We’ve stopped Obamacare Medicaid expansion. We’ve cut taxes repeatedly. We’ve passed a constitutional amendment to forever ban the state income tax. This is a record we should be proud of, and I appreciate the American Conservative Union has recognized that success.”

Note: The article focuses on a CPAC speech by Senate Judiciary Chairman Kelsey on what the Tennessee General Assembly is doing to revise its public safety laws. Lawmakers are considering a number of changes, including increasing the penalties for those convicted of domestic violence, aggravated burglary or drug trafficking.

Previous post on the group’s 2015 ratings of Tennessee legislators is HERE.

Kelsey on slavery-tainted bill: ‘I’m not going to pursue it’

A Republican lawmaker said today he has withdrawn a bill recognizing the Association of Classical and Christian Schools as a church-school accrediting body after learning the group’s founder has defended Southern slavery as “a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence,” reports the Times-Free Press.

“We moved it back to the Calendar Committee,” Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, said in a brief interview as he left the Senate chamber. “I’m not going to pursue it this year.”

Asked whether the bill was dead after he looked into assertions by Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, regarding past writings of Doug Wilson, founder of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, Kesley said, “yeah, I never heard of him.”

Kelsey’s bill sought to add the Association of Classical and Christian Schools to the state’s list of accrediting organizations for church-related schools. The association says the concerns raised by Yarbro are mistaken.

UPDATE/NOTE: News release from the association seeking accreditation, denying the slavery-related contentions, is below.
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Mancini bashes Kelsey bill; he shelves it

News release/statement from Tennessee Democratic Party
Nashville, Tenn.(February 23, 2016)- “Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini today called on state Sen. Brian Kelsey to withdraw his legislation that extends accreditation authority to an organization founded by a defender of slavery.

“Doug Wilson has espoused the most repulsive beliefs imaginable, defending slavery, proposing to exile people who are gay and lesbian and killing people for infidelity,” Mancini said. “It is unconscionable that Sen. Kelsey would bring legislation to extend accrediting authority to an organization he founded and still serves. The hate he spreads has no place in our schools, and I am calling on Sen. Kelsey to withdraw the bill.”

From The Tennessean:

Kelsey’s bill, SB1792, would add the Association of Classical and Christian Schools to the state’s list of accredited organizations for church-related schools. The association has 15 schools in Tennessee, according to the association’s website.

…Wilson is an “ex officio” member of the association’s board of directors.

State legislators discussed the bill on the Senate floor Monday. Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, said he was concerned about Wilson. Yarbro said Wilson co-authored a paper that said slavery existed in the South based upon mutual affection and confidence.

“I am a little worried … that we are giving accreditation authority to the sort of the extreme of the extreme in this instance,” Yarbro said.

“I am not aware of those issues at all,” Kelsey said at Monday’s Senate floor session. Kelsey delayed the bill to Wednesday’s Senate floor session.
UPDATE: When it came up Wednesday, Kelsey sent the bill back to the Senate Calendar Committee rather than bring it to a vote.

See also Jeff Woods. An excerpt:
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Wilson has written that slavery in the South was a “life of plenty.” In a booklet titled Southern Slavery, As it Was, he wrote: “Slavery as it existed in the South … was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence. … There has never been a multiracial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world.”

He told Christianity Today that he supports “exile [of] some homosexuals, depending on the circumstances and the age of the victim.” He added, “There are circumstances where I’d be in favor of execution for adultery.” Cursing one’s parents is likewise “deserving of punishment by death.”

More on Wilson: He has said a rapist should be able to make his victim his bride by paying her father. Woman “was created to be dependent and responsive to a man,” Wilson wrote, adding that feminists “rob women of their beauty in submission.”

Senate committee OKs campus guns-in-parking-lots bill

A state Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that would prohibit state colleges and universities from taking “any adverse or disciplinary action” against employees or students with handgun-carry permits for transporting or storing guns in their vehicles on an institution’s campus, reports the News Sentinel.

The Senate Judiciary Committee deferred action on three other gun bills, at their sponsors’ requests, that were also scheduled for review Tuesday.

…Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, sponsor of the bill that won the committee’s approval, said his bill is intended to enforce provisions of the guns-in-parking-lots law approved two years ago. That law allows handgun-carry permit holders to keep their guns in their locked vehicles on their public and private employers’ parking lots, even if it is against the employers’ policies. That act did not explicitly cite public college and university campuses.

Kelsey’s Senate Bill 1991 adds a new provision to state law governing public colleges and universities declaring: “No public postsecondary institution shall take any adverse or disciplinary action against an employee or student of the postsecondary institution for such person’s transportation and storage of a firearm or firearm ammunition in compliance with (the guns-in-parking-lots act) while on or using a parking area located on property owned, used, or operated by the postsecondary institution.”

Five Republicans enter 8th District congressional campaign

Within hours after U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher announced he won’t seek reelection to the 8th Congressional District seat, five prominent West Tennessee Republicans announced they would go for it, reports Michael Collins.

They are, so far: state Sen. Brian Kelsey, former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff, Memphis radiologist George Flinn, Shelby County Register of Deeds Tom Leatherwood and Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar.

Roy Herron, former state senator and Tennessee Democratic Party chairman, who lost to Fincher in 2010, says he’s thinking about a run on the Democratic side.

“Yes, I’m in,” Kelsey announced on Twitter, complete with a logo that declared “Kelsey for Congress.”

In an interview, Kelsey, who has served as state senator for the past nine years and was in the state House for five years before that, said he is running because he wants to shake up Washington.

“I think the people of the 8th District really want someone who’s going to go to Washington to shake things up, and I think I have a solid record of having done that in Nashville and of accomplishing things in Nashville,” he said.
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