Tag Archives: campaign ads

Corker hosts TN fundraisers for out-of-state Republicans

Fretting over the possibility of U.S. Senate Republicans losing their majority in Washington, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker is sponsoring two political fundraisers for embattled out-of-state incumbents, reports the Times-Free Press.

Corker plans to host an event for Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., on Sept. 23 at his Chattanooga home, according to an email sent to potential donors by the Tennessee lawmaker’s fundraiser, Kim Kaegi.

And Corker has enlisted Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to allow another fundraiser to take place on Sept. 26 at the governor’s mansion here in Nashville (to benefit Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.)

…Tickets for “hosts” at each of the noon-time luncheon events are $2,700, while participants pay $1,000 per ticket. The price tag is $5,400 for couples.

“As we enter the last 67 days before the November election,” Kaegi’s email says, “the importance of maintaining a Senate Majority has become a central focus. Senator Corker has committed to hosting two colleagues later this month in TN: Kelly Ayotte at his home in Chattanooga and Marco Rubio at the Executive Residence in Nashville.

“Whether or not you can attend in person, we hope you will consider participating with a financial gift,” Kaegi’s note continues. “Attendance starting at $1,000. The individual giving limit for each is $2,700 per person/$5,400 per couple. Any amount is welcome. Please send checks made payable to each candidate to me at the address below, and we will forward to the campaigns with a note from Senator Corker. Thank you and have a great Labor Day Weekend. – Kim.”

Kaegi also says others “to consider supporting” include U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., with a “Nashville event date pending,” as well as Republican Joe Heck, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

Kaegi is the go-to fundraiser for top Tennessee Republican officeholders with a roster of clients including Corker, Haslam and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

Rep. Todd’s lawyer: Arrest was a political stunt

State Rep. Curry Todd pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning in Shelby County General Sessions Court to a misdemeanor charge of stealing an opponent’s campaign signs, reports the Commercial Appeal. His next court date is Aug. 22.

Todd referred questions to his attorney, Ted Hansom, who said the handling of Todd’s arrest this week appeared to be a calculated stunt to embarrass him on the eve of an election.

“Let’s just say I’m very disappointed in certain aspects of the system,” Hansom said. “I’d prefer we’d keep the law the law and politics, politics.”

A Sheriff’s spokesman said Tuesday Todd was given several chances to talk to investigators about the sign theft. When he didn’t, it led to Todd’s arrest at his home.

Hansom disputed that account.

“I don’t know who they told,” he said. “They didn’t tell Curry Todd, and they didn’t tell me.”

He said that after news reports of the sign theft broke last month, he reached out to investigators but they didn’t respond.

He questioned why Todd was given a $100 bond, rather than being released without bond. The opponent who filed the complaint, Mark Lovell, stepped forward and paid the bond. Hansom said that’s one of a series of events so improbable that they couldn’t be a coincidence.

On uncoordinated Stand for Children spending

Stand for Children’s two political action committees that are spending heavily in Tennessee campaigns this summer – more than $700,000 in the case of an independent expenditure group and about $130,000 in direct donations – tell the Nashville Scene’s Steve Cavendish they don’t coordinate efforts.

Excerpt from the article, entitled “Stop the Dark Money Now:”

So, I called Dan O’Donnell, the Nashville director for the organization, and asked him about the money (in particular a mailer attacking Nashville School Board incumbent Will Pinkston).

“I found out about that when you did,” he said, then went through an explanation. Stand for Children Tennessee PAC, which he works for, is completely separate from the Stand for Children Tennessee Independent Expenditure Committee. Even though O’Donnell’s PAC gave huge donations directly to the campaigns for Thom Druffel, Miranda Christy, Jackson Miller and Jane Grimes Meneely, there was absolutely no coordination between that money and the tens of thousands of dollars spent by a committee controlled by the national office of the same organization. An organization that shares national leadership. And money. And whose address on 18th Avenue South is exactly the same. And spent money on exactly the same candidates.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? That’s because it is.

I reached out to Krista Spurgin, who was responsible for the spending, which in the case of every candidate but Jackson Miller represented more money than the candidates were able to raise on their own.

“My current title is National Campaigns Director, but I am concurrently serving as the Stand for Children Tennessee IEC Chair,” Spurgin said. So a political operative in Denver, who shares the same leadership as the locals here in Tennessee, is directing hundreds of thousands of dollars into local school board races from a slush fund of charter advocates in Oregon.

If you don’t think this is an erosion of democracy, you’re not thinking about it hard enough. The current campaign finance system, which lets so-called social welfare organizations launder unlimited money from rich interests — in this case money from Walmart and Microsoft billionaires — into local races, is asinine. They are picking candidates who support their worldview and turning on a firehose of attack ads, direct mail and digital marketing.

Note: Previous related post HERE.

Direct mail attack ad in TN legislative race wins national award

News release from Gregory Gleaves, Direct Edge Campaigns:
NASHVILLE – At this year’s American Association of Political Consultants 2015 Annual Pollie Awards & Conference, Direct Edge Campaigns took home a POLLIE award for the “Best Use of Negative / Contrast” direct mail piece for a Republican State Legislative campaign.

Television advertisements can easily receive viral recognition and it is rare for a mailer to command that level of prestige. But one mail piece called “Kiffin,” which was designed by Tennessee-based Direct Edge Campaigns, received nationwide recognition from the USA Today, ESPN, and FOX Sports, amongst numerous local mentions, making it one of the most well-known direct mail pieces in recent history. The piece was designed for the Tennessee Federation for Children PAC.

“At Direct Edge, we continue to push the envelope for effectiveness and creativity, but most importantly: we win,” said Gregory Gleaves, founder of Direct Edge Campaigns. “We were honored to receive three accolades at this year’s Pollie Awards, but the “Kiffin” award was certainly an exclamation point for a very successful political cycle for our clients. As we look towards the 2016 cycle, we are excited to implement innovate and creative campaigns to elect the next generation of conservative leaders across the country.”

The AAPC announced this year’s winners at the 2015 Annual Pollie Awards & Conference on March 19 in New Orleans, LA. The Pollie Awards (Pollies) are bipartisan honors awarded annually by the AAPC to members of the political advertising and communications industry who have demonstrated superior work on behalf of their candidates and causes. A blind jury of their peers selects AAPC award winners. Esquire magazine has dubbed the Pollies as “…the Oscars of political advertising.”

Direct Edge Campaigns started in 2013 with the goal of helping conservative candidates spread their message of change and prosperity. The firm has helped more than 180 candidates reach potential voters across the Southeast with more than 4 million pieces of mail. For more information about Direct Edge, please visit www.DirectEdge.Gop

Note: The piece was an independent expenditure used to attack former state Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, defeated by Rep. Eddie Smith, R-Knoxville. Post at the time, HERE, indicates that it didn’t go over so well at the local level…. but, well, there are often differences of opinion.

The full list of POLLIE awards is HERE. A copy of the Lane Kiffin ad may be viewed by clicking on this link: kiffinmailer

Radio ad contends Kelsey is ‘selling out veterans’ in opposing Insure TN

A group called Heartland Accountability Project is criticizing state Sen. Brian Kelsey for his opposition to Insure Tennessee in a radio ad being aired on Nashville and Memphis stations, according to a spokesman who declined to give details about the group.

The ad text says Germantown Republican Kelsey is “selling out military veterans and their families” who would gain health care coverage through Insure Tennessee.

Here’s the text:

In combat, Americans who served our country have a simple code.

We don’t leave anyone behind.

But, Senator Brian Kelsey is selling out military veterans and their families.

35,000 veterans who do not get benefits from the VA … Kelsey will leave them behind.

20,000 family members of military veterans.

Brian Kelsey says he’ll leave them behind as well.

Kelsey is caving in to pressure from an out of state interest group that doesn’t care about Tennessee.

Kelsey is turning his back on job creation and a fiscally responsible plan that Governor Haslam negotiated with the federal government.

Kelsey supports sending billions of Tennessee tax dollars to liberal states like California and New York.

Brian Kelsey. Caving in to interest group pressure. Against job creation.

Leaving our veterans … behind.


Audio of the ad is HERE.

Note: A reader points out a link indicating that Heartland Accountability Project was incorporated last year in Virginia.

Beacon Center has radio ad attacking Insure Tennessee (and it’s criticized)

News release from Beacon Center of Tennessee:
The Beacon Center of Tennessee today launched a radio ad ahead of the legislative debate over a Medicaid expansion. Amid massive spending by expansion proponents—led by the hospitals that will benefit from the expansion—state lawmakers will convene next Monday to vote on Gov. Haslam’s proposed expansion of Medicaid to more than 200,000 able-bodied adults.

The 60-second ad, titled “That’s Just Not Fair,” features a discussion between a senior citizen and her daughter about the proposed Medicaid expansion. It is running on radio stations in the Knoxville media market. You can listen to the full ad here.

“As lawmakers consider expanding Medicaid in our state under Obamacare, it’s important to realize how we got here, and what the consequences of that decision will be,” said Beacon CEO Justin Owen. “Ultimately, Congress made cuts to Medicare to fund other parts of Obamacare, including the expansion of Medicaid in the states. As the ad notes, that’s just not fair to our seniors.”

Here is the full text of the one-minute radio spot, “That’s Just Not Fair”:

Mom: Hey Amy, I heard state lawmakers will be voting to expand Medicaid here soon. What’s that all about?
Amy: It would mean giving government health insurance to more than 200,000 able-bodied Tennesseans under Obamacare.
Mom: Well, even if they’re able-bodied, it’s free federal money so what’s the big deal?
Amy: There’s no such thing as a free lunch, mom. In fact, the Medicaid expansion will be paid in part by $716 billion in cuts to seniors’ Medicare benefits.
Mom: To give health insurance to able-bodied adults?
Amy: You got it.
Mom: If they’re able-bodied, they can get a job…I can’t. And they want me to pay for them? That’s just not fair.
Amy: Well, that’s why it’s important for our state lawmakers to say no to Obama’s Medicaid expansion.
Mom: I agree. Don’t make seniors pay for more Obamacare in Tennessee. That’s just not fair.
To learn more about how a Medicaid expansion will impact your family, visit www.BeaconTN.org. That’s BeaconTN.org.


UPDATE/NOTE: Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee, which backs Haslam’s Insure Tennessee plan and is running radio ads in support, sends this email response to the Beacon ad:

“For those opposed Insure Tennessee, the only line of attack is to try to make a link to Obamacare. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Gov. Bill Haslam has proposed a plan to improve health care for the working poor in Tennessee – more than 60 percent of those eligible for Insure Tennessee go to work at a job every day. Insure Tennessee does not reduce Medicare benefits for seniors.

“It is time for a down home, Tennessee approach to health care reform – market-based solutions that provide health insurance to Tennesseans and inject new revenues into our state economy.”

Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee

Brooks in radio ad crossfire over Insure TN

A group supporting Gov. Bill Haslam in his efforts to win legislative approval of a modified Medicaid expansion plan is defending state Rep. Kevin Brooks in radio ads after the Bradley County Republican was attacked for supporting the proposal by a group opposing the governor’s efforts.

The radio ads both declare dislike of Obamacare, the increasingly popular name for the Affordable Care Act that generally has been unpopular in polling of Tennesseans.

The difference is that Americans for Prosperity, opposing Haslam’s “Insure Tennessee” proposal, says the governor’s program amounts to backing the Obamacare “disaster.” Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee, supporting the governor’s proposal, says that Haslam is “standing up against Obamacare.”

The Brooks-focused ads echo contentions in statewide radio and direct mail advertising by both groups and the general lobbying of Republican state legislators in advance of the special legislative session on whether to adopt Insure Tennessee. The session starts Feb. 2.

Brooks was the first legislator to be individually targeted for criticism by AFP. A spokeswoman for the group indicated that other Republican legislators supporting Haslam may soon get similar treatment.
Continue reading

Casada bashes AFP for bashing Brooks; AFP indicates more targeting may come

Statement from House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada distributed to media, responding to Americans for Prosperity radio ads (Previous post HERE) attacking Rep. Kevin Brooks for supporting Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Insure Tennessee” proposal:

“While I wholeheartedly agree with American for Prosperity’s core principles and am an opponent of expanding Medicaid in Tennessee, the attack ads in districts across the state paid for by AFP are inaccurate, ineffective, and only hurts their reputation within the Tennessee General Assembly.

Americans for Prosperity should be spending their time opposing liberal lawmakers who advocate for the tax-and-spend policies of Barack Obama, not dedicated individuals like Representative Kevin Brooks and the other conservative members of our Republican Caucus who have chosen to seek additional input before making a decision on behalf of their constituents.

By jumping the gun and needlessly going after members of the Republican Caucus, AFP does more harm than good in promoting their cause.

It saddens me to see AFP hiding behind the curtain and destroying their own credentials through dishonest scare tactics instead of accepting a seat at the table and discussing this important issue face-to-face.”

UPDATE/Note: AFP-Tennessee sent this response to a request for comment on Casada’s statement:

AFP-TN State Director, Andrew Ogles stated: “We appreciate caucus Chairman Glen Casada taking a stand against Insure Tennessee because it is in fact Obamacare. However, AFP as a non-partisan organization will continue to hold members accountable regardless of their political affiliation for promises they made to their constituents.”

Ogles continued, “you can put a pretty wrapper on it but, Insure Tennessee is still Obamacare. If you are supporting Insure Tennessee or pressuring other members to do so, you are supporting Obamacare. We will continue to educate Tennesseans to the truth.”.

The inquiry to AFP also asked whether other individual legislators would be targeted. “We shall see,” said spokeswoman Tori Venable in replying.

Rep. Brooks a special target in AFP radio ad campaign against Insure Tennessee

A new 60-second radio ad from the Tennessee chapter of the conservative Americans for Prosperity attacks state Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, for supporting Gov. Bill Haslam’s ‘Insure Tennessee’ proposal, reports the Chattanooga TFP. It accuses the House assistant state majority leader of “betraying” a promise to oppose “Obamacare.”

The ad cites Brooks’ support last year of the Stop Obamacare Act and says it was aimed at preventing “Obamacare from destroying Tennessee’s budget.

“But now,” the ad says, “Brooks is urging fellow legislators to vote for Obamacare. Kevin Brooks promised to fight against Obamacare. Now he’s fighting for it. Why is Kevin Brooks betraying us?”

AFP-Tennessee Executive Director Andrew Ogles said in an interview Thursday the group is running the ad because Brooks “is out there working to get votes so we just feel his constituents should know about it.”

Brooks said he’s surprised by the attack, which is airing in his home town.

“I really haven’t had enough time” to decide whether he’s backing fellow Republican Haslam’s proposal, Brooks said. “That’s what we’re setting aside the special session to actually have these discussions, which is why I’m surprised that anyone would take a stance or make a statement in the press about my decision which has yet to even be announced.”

Brooks said what he has stated are “four very simple things. The current plan is Tennessee unique. It is Tennessee specific. It has no Tennessee tax dollars and the Tennessee Hospital Association has agreed to pay for any additional costs. And I guess that’s what they’re saying I’m trying to get people to vote for it.”

…AFP-Tennessee is also airing a more general radio ad attacking Haslam’s plan in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis media markets as well as select other markets, Ogles said.

That ad doesn’t mention anyone by name. It says among other things that “Obamacare has been a disaster. Expanding Obamacare in Tennessee will be the same.”

The spot singling out Brooks, narrated by former conservative talk radio host Steve Gill, is the only one mentioning any legislator by name, Ogles said.

TN political ad count for 2014 elections: 23,000 costing $16.8M

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Political and issue campaigns ran nearly 23,000 television ads in Tennessee to try to sway voters on races including the U.S. Senate and constitutional amendments on abortion and judges.

According to the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity, the ads cost a total of $16.8 million. Spending was heaviest on the constitutional amendments, with $3.8 million going toward unsuccessful efforts to defeat the measure to give lawmakers more power to regulate abortions in the state. Supporters spent $2 million.

The Senate race attracted $4.8 million in TV spending, while $5.1 million went into state-level races.

The Center for Public Integrity reviewed data about political advertising on broadcast television and used research from Kantar Media/CMAG, which tracks political advertising and offers a widely accepted estimate of the money spent to air each spot.

Note: The listing of Tennessee’s state-level campaign ads (governor, legislature, constitutional amendments) is HERE.

The a breakdown of U.S. Senate campaign ads is HERE (TN is No. 20 in the nation).

The Center’s listings do not include campaigns for U.S. House seats.