Tag Archives: campaign ads

Cohen calls for no vote on Amendment 2

News release from Vote No on 2 campaign committee:
We are elated to announce the endorsement of Vote NO on 2! by Congressman Steve Cohen, D-Memphis.

Congressman Cohen cut a radio spot that will air in Memphis tomorrow, election day. In the spot the Congressman describes Amendment 2 as “a power grab.” He says media advertisements by the ‘Vote Yes’ organization that claim Amendment 2 protects your right to vote are “a pure lie.”

“We are delighted to have Congressman Cohen speak out against Amendment 2,” said state coordinator John Avery Emison. “There are a number of things wrong with Amendment 2, and its promotion by the
‘Vote Yes’ folks has been deliberately misleading.”

Critics decry ‘deceptive’ claim that Amendment 2 ‘protects our right to vote’

In robo calls and TV ads, proponents of Amendment 2 are using the line, “Yes on Two protects our right to vote for judges.” And some critics are calling foul, reports the Commercial Appeal.

That line used by the Yes on 2 campaign has prompted criticism by opponents — and even some supporters — of the amendment, who say it’s “political spin” or “deceptive” at best, or, at worst, “an absolute fabrication,” in the words of one opponent.

The amendment, which voters will decide Tuesday, deletes from the constitution these words: “The judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state,” and replaces them with these: “Judges of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court shall be appointed for a full term or to fill a vacancy by and at the discretion of the governor; shall be confirmed by the Legislature; and thereafter, shall be elected in a retention election by the qualified voters of the state….”

…The president of the Tennessee Farm Bureau, Lacy Upchurch, (uses the ‘protects our right to vote’ line) …. in a statewide TV ad by the Yes on 2 campaign… and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson says it does in recorded calls to the homes of Tennessee voters.

Vote No on 2 campaign treasurer Forrest Shoaf, a Nashville lawyer and conservative political activist, disagrees. “That’s an absolute fabrication,” he said. “In fact, it deprives us of the right to vote which was granted in the 1854 constitution. Retention elections are a fiction. In 43 years that there (have) been retention elections (in Tennessee), only one appellate judge has ever lost one.

John Crisp, spokesman for the Yes on 2 campaign, said that the phrase isn’t deceptive as an abbreviated version of a larger message used by the campaign in various other avenues.

…If the amendment is ratified, voters will be waiting up to four times longer — up to eight years — before they get their first direct vote on the appointed appellate judges than they do under the current system.

The language of the amendment is clear that the five Tennessee Supreme Court justices and the 12 judges on each the Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals “shall be appointed for a full term or to fill a vacancy by” the governor. A full judicial term in Tennessee is eight years.

Currently, vacancies in those judgeships are always filled by the governor, without legislative confirmation, but no more than two years lapse before voters get their first chance to retain or replace the judge.

A state attorney general’s opinion issued in 2013 says Amendment 2 is “unambiguous” on the ability of the governor to appoint an appellate judge for a full eight-year term and to fill vacancies, but opponents and supporters of the amendment disagree on when retention elections would occur for midterm appointees.

Some believe the governor’s appointee will be up for a vote at the next statewide August election. Others believe no vote will occur until the end of the term.

Herron laments ‘dark money’ in ‘smear campaigns’ against TN Democratic legislators

News release from Tennessee Democratic Party:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Washington, D.C.-based dark money groups calling themselves “Advance Tennessee” and “Tennessee Federation for Children” are pouring big money into a last-minute smear campaigns against Tennessee Democrats running for reelection to the State House.

“A handful of out-of-control millionaires wants to sling mud at Tennessee’s elected leaders while hiding behind a D.C. mail box. They refuse to say who they are or what they stand for. How slimy can you get?” said Roy Herron, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party. “This group has poured massive amounts of money into Tennessee legislative races in the last ten days and it won’t be clear for months, if ever, who paid for the ads.”

Advance Tennessee first reared its head in this year’s GOP primaries with more than $100,000 in negative TV ads against eight rightwing Republican incumbents who identified with the Tea Party, the notorious uber conservative group primarily funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers. Now, the group, in concert with the Tennessee GOP, is helping to target at least four Democrats: Rep. Bo Mitchell of western Davidson County, Rep. Darren Jernigan of eastern Davidson County, Rep. David Shepard who represents Dickson, Hickman and Maury Counties, and Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville.

“These groups shows a complete lack of consistency and coherence in either message or targets, which just goes to show you how cowardly and dishonest the attacks are. They’re just throwing mud at the wall and hoping something sticks,” said Herron.
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Rep. Bo Mitchell sues PAC for ‘false information’ in attack ad

News release from Tennessee Democratic Party:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Today, State Representative Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Federation for Children for disseminating false information about him.

The Tennessee Federation of Children is overwhelmingly funded by Washington, D.C.-based groups, has its own political action committee based in D.C., and wants to send public tax dollars to private schools. The Federation aired a TV ad alleging that Rep. Mitchell was involved in a Ponzi scheme while working at 1Point Solutions. In fact, Rep. Mitchell lost his job for being the whistleblower that brought down the Ponzi scheme.

“These outright lies are a desperate smear attempt by out-of-state special interests who want to defeat me so they can push through their radical, right-wing, anti-public schools agenda,” said Rep. Mitchell. “These libelous claims are the exact opposite of the truth, and I’m filing suit against the Federation for these outrageous attacks on my character.”

The suit, James R. “Bo” Mitchell v. The Tennessee Federation for Children, states that the claims made by the Tennessee Federation for Children were “categorically false”, and that the statements were made “with knowledge that they were false or reckless disregard for their truth or falsity amounting to malice.”

Tennessee Federation for Children’s out-of-state PAC has already targeted and taken out legislators who voted against vouchers, spending at least $75,000 earlier this year to defeat Rep. Dennis “Coach” Roach , R-Rutledge, in the August primary election.


· Legal documents cited by the Nashville Scene show that Representative Mitchell was terminated for whistleblowing against the Ponzi scheme being run by Mr. Barry Stokes:

“Further, it cannot be reasonably doubted that Bo’s termination was based in substantial part on Bo’s whistle-blowing with respect to illegal business practices. 1 Point does not properly fund its clients’ account and has caused numerous ‘bounced’ checks. Bo was rightfully concerned about 1 Point’s breach of duty to its clients and was terminated for it.”

· According to the latest campaign finance disclosures, the Tennessee Federation for Children’s D.C.-based political action committee has received at least $275,000 this cycle connected to the American Federation for Children (AFC), a D.C.-based pro-voucher group.

The Tennessee Federation for Children received:

o $125,000 directly from AFC

o $75,000 from Betsy DeVos, the founder of AFC

o $75,000 from William Oberndorf, the chairman emeritus of AFCote

Note/UPDATE: The state Republican Party promptly rose to the ad’s defense. News release below.
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Sherrell TV ad: I’m not Obama

News release from Lenda Sherrell campaign:
Lenda Sherrell, Democrat for Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District 4, has released a television ad to counter incumbent Congressman Scott DesJarlais’ misleading ad claiming to link Sherrell to President Barack Obama.

“Representative Scott DesJarlais would like to deceive voters into thinking that I represent President Obama. But the truth is I am Lenda Sherrell, not a career politician. And I’m running for Congress because many in our district are struggling. Like many Tennesseans, I did and continue to do my civic duty on issues people are concerned about, such as protecting Medicare and Social Security, access to healthcare, minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and veterans benefits,” said Sherrell. “Serving our community is neither liberal nor conservative. That’s what we do in Tennessee, when we see a need we come together and figure out how to help our neighbors.”

Years of community involvement shaped Sherrell’s grassroots campaign, which began in February. With the dedication of volunteers and supporters, Sherrell’s campaign focuses on direct outreach to voters to include their voices in coming up with solutions to address challenges facing the district.

“This is why Washington is broken, we have an incumbent Congressman claiming to be for the district when his voting record shows otherwise. He is attempting to distract voters with an ad to mask his lack of legislative support for the very people he supposedly represents.”

As a Congressman, DesJarlais voted:

against the minimum wage.
against measures to protect victims of domestic violence.
to reform Medicare into a voucher system and raise the retirement age to 70.
to block a 1.6 percent pay raise for our military in Afghanistan and then voted for retroactive pay for himself after failing to pass the budget on time.
to support cuts to Pell Grants, a federal student aid program for low-income students.
voted to protect the practice of outsourcing of American jobs.
voted to cut the budget for U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sherrell is a certified public accountant who built a 25-year career in the private sector as an auditor and controller balancing multi-million dollar budgets for educational and health care institutions.

Note: To view the ad, click HERE.

Democratic legislator uses DesJarlais to bash GOP opponent

From an Action Andy Sher report:
With Tennessee Democrats getting whopped upside the head by Republicans with images of President Barack Obama, a Democratic state legislator from Nashville has seized upon another figure to whack his GOP opponent.

That would be Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District.

“[Troy] Brewer took $60,000 from disgraced Congressman DesJarlais,” says the television ad from state Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, who faces Brewer, an accountant who handles the congressman’s campaign books, in the state House District 50 contest.

…The 30-second spot concludes with an image of Brewer hugging a framed photo of DesJarlais which is enscribed, “To Troy, XOXO, Love Scott.”

Note: To view the ad, click HERE.

Alexander goes positive with final TV ad of reelection campaign

News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander’s campaign:
NASHVILLE – Lamar Alexander’s campaign for re-election today announced the launch of a closing statewide TV ad, entitled “Together,” in which the senator tells voters he’s “seen what can happen when Tennesseans work together,” and says he’ll work to move the country in the right direction as part of a new Senate majority.

The ad, which starts airing today, begins, “I’ve seen what can happen when Tennesseans work together to create better schools, recruit auto jobs, balance budgets, and build the best highways with zero road debt.

“Trust me with your vote and I will put that kind of Tennessee common sense to work in a new majority in the United States Senate, and we can begin to fix our broken system and move our country in the right direction.”

Direct mail attack likening Democratic state rep to Lane Kiffin backfiring?

Going by News Sentinel reports, it appears that a direct mail attack on Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson didn’t go over all that well in some quarters. The American Federation for Children ad, similar to a state GOP attack on Johnson two years ago, likens the legislator to former UT football coach Lane Kiffin. The newspaper today has a story on the ad as well as a sports page column.

From Georgiana Vines’ story:
A political action committee supporting school vouchers has turned to an ad similar to one used two years ago by the Tennessee Republican Party to compare state Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, to former University of Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin.

This year’s ad by the Tennessee Federation for Children PAC said, among the comparisons, “Like Lane Kiffin, who made a lot of big promises to Tennesseans, Gloria Johnson went to Nashville claiming she was going to reform health care and create jobs. And like Lane Kiffin, Gloria Johnson didn’t live up to her word.”

Legendary former UT football coach Johnny Majors, who got the mailer as a resident of the district, said Tuesday it is false in every way.

“It is one of the most underhanded mailings I’ve ever seen,” he said. Majors supports Johnson in her campaign against Republican Eddie Smith in the Nov. 4 election.
… Johnson used a football term of her own in denouncing the ad.

“It’s a distraction, a Hail Mary pass, when a campaign is out of ideas,” she said, a reference to a long pass made in desperation with a slight chance of success.

The ad said Kiffin was lured away by special interest money and that Johnson has accepted more than $100,000 in special interest money.

“It is quite ironic that they are accusing me of that (funding from PACS) when their (Tennessee Federation for Children PAC) funding is out of Washington, D.C. I understand why they want me to lose. They want to take on public dollars,” she said.
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