Former state Sen. Roy Herron said Friday that he’s running for chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, joining a crowded field of candidates looking for the chance to steer the party onto more solid footing in the state, reports Michael Cass Herron, who did not seek re-election to the Senate in November, said he decided to jump into the chairmanship race after a family member’s health issue was resolved late last week. He said he didn’t think it was too late to win this election, which the state party’s 72 executive committee members will decide on Jan. 26.
“It’s clear no one has a majority,” he told The Tennessean. “If I thought the election was over, I wouldn’t be getting in the race.”
…He joins at least four other candidates for the state party’s chairmanship: Jane Hampton Bowen, the political liaison for a Chattanooga labor group; Dave Garrison, a Nashville lawyer and the party’s current treasurer; Wade Munday, a Nashville nonprofit executive who once served as the party’s spokesman, and Ben Smith, a Nashville lawyer who advised Jason Powell in his successful run for the state legislature this year.
State Rep. Sherry Jones, who considered running, told The Tennessean earlier Friday that she probably wouldn’t seek the position. Jones said she has “too much going on” and that she doesn’t think a woman can win the post right now.
Rep. Mike Turner was reelected chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Wednesday, defeating an opponent who had promised to be less caustic in criticizing Republicans.
Turner was challenged by Rep. Johnny Shaw of Boliver, who told colleagues “I think the world of Mike as a friend, but I just don’t think he has the leadership ability.”
Shaw, who would have been the first black elected as caucus chairman had he won, said he didn’t think the Democratic caucus “has been as inclusive as it should be” but added, “Above all, I think we need a leader who can be calm, cool and collected.”
Earlier, Shaw said Turner had been too insulting to Republicans on occasion.
Turner does have a reputation for colorful and sometimes confrontational commentary. State GOP Chairman Chris Devaney, for example, has twice demanded an apology from Turner – never received – for saying that racism as a factor in Republican opposition to President Barack Obama.
“You understand that if a guy got a gun on you, why you going to cuss him out? ” said Shaw. “That’s kind of an elementary phrase, but we’ve got to find a way to work with people even if they disagree with us and even if we don’t get what we want.”
Turner said in a brief speech that “we have tried to be more inclusive” in the caucus and contended House Democrats had been successful in the November elections, given the disadvantages of dealing with Republican-engineered redistricting. And he rejected the idea of being softer in dealing with Republicans.
“Now is not the time to be shy. Now is not the time to shrink,” Turner said. “We’re not going to just lay down and be run over.”
News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
NASHVILLE — December 12, 2012 – Tennessee Senate Republicans met Wednesday, December 12 in Nashville to elect leaders for the 108th General Assembly where they voted unanimously to nominate Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey
(R-Blountville) to retain his top leadership post as Lt. Governor and Senate Speaker. The Senate Republican Caucus also voted to re-elect Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) for a 4th term as Senate Majority Leader and chose
Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) for a 2nd term as Republican Caucus Chairman.
The State Senate’s organizational session is set to begin on January 8.
Election of the Lt. Governor is the first order of business after State Senators take the oath of office. Senate Republicans now number 26 of the 33 members of the Tennessee Senate after gaining 6 new seats in the November election.
“It has been the honor of my life to serve as Tennessee’s lieutenant governor,” Lt. Governor Ramsey said. “I am truly humbled to once again be the nominee of my party for Speaker of the Senate. We have welcomed some great new
members to our caucus today and elected a fantastic leadership team. I look forward to getting to work this session continuing to bring Tennesseans what they have asked for: more jobs, less spending and smaller government.”
“I appreciate the confidence of my colleagues and look forward to continuing on the conservative course our constituents deserve,” Leader Norris added.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve again as Senate Republican Caucus Chairman,” said Chairman Ketron “This is a united team that will work together to encourage private sector job growth, strengthen education, follow sound
fiscal budget practices and that will address many other concerns facing Tennesseans.”
Other Caucus members elected to leadership positions were Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) as Treasurer, Senator Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) as Secretary, Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson (R-Hixson) as Majority Whip and Senator
Mark Green (R-Clarksville) as Caucus Chaplain.
Rep. Mike Turner of Old Hickory is the current House Democratic Caucus chairman, but Rep. Johnny Shaw of Bolivar in West Tennessee is challenging him in a caucus election later today. WPLN says Shaw believes Turner can be too quick to insult Republicans, who now hold a two-thirds super majority in the House. “You understand that if a guy got a gun on you, why you going to cuss him out? That’s kind of an elementary phrase, but we’ve got to find a way to work with people even if they disagree with us and even if we don’t get what we want.”
Shaw says the party also needs to come up with a strategy to start winning more seats than are being lost. He says the candidate recruiting process for the 2014 elections should already be underway.
Shaw says he believes he has support from most of the House Black Caucus. While that includes half the Democrats in the chamber, Rep. Turner still says he has the votes to retain his chairmanship.
State Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Boliver, has sent a letter to colleagues saying that he is considering a challenge to Rep. Mike Turner, D-Nashville, for the position of House Democratic Caucus chairman.
House Democrats meet Wednesday to elect leaders for the 108th General Assembly, which convenes on Jan. 8.
Shaw, a former chairman of the Tennessee Legislature’s Black Caucus, was in Washington for a meeting of the National Conference of Black Legislators, according to an aide, and could not be reached for comment.
Turner said he is confident that he has the votes lined up to be re-elected as caucus chair and hopeful that Shaw may decide against putting his name in nomination as a display of unity among the minority Democrats.
Democrats hold 28 House seats in the coming session — 14 of them members of the Black Caucus, 14 white.
Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley apparently has no opposition for re-election as House minority leader, the top leadership position for a House Democrat.
News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
NASHVILLE — Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, will
chair the national Council of State Governments (CSG) beginning in 2014
following his unanimous election in Austin, Texas this week.
CSG is the bipartisan professional association which is the only national
organization serving all three branches of government in all 50 states and
Puerto Rico. International affiliates include the Provincial and Federal
governments of Canada.
Norris is the first Tennessean elected to the national leadership post.
“I am honored to assume this responsibility and look forward to continuing our
work throughout the United States and North America,” said Norris, who will
serve next year as Chair-elect under Senator Gary Stevens of Alaska who was also
elected to serve as 2013 Chairman. “State governments face many challenges, and
CSG is frequently on the front lines with solutions.”
Norris is an attorney with the law firm of Adams and Reese LLP. He has served in
the Tennessee Senate since 2000 and as Senate Majority Leader since 2007.
Founded in 1933, CSG’s region-based forum fosters the exchange of insights and
ideas to help state officials shape public policy. This offers unparalleled
regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders,
collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships.
The organization is based in Lexington, Kentucky and also has an office in
Washington, D.C. It has regional offices in Atlanta, New York City, Chicago and
Sacramento. Norris served as Chairman of the Southern Region in 2010-2011.
State Rep. Sherry Jones of Nashville is the latest Democrat to declare an interest in succeeding Chip Forrester, who is not seeking a new term as chairman of the Tennessee Democratic party.
Jones, a Nashvillian who has recently been crusading against what she considers ineptness at the state Department of Children’s Services, says she would seek a change in party by-laws if elected so that the position would be part-time rather than full-time. She would continue to hold her legislative seat – just as Rep. Beth Harwell, now speaker of the House, did while chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.
Jones said last week that she believes the party needs to work toward becoming more inclusive, noting that white men have always served as chairmen in the past – with the single, 1980s exception of Jane Eskind.
“I love all the old white guys, but we’ve got to include everybody,” she said.
Previously declared candidates for state Democratic chair are David Garrison, now the party treasurer; Wade Munday, who previously served as the party’s communications director; and Nashville lawyer Ben Smith.
Former state Sen. Roy Herron’s name has come up in speculation, but he has yet to indicate an interest in the job.
There’s also been speculation about former state Sen. Roy Herron, who did not seek reelection as a legislator this year. But so far Herron, a Dresden lawyer, has not said whether he will seek the post.
News release from Tennessee Republican Party:
NASHVILLE, TN – The TNGOP State Executive Committee today (Saturday) re-elected by acclamation Chris Devaney to a second full term as Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. The election was held during the committee’s December meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn in Nashville.
“It is an honor the State Executive Committee has elected me to serve another term,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney. “I look forward to working with Republicans across the state to strengthen our Party by effectively communicating our message to as many Tennesseans possible and want to thank committee members for this opportunity to help move our party forward for another two years.
“The Tennessee Republican Party has experienced great success, but it is critical we begin efforts now to build on that success in coming elections,” continued Devaney.
“Moving forward, it is important that we continue to expand the base that the Republican Party has had over the years in Tennessee. It is important to continue to recruit qualified men and women to serve, to continue building our county parties and to reach out to minority groups in our state and let them know they have a home in the Republican Party.”
Chris Devaney was first elected Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party on May 30, 2009. He led the State Party’s efforts to elect Republicans in the historic 2010 Midterm Elections which resulted in Republicans taking the governorship, gaining a Congressional majority, and increasing majorities in the General Assembly. This year, history was made again when Republicans gained supermajorities in the State House and State Senate. Prior to serving as TRP Chairman, Chris worked as State Director for U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), was an aide to U.S. Senators Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Phil Gramm (R-TX), served as Executive Director at the TRP and assisted with other campaigns across the country.
Chris and his wife Heather live in Chattanooga with their four children and attend Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church.
News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander campaign:
NASHVILLE–Sen. Lamar Alexander told members of the Republican State Executive Committee here today that Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr., will chair his 2014 re-election campaign.
Alexander also announced that campaign honorary co-chairs will be Gov. Bill Haslam, Sen. Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, House Speaker Beth Harwell, along with Congressmen Marsha Blackburn, Phil Roe, Diane Black, Stephen Fincher and Chuck Fleischmann.
At press conferences with Alexander in Nashville and Knoxville, Duncan said, “Lamar is a good Republican and good conservative who stands up for Tennesseans. We know and trust him to do what needs to be done.”
Alexander said, “Jimmy Duncan is a strong conservative voice for fiscal discipline. I am grateful that he will chair my campaign and that so many of the state’s other Republican leaders will be honorary co-chairmen.”
“Our country has serious problems to solve,” Alexander said. “We must fix the debt and move more decisions out of Washington. We must find better ways to help Americans move from the back of the line to the front in our struggling economy. It is time to stop making speeches and to start getting results.”
Alexander will be seeking his third six-year term in the United States Senate. His colleagues have elected him three times as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. In the next Congress, he will be the senior Republican on committees concerning education, health, and energy appropriations.
Alexander has served two terms as Tennessee’s governor and was chairman of the National Governors Association. He was chairman of President Reagan’s Commission on Americans Outdoors, President of the University of Tennessee and President George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of Education.
In private life, he and his wife, Honey, helped found what has become the nation’s largest provider of worksite day care.
The Alexanders have four children and six grandchildren. He is a Presbyterian elder.
By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Embattled Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester has decided not to seek a third term in charge of the state party, a spokesman confirmed Thursday.
The decision opens the door to new leadership for the party that has in recent years suffered deep losses in the Statehouse and the state’s congressional delegation. There has been little sign that Democrats will be able to reverse that trend in November.
Forrester was elected chairman amid a wave of discontent over the 2008 elections in which Democrats lost control of both chambers of the General Assembly for the first time in 140 years.
But Forrester fared no better, overseeing the even more disastrous elections in 2010 that saw Democrats lose 14 seats in the state House and three in Congress, while also dropping governor’s race in a landslide.
Democrats are on the defense again this year, with Republicans aiming for supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. The only Republican congressman who faces a serious challenge is Rep. Scott DesJarlais, but only because of the emergence of a transcript of a phone conversation in which he once urged a mistress who had also been under his care as a doctor to seek an abortion.