Tag Archives: Chris Devaney

Joe Carr challenges Chris Devaney for TN GOP chair

Former state Rep. Joe Carr has announced he will seek to unseat Chris Devaney as Tennessee Republican party chair.

From The Tennessean’s report:
“I’m running not to be chairman and a dictator. I’m running to be chairman and a facilitator for the state executive committee,” said Carr, R-Lascassas, in a phone interview Tuesday.

While Carr said “the state executive committee is nothing more than a rubber stamp for the wishes or agenda of a handful of people in the Republican party,” he added that he believes his leadership could help give the committee more power and represent the entire state GOP.

Carr turned heads earlier this year with his aggressive campaign to oust fellow Republican and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.

After receiving 41 percent of the vote in the GOP primary, Carr said several people asked him to consider running for the chairmanship. At the time, he said he “wasn’t in the mood” to consider another election. But he said people have continued to call, and that helped convince him to seek the leadership position.

He mentioned several ideas that he thinks need to dictate any TNGOP platform: the sanctity of life, free and fair markets, an emphasis on personal freedoms and state sovereignty. Not only is that not clear now, he believes the state GOP lacks any platform at all.

“As Republicans, our devotion is to principles, not personalities. It’s not the men and women we elect to office that define our party, it’s the principles and values that we have as a party that define who we are,” Carr said.

Current state Republican Chairman Chris Devaney recently announced he would seek his fourth term as state party chairman. While Carr acknowledged there is a divide in the party, he thinks he can unite Republicans around his push for a clear platform.

Devaney thinks it’s disingenuous for Carr to run against Alexander, not endorse him in the general, then say he wants to unite the Republican party.

“Let me be very clear about this: The only person that’s being divisive is the person who’s running for state chair, Joe Carr,” Devaney said Tuesday afternoon, saying the move is a “disqualifier” for Carr.

In an emailed statement, Alexander voiced support for Devaney’s re-election effort.

Devaney argued the state GOP follows the Republican National Committee platform, which includes all of the components Carr listed. He pointed to the GOP’s continued success in local and state elections — they have supermajorities in the state House and Senate, both U.S. Senate seats, seven of nine U.S. House seats and the governor — arguing it shows some of his success as party chairman.

Note: The Carr announcement press release is below.
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Devaney goes for another term as TNGOP chair

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney is running for a fourth term.

Devaney in a Wednesday letter to the State Executive Committee members who elect the chairman cited his role in establishing GOP supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly and electoral successes in governor’s and congressional races.

Devaney was first elected to complete the unexpired term of predecessor Robin Smith after she left to make an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2009. Devaney was elected to his first full term as chairman the following year.

Devaney was U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s state director before becoming chairman of the party. He previously worked as the party’s executive director and as a staffer for former U.S. Sens. Fred Thompson of Tennessee and Phil Gramm of Texas.

Haslam, Devaney hail Christie; TNGOP raises $700K at Statemen’s Dinner

News release from Tennessee Republican Party
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Tennessee gave a warm and enthusiastic welcome to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at this evening’s Tennessee Republican Party Statesmen’s Dinner.

Gov. Christie was introduced to a sellout crowd by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam who outlined Christie’s strong record of leadership as New Jersey’s chief executive and as the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

“I appreciate the leadership Governor Christie has shown. As tonight’s event demonstrated, he knows what it takes to win and be successful—attributes Tennessee Republicans know and respect,” remarked Haslam. “Anyone who was in attendance will be able to tell you that Governor Christie is going to play a prominent role for our Party in 2014 and beyond.”

Gov. Christie added, “With its recent economic and educational achievements, Tennessee is clearly moving in the right direction. Thanks to the efforts of Gov. Haslam and Republican leaders, Tennessee is a model for success.”

During the event, TNGOP Chairman Chris Devaney announced that, while the totals were still being finalized, the event would easily finish as one of the Party’s top three all-time events both in terms of total attendance and in dollars raised. Devaney stated, “We showcased some star power tonight, both from within our own ranks and also from a national perspective. Clearly, tonight would not have been possible without Congressman Marsha Blackburn’s outstanding effort as our Dinner Chair. With over 1,700 attendees and over $700,000 raised, the Tennessee Republican Party is well positioned to ensure our state continues being a ‘blueprint for a red nation.’”

Devaney: Keeping Shelby red is no. 1 priority of ‘roots’ campaign

Tennessee Republican Chairman Chris Devaney says that keeping Shelby County government in GOP control is the top priority of the state party’s “red to the roots” campaign, according to the Commercial Appeal.

A majority of the county’s voters backed Democrat Barack Obama in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, but Republicans nonetheless hold such top local positions as county mayor and district attorney general.

(D)espite its Democratic strongholds, Shelby County figures prominently into the state party’s recently-launched Red to the Roots program, an effort to win local offices for Republicans throughout the state. To hear Devaney describe it, it’s something of a total eradication plan: Democrats are becoming increasingly scarce on Capitol Hill in Nashville, now it’s time to make them scarce in all 95 courthouses in the state.

The No. 1 priority in Red to the Roots? Shelby County, he said.

“Because we think it’s important to keep those Republican officeholders in office,” Devaney said. “If you go by the numbers, there probably are more Democrats here than Republicans, but we have done a good job of — and when I say we, I mean the local Republican party and the state — have done a good job of getting people out to vote.

“And also, to try to get conservative independents to vote Republican. And conservative Democrats, for that matter. Because I think that both Weirich and Luttrell have a lot of Democrat support. I think it’s a testament to the kind of jobs that they’re doing.”

Luttrell’s challenger in his Aug. 7 general election bid for a second term was determined Tuesday — Deidre Malone, the former County Commission member. Weirich’s challenger has been known for a while — Joe Brown, the former television judge whose unpredictable presence promises an interesting summer — and has helped Weirich raise about $165,000 this year alone, according to records.

Democrats have a different view of the 2010 GOP success. To them, the courthouse is painted red in large part because of the timing of that election, when the hotly contested Republican primary for governor on the same day drove significant Republican turnout.

Devaney: TN GOP offers ‘blueprint for the rest of the nation’ at RNC Memphis meeting

News release from Tennessee Republican Party:
Memphis, Tenn.—The Tennessee Republican Party is proud to serve as the host state party for this week’s Republican National Committee’s Spring Meeting in Memphis.

TNGOP Chairman Chris Devaney remarked, “The RNC is coming to Memphis to highlight our Party’s efforts nationally to have the best field, data, and digital operations that will help Republican candidates win races across the country.”

The theme for the week is “Victory 365,” highlighting the RNC’s ongoing field, data and digital effort to help candidates win in November. Full schedule details are below.

Devaney continued, “We believe Tennessee offers a blueprint for the rest of the nation. We’ve been incredibly successful at electing conservatives to statewide, federal, and legislative offices. This cycle, we’re focused on maintaining those gains while also working to elect Republicans at the county and judicial level through our ‘Red to the Roots’ program. Shelby County is ground zero for that initiative as we want to ensure Mayor Luttrell, District Attorney General Weirich, and the entire Republican slate emerges victorious this year.”


The 2014 election cycle features more individuals running for office as Republicans than ever before.

The Red to the Roots program involves Regional Political Directors across the state and mirrors the RNC’s early engagement efforts.

The GOP’s new Victory 365 program will be officially unveiled at this meeting.

The RNC Spring Meeting will take place Wednesday-Saturday at the Peabody Hotel.

Devaney on Huckabee abortion commentary: ‘I wouldn’t have phrased it that way’

Mike Huckabee drew some attention – and some Democratic criticism – for remarks at a Republican National Committee meeting… and Tennessee GOP Chairman Chris Devaney is quoted in a report on the gathering.

But those who hailed the party’s unity, and even the RNC’s impressive $80.6 million haul for 2013, were somewhat overshadowed by comments made by Huckabee criticizing Democrats for, as he put it, making women believe “they cannot control their libido … without the help of the government” providing free birth control as part of ObamaCare.

Democrats seized on the comments as representative of what EMILY’s List, a progressive group working to elect pro-abortion rights Democratic women to office, called the GOP’s “offensive, anti-women beliefs.” The Democratic campaigns were all too gleeful to tie Huckabee to GOP candidates and call for them to return donations from the former Arkansas governor.

…“I think our biggest problem is we’ve allowed ourselves to be perceived as the party of intolerance. And I think that is our biggest single obstacle,” said Kaufman. “I think when we address that, it makes it a lot easier to solve problems.”

Tennessee GOP Chairman Chris Devaney agreed with Kaufman that the GOP focus should be on the economy, but said the party shouldn’t “shy away” from its opposition to abortion. He suggested Huckabee should’ve chosen better words.

“I wouldn’t have framed my speech that way. We as a party should certainly not shy away from our pro-life position but I think we need to be more inclusive, and I think we, are of people who have other viewpoints. I just wouldn’t have phrased it in that way.”

Note: Tennessee will have a statewide vote this November on amendment to the state constitution that has been pushed by anti-abortion activists for several years.

State GOP settles Winslow lawsuit

The Tennessee Republican Party has reached an “amicable resolution” to a lawsuit brought by former party chief of staff and arising out of the 3rd Congressional District campaign in 2010, according to a statement released Thursday by GOP Chairman Chris Devaney.

Mark Winslow served under DeVaney’s predecessor as state Republican chairman, Robin Smith, who ran for the 3rd District Congressional seat in 2010 after leaving the post. Winslow left the party staff position after receiving a severance payment and subsequently worked in Smith’s congressional campaign.

The lawsuit contends that Fleishmann’s campaign wrongfully obtained confidential party documents and ran misleading TV ads that saying Smith left the state Republican Party more than $100,000 in debt and that she handed her future campaign staff “lavish bonuses.”

Besides the state party, defendants in the lawsuit include Fleischmann and Saltsman. Their status as defendants is not changed by the settlement with the state party. (Trial date is Feb. 24, reports the AP.)

The amount of money paid to settle the lawsuit against the state party was not disclosed. As filed, it sought $750,000 in damages against all defendants.

Here’s Devaney’s statement (which, one suspects, might be part of the settlement arrangement):
The Tennessee Republican Party has reached an agreement with Mark Winslow to resolve the issues raised in his lawsuit against the Party.

Upon my election as Chairman in 2009 I decided to hire a staff of my own choosing. Because Mark had an employment agreement through the end of the year we negotiated a severance agreement that included a confidentiality clause.

Documents from his confidential personnel file later became public and were used in political advertising. Mark contends that these documents were misused and neither I nor the Party would have or did authorize their release.

Mark has been a loyal Republican and a valued member of the State Executive Committee. I am pleased we have reached an amicable resolution of this unfortunate matter and look forward to Mark’s continuing good work for the Party and our principles.

I encourage all of my fellow Republicans to join me in putting this episode behind us.

Note: Previous post (from when the party was added as a defendant) HERE.

TN Republicans bash Sebelius in advance of her visit to Memphis

From the Tennessee Republican Party:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is taking a page from President Obama’s book and traveling the country to peddle bad policy instead of trying to fix the problems which have plagued Obama Care and the Healthcare.gov website since its launch on October 1st. Two days after telling Tennessee Congressman Marsha Blackburn to “hold me accountable for the debacle,” and “I’m committed to earning your confidence back by fixing the site,” during a Congressional hearing, Sebelius will be at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in Memphis today to talk about the Affordable Care Act.

“Unless she is there to check out a book about website development, then we can expect more excuses and misinformation from this administration,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney. “In Washington we have President Obama trying to defend his deceitful insurance sales pitch of ‘if you like it you can keep it,’ while Sebelius and HHS try to explain the debacle that is healthcare.gov.”

“The whole thing looks like a snake oil medicine show being orchestrated from the White House. Unfortunately for President Obama and Secretary Sebelius the bad policy the administration is trying to peddle continues to develop more symptoms of its impending failure than a cure for what ails it,” concluded Devaney.

From Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius’s planned visit to Memphis tomorrow:
“The secretary is always welcome in Tennessee, but her time would be better spent in Washington fixing the Obamacare website so that millions of Americans won’t find themselves without health insurance starting January 1st. But while she’s in Memphis, I hope she’s able to meet with some of the thousands of Tennesseans who are being informed that they won’t be able to keep the health insurance the president promised they’d be able to keep.”
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Devaney stands with football prayers against ACLU

State Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney is accusing the American Civil Liberties Union Tennessee of using “scare tactics” to “intimidate” public schools on the issue of prayer at high school football games.

After the ACLU-Tennessee last week sent a letter to school superintendents warning about reports of “school-sponsored prayer in numerous” football programs, Devaney today fired off his own letter to the superintendents, calling the ACLU a “far left” organization.

He also says he’s started a petition.

“With a new week of football games set to kick off, we write today to tell you we stand with you and the millions of Tennesseans who want to express their rights and not cower to the liberal self-interests of a leftwing organization,” Devaney says in the letter.

He charges the ACLU-Tennessee letter “misses a very basic principle about the First Amendment: It was written—not to protect government from religion—but to ensure religious freedoms are not violated by the government.”

Moreover, Devaney said, the ACLU-TN willfully misrepresents a point in the U.S. Supreme Court case Sante Fe Independent School District v. Doe case it cites. The Court has found “(n)othing in the Constitution…prohibits any public school student from voluntarily praying at any time before, during, or after the schoolday,” Devaney said.

Note: Previous post HERE (on the ACLU letter). The text of Devaney’s letter is below.
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Anti-Alexander group plans anti-Devaney talkathon with GOP SEC members

News release from “Beat Lamar:”
Spring Hill, TN—Michael Patrick Leahy, co-founder of BEAT LAMAR, today announced a series of BEAT LAMAR Conversations with Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee members that will be held in each of Tennessee’s  33 State Senate Districts.

“We will invite the state committeeman and committeewoman elected from each State Senate District to the same BEAT LAMAR Conversation in their district,” said Leahy. “These will be informal events held at local restaurants where BEAT LAMAR volunteers will have an opportunity to share their views about the proper role the Tennessee Republican Party should play in the upcoming August Republican Senate primary.”

On Monday, September 23, BEAT LAMAR and Tea Party groups from around the state of Tennessee sent a letter to Chris Devaney calling for his resignation as Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party for his repeated violation of the party’s by-laws . These violations included his signature on an August 31 fundraising appeal that amounted, in effect, to an endorsement of Lamar Alexander.  In the BEAT LAMAR letter, the group gave Chairman Devaney until 5 pm Tuesday to resign, or it would take its case directly to the State Executive Committee.

“As of Wednesday morning, Chairman Devaney has not resigned, nor has he responded in any way to our letter,” said Leahy. “Therefore, BEAT LAMAR has chosen to initiate these BEAT LAMAR Conversations with every member of the Tennessee Republican Party’s State Executive Committee. “
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