Tag Archives: Conservatives

Conservative group rates TN legislators

The American Conservative Union Foundation has released its rating of Tennessee legislators for 2016, giving its highest scores to five Republicans at 96 – with 100 being perfection in the ACU view – and its lowest score to Democratic Rep. John Ray Clemmons, a 7.

The five highest-rated Republicans at 96 were Sen. John Stevens of Huntington and Reps. Mike Carter of Ooltewah, Roger Kane of Knoxville, Judd Matheny of Tullahoma and Micha Van Huss of Jonesborough.

The Senate average rating was 80 percent (Republicans overall 85; Democrats 49). The House average 70 percent (Republicans 86, Democrats 28). The combined average was 85.5, down from 92 in 2015.

Lowest-rated Republicans: In the Senate, Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville at 57 percent. In the House, Speaker Beth Harwell had the lowest rating, 71.

Highest-rated Democrats: In the Senate, Sen. Thelma Harper at 75. In the House, Rep. Kevin Dunlap of Sparta at 73.

The full Tennessee rating list is HERE.

The ACU Tennessee press release is below. Continue reading

On TN as nation’s most conservative state… or not

While the American Conservative Union has ranked Tennessee’s legislature the most conservative in the nation, others have given it a lower ranking in comparison with other states. The difference, reports Michael Collins, is all about who is doing the ranking and how they’re keeping score.

Tennessee failed to grab the top stop in a different rating system by Boris Shor, a visiting government professor at Georgetown University in Washington. On his most recent scorecard, Shor listed the Tennessee legislature as the nation’s fourth most conservative.

So how did the two scoring systems come up with different scores?
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Tennessee Conservative Union leader Lloyd Daugherty dies

Long-time political advocate and commentator Lloyd Daugherty, a founder and longtime president of the Tennessee Conservative Union, died Friday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, reports the News Sentinel.

According to his mother, Gertrude Daugherty, he died at about 10:10 a.m. from an apparent heart attack.

“He was here for heart surgery in July and was having extended surgery, which would be about two weeks ago this coming Monday, and he began having worse symptoms, so we put him in the ER at Vanderbilt and he went away this morning,” she said.

The mother said Daugherty would have turned 56 in November.

“He was a very special person. We’re going to miss a lot of his knowledge,” she said. “This was not expected. It was sudden. We’ve lost a smart person. He was very, very brilliant.”

Daugherty helped found the Tennessee Conservative Union in 1977. The organization, which bills itself as an advocacy group for small government and conservative principles, helped unseat state Supreme Court Justice Penny White during a contentious retention election in 1996.

The group also took part in various protests against proposals for a state income tax.

Note: Daugherty was also a leader in the 1996 effort that led to rejection of a new term for Penny White as a Tennessee Supreme Court justice. This year, on the other hand, he backed Democratic Justices Sharon Lee and Gary Wade for new terms in their successful retention election effort. While most often endorsing Republicans, the Tennessee Conservative Union also supported Democrats on occasion — including former Democratic Congressman Bob Clement over Republican Lamar Alexander in the 2002 U.S. Senate race.


A statement from Sen. Lamar Alexander emailed to media:

“Lloyd Daugherty was a principled man, conservative to his core, who loved our country and did his best to help all of us remember its founding principles. I was glad to call him a friend.”

Government Closest to the Business Lobby Governs Best?

All good conservatives believe that the government closest to the people governs best, observes Frank Cagle in his weekly column…. except when they don’t.
The business lobby is prevailing on the state Legislature to forbid a city raising the minimum wage above $7.25 an hour ($2.13 for people working for tips).
There is also a bill that forbids a city requiring contractors or people doing business in the city to pay a prevailing wage rate or to require that contractors provide health benefits.
…This comes after legislation last session forbidding cities to require their contractors not discriminate against gay people.
Business lobbyists tell legislators they have to have consistency throughout the state and it would be a real problem if regulations and requirements were different in different jurisdictions. We have to have the same laws in Maynardville and Memphis and Mountain City. That’s the argument they use in Washington to “standardize” laws throughout the states.
Legislators often glibly parrot the talking points and seem to have little regard for the impact of their decisions on the average citizen. If business wants consistency, how about requiring that every town and city in the state require a prevailing wage rate over the minimum?
No? So it isn’t about consistency. It’s about using the law to keep local government from asking for better wages from their contractors.
If it makes you mad for your City Council to ask that contractors pay a decent wage, provide health insurance, or not discriminate against employees then you have the option to run for City Council or support someone else. But it’s a local matter and no one in Nashville ought to be telling local governments what they can and can’t do.
Some local school districts are resisting efforts to set up charter schools. The state is already pulling the purse strings. Will a complete state takeover of charter schools be next? Even if you think charter schools are a good idea, shouldn’t you let the local school board decide? If you don’t like the decision, run for the school board or support someone else.

Political Fundraiser Arrested for Theft in Kingsport

Report from Hank Hayes in the Kingsport Times-News:
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today arrested a Greeneville man for stealing money raised by his political action group in charge of organizing a GOP Presidential forum scheduled for October 2011 at the MeadowView Marriott in Kingsport.
The event was never held.
Fabian Farrell Story, 36, was indicted by the Washington County grand jury in November of 2012 on one count of theft over $10,000. Story was the executive director of the group called Conservatives on the Move, allegedly coordinating the political event.
The TBI says Story contacted Johnson City political activist, Phyllis White, on July 1, 2011, to help him raise money and organize the event. White raised approximately $30,000 and deposited it in a Washington County bank. The TBI investigation revealed that Story withdrew the money and it was not refunded to the donors.
Story was arrested by the TBI at the Rutherford County court house where he was appearing on a child support case. He was booked into the Rutherford County Jail on $10,000 bond and will be transported to the Washington County Jail tomorrow.

Efforts Underway to Unseat GOP Moderate State Legislators

By John Hanna, Associated Press
TOPEKA, Kan. — Frustrated by their inability to achieve some policy goals, conservatives in Republican states are turning against moderate members of their own party, trying to drive them out of state legislatures to clear the way for reshaping government across a wide swath of mid-America controlled by the GOP.
Political groups are helping finance the efforts by supporting primary election challenges targeting several dozen moderate Republicans in the Midwest and South, especially prominent lawmakers who run key state committees.
Two years after Republicans swept into power in many state capitols, the challengers say it’s time to adopt more conservative policies.
“If you don’t believe in that playbook, then why are you on the team?” declared Greg Smith, a Kansas state representative who’s running for the state Senate, with the goal of making it more conservative.
The push is most intense in Kansas, where conservatives are attempting to replace a dozen moderate Republican senators who bucked new Gov. Sam Brownback’s move to slash state income taxes.
The Club for Growth, a major conservative interest group, is spending about $500,000 in Missouri this year. That’s double the amount it invested two years ago. The anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity opened new chapters in Iowa, Minnesota and New Mexico. The conservative business group Texans for Lawsuit Reform spent $3.5 million on legislative candidates in the first half of 2012, more than double its total during the same period two years ago.

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Super Tuesday Affirms Social Conservative Rule of Tennessee GOP

Going into Super Tuesday, it seemed possible that the Tennessee Republican primary tradition of conservatives splitting their votes to assure plurality victory for a moderate would hold true.
Coming out of Super Tuesday, just maybe a new normal has been achieved wherein the conservative wing of the Republican party can believe in better.

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GOP’s Social Conservatives Send Santorum to Tennessee Victory

Rick Santorum rode a wave of social conservative support to victory in Tennessee’s Super Tuesday Republican presidential primary, overcoming the solid support for Mitt Romney from many state GOP leaders.
The Tennessee results were a disappointment for Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich, who finished third in a state he had hoped would help his campaign rebound.
The results were also marked a rare win for a candidate who was hugely outspent in Tennessee campaigning. Pro-Romney forces, including a “Super PAC,” spent about $1.6 million advertising in the state – much of the money going to TV ads that attacked Santorum – while Gingrich’s forces spent about $470,000, according the most recently-reported figures.
Only about $100,000 was spent on Santorum advertising in the state, but the candidate had made trips to the state – the last including an appearance at a Memphis Baptist Church on Sunday. Romney visited Knoxville Sunday while Gingrich campaigned through East Tennessee on Monday.
“I think what he stands for is the closest to how Tennesseans feel about things,” said state Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, who is co-chairman of the Santorum campaign in Tennessee.
“He is the candidate who recognizes you have to be both socicially conservative and fiscally conservative because, when morals go down, taxes go up,” said Dunn in an interview after Santorum’s Tennessee victory was clear.
Latest unofficial returns Tuesday night, with about 58 percent of the vote counted, showed former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Santorum with 38 percent of the total, followed by Romney with 28 percent. Gingrich had 23 percent followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul with 9 percent.
Fifty-five delegates will be sent to the Republican National Convention from Tennessee. It appeared Tuesday night that Santorum had won at least 19 of the 28 delegates that will be allocated on the basis of statewide results. The remaining 27 are based on the voting in each of the state’s nine Congressional districts and the allocation was unclear late Tuesday.
The Associated Press said exit polling of 1,769 Tennessee Republican primary voters found that about seven in 10 identified themselves as born-again Christians.. About three-quarters said it mattered at least somewhat that a candidate shared their religious beliefs.
Romney is a Mormon while Santorum is Catholic.
Dunn, a Catholic who accepts the born-again label for himself, said the born-again majority in Tennessee is not surprising and ties into the belief that “You have to fix your social problems or you’re never going to fix your money problems.”
Dunn was the first state legislator to endorse Santorum, though 11 others eventually joined him. Six backed Gingrich. Twenty-two state legislators backed Romney, including House Speaker Beth Harwell.
Gov. Bill Haslam served as chairman of the Romney campaign in Tennessee and traveled the state last week to urge support for the former Massachusetts governor. Romney was also backed by four of the state’s GOP congressmen – the others did not endorse anyone – along with Sen. Lamar Alexander, former Gov. Winfield Dunn and many of the state’s leading Republican fundraisers.
It remains to be seen how significant Santorum’s victory in Tennessee, one of ten state’s voting or holding caucuses on “Super Tuesday,” will be in the national presidential nomination picture. In 2008, Tennessee Republicans gave a state victory to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who presented himself as the most socially conservative candidate in that year’s campaign. Arizona Sen. John McCain finished as Tennessee runnerup in 2008 and went on to win the GOP nomination. Romney finished third in Tennessee’s 2008 contest.
President Obama was unopposed in the Democratic primary. State Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester sent out a statement Tuesday night criticizing Romney, who many Democrats believe will be the ultimate winner of the Republican contest.
“Mitt Romney’s loss tonight shows that he is out-of-touch with Tennesseans and it raises serious concerns about his chances in November — if he can make it to the general election,” said Forrester. “Not only did he and Tennessee’s Republican establishment fail to convince GOP voters to support his candidacy; he also wounded himself among women, moderate and blue-collar workers, without whose support he simply cannot win.”

Tennesseans Getting into Super PACs

Excerpt from a Tennessean story on Super PACs:
Bill Hemrick, a Williamson County man who made his fortune as a co-founder of the Upper Deck sports card company, is finalizing the paperwork for a super PAC that will support the eventual Republican (presidential) nominee, no matter who it is, though he’s a fervent supporter of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota — “the only true conservative” — for now.
“Whoever we get will be more conservative than the one we’ve got,” Hemrick said, referring to Obama. “Hopefully we can raise enough money to be influential.”
Hemrick, who already has a traditional political action committee called National Fiscal Conservative PAC, said he hopes to raise millions of dollars for the super PAC, including some of his own money. He said he wouldn’t coordinate with the GOP nominee’s campaign.
“I can say on the air that Michele Bachmann is the greatest thing since sliced bread,” he said. “But I can’t use her voice or tell her that I’m going to say that.”
Adrian Eddleman, an investment adviser in Jackson, Tenn., was the treasurer of a super PAC that supported Stephen Fincher in his successful congressional campaign last year. That group, Conservatives for Truth, raised more than $112,000 and spent all but $307.16 of it, according to its federal financial disclosures. The two largest donations it collected were for $25,000 each.
Conservatives for Truth poured almost all of its resources — $100,000 — into a 30-second ad touting Fincher’s pro-life, pro-growth bona fides as those of a “conservative Ronald Reagan Republican.” The spot used a still photograph of the candidate but didn’t feature any footage of him.
Eddleman said Conservatives for Truth “acted completely on our own” and never talked to Fincher’s campaign about its plans.
Eddleman, who might focus more of his political energies on the state legislature in 2012, said he has no regrets about the super PAC experience. But he said the political system would be better off if individual and corporate donors could give unlimited amounts directly to candidates’ campaigns, with full disclosure required.
“Going through political action committees, whether they be super PACs or regular PACs, that has a tendency to divide or separate from the politician where that money is coming from, and I think that’s an important thing for the voters to be able to see,” he said.

Republican Presidential Candidates Invited to Kingsport Debate (Romney says, no thanks)

A report from Hank Hayes:
KINGSPORT — Candidates to appear weren’t named, but a Nashville-based conservative group announced plans Thursday to stage a GOP presidential debate at the MeadowView Marriott this fall.
Conservatives On The Move (COTM) is hoping 3,000 seats to be sold for either $50 or $25 apiece will be filled for the debate, scheduled to happen at 2 p.m. on Oct. 15.
“The number one question we get is: Who’s coming?” Fabian Story, executive director of COTM’s political action committee (PAC), said before a few event supporters at MeadowView. “Our policy is we’re not going to reveal who’s accepted or declined until every candidate has had an opportunity to either accept or decline. At this point, the only candidate that has declined our invitation has been (former Massachusetts Gov.) Mitt Romney. … We have several candidates who have confirmed but have asked we not release their names until they put it on their fall calendars.”

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