Tag Archives: debates

RNC in Memphis: Restrictions on presidential debates; Americans for Prosperity to spend $125M on Senate races

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Lunging for control of the GOP ahead of high-stakes elections, the Republican National Committee on Friday took steps to end free-for-all presidential debates and vowed to punish potential contenders who participate in rogue forums.

At the same time, an independent organization with deep ties to the conservative Koch brothers has elected to spend $125 million on the battle for control of the Senate this fall, giving the 168-member central party meeting a stark reminder that outside groups will have significant sway over Republican political fortunes through the 2016 presidential race.

“At the RNC, we cannot control everything in politics. But we have an important mission, and we’re going to get the job done,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said as he opened the party’s meeting here on Friday.

As he spoke, reports circulated that Americans for Prosperity plans to escalate its television advertising across the nation, improve voter data collection and strengthen its 31-state ground operation. It was a bracing reality check for the RNC: Despite the committee’s efforts, the GOP establishment won’t be the only one setting Republican priorities.

A senior official with direct knowledge of Americans for Prosperity’s plans confirmed the election blueprint, outlined in a memo distributed to Republican donors this spring. The official confirmed the memo’s authenticity but wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss its contents.

Industrialist billionaires Charles and David Koch have already funneled millions of dollars to conservative causes. Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have roundly criticized the billionaires and claim Republican policies are being dictated by an agenda to grow the Kochs’ wealth.

In a nod to the Kochs’ heft, the RNC passed a resolution condemning Reid for what it called “hyperbolic attacks … on private citizens.”
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Marilyn Lloyd Backs Mary Headrick in 3rd District

News release from Mary Headrick campaign:
Endorsing Dr. Mary Headrick, Marilyn Lloyd, Congresswoman for the Third District for 20 years (1975-1995), said “I wholeheartedly support Dr. Headrick’s positions to increase the minimum wage, combat job outsourcing, defend public education, protect social security and Medicare and to seek fair taxation.”
Representative Lloyd recalled with pride introducing the Obed River into the Wild and Scenic River program. She and Dr. Headrick share admiration for the beauty of Tennessee and applaud its tourism.
Dr. Mary Headrick is the Democratic candidate for the third Congressional District facing incumbent Representative Chuck Fleischmann.
Mary Headrick will meet voters at the Eastgate Center, 5PM Tuesday Oct 2, a meeting sponsored by the Unity Group. She will attend the forum of the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge High School 7PM,Thursday Oct 4.
Dr. Headrick and Representative Fleischmann will face one another at Cleveland Middle School, 3635 Georgetown Rd, Cleveland on Monday, Oct. 8, 6:30 PM for a 1 hour debate that is open to the public.
Mr. Fleischmann’s campaign office has refused or made no reply to other forum and debate invitations. Dr. Headrick said “The voters deserve to see the opponents appear together to answer their questions and summarize positions. It is a disservice to the voters when Mr. Fleischmann avoids debates or when Representative DesJarlais refuses to debate Eric Stewart.”

Stewart Schedules Three Debates; DesJarlais Doesn’t

Democratic Congressional candidate state Sen. Eric Stewart is set for three debates with Republican Congressman Scott DesJarlais before the Nov. 6 election, but they won’t happen unless the incumbent agrees to adjust his schedule, reports the Daily News Journal.
Stewart’s campaign said Thursday he will attend three events:
• 6 p.m. Monday in Monteagle set up by GCTV;
• 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 in Bradley County held by the Bradley Bar Association;
• and 7 p.m. Oct. 11 to be held by the Southern Standard newspaper in McMinnville.
…But Stewart won’t have anyone to debate unless DesJarlais, a South Pittsburg Republican, decides to fit one into his schedule.
DesJarlais’ campaign said Thursday he will be attending events in and around Manchester Monday and won’t be able to attend. He also has a rally scheduled Oct. 8 in Sequatchie County and will be presiding over a pro-forma session of Congress Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C, when the McMinnville debate is scheduled.
“As a result, we will not be attending these (debate) events,” DesJarlais campaign manager Brandon Lewis said.
James Clark, editor of the Southern Standard, said DesJarlais’ campaign was “non-committal” from the beginning and notified him Wednesday that DesJarlais could not attend the Oct. 11 event.
“It’s my feeling that no matter what the date or the circumstance,” DesJarlais won’t join a debate held by the Standard, Clark said.
DesJarlais “backed out” of a debate scheduled by the Standard two years ago, Clark said. He added that the newspaper also invited DesJarlais to debate immediately after the latest Aug. 2 election, but his campaign said that was “too much notice” and hasn’t cooperated even though the newspaper offered to set different dates.

Note: A Stewart campaign release is below.

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Stewart Says DesJarlais Dodging Debates

News release from Eric Stewart campaign:
Murfreesboro, Tenn. – During a press conference in Rutherford County on Tuesday, Eric Stewart announced that Congressman Scott DesJarlais has refused to accept his offer to debate and refuses to face voters in the 4th Congressional district. Stewart launched two new campaign initiatives.
“Working families in this district deserve to have a debate,” Stewart said. “Today I’m launching a website where voters can go online and sign a petition and ask Scott DesJarlais to debate so that we can both sit down and look voters in the eyes and talk to them about issues that are important.” The website that Stewart launched is www.need4debate.com
“I am shocked, but not surprised, that DesJarlais does not want to face voters and have a debate over the issues important to people in this district,” Stewart said. “Congressman DesJarlais has bragged about being part of a ‘Do Nothing Congress,’ and now it’s clear that he wants to be a ‘Do Nothing Candidate.'”
Stewart also announced that his campaign was launching a caravan across all 16 counties of the newly redrawn 4th District. “There are a lot of folks that are new to this district, including all of Rutherford County,” Stewart said. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to look their candidates in the eyes and ask the questions most important to their families and pocketbooks.”

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Scottie Mayfield: ‘People Like Ice Cream’

Republican Scottie Mayfield, running for the 3rd Congressional District nomination,says he thinks that giving voters ice cream — Mayfield brand, paid for by the campaign, naturally — is a better way to communicate than participating in debates.
His comments are part of a Georgiana Vines overview story on the congressional campaign. Mayfield, who has declined to participate in debates, also says he would never have run had not redistricting moved his McMinn County home out of the 2nd District, whre Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. is the incumbent — not Chuck Fleischmann.
“I would not want to replace him (Duncan(. I think he is doing a good job,” Mayfield said in an interview in Knoxville on Wednesday. When the district changed, “a door opened for me,” he said.
He responded to criticism for not attending the debates in Chattanooga by saying that he didn’t think they would prove differences between the candidates.
…”I’ve watched the presidential debates. They are so divisive. I don’t think the candidates say a great deal,” he said. He also didn’t want to become divisive himself, he said.
Pointing to a flyer listing his positions on seven issues, he said all of the Republican candidates with a few word changes seem the same with one exception — term limits. He favors members of the House and Senate each serving 12 years, he said.
…While not attending the tea party debate, Mayfield said he went to two other events in the district in Polk and Campbell counties and reached 600 people — more than attended the debate.
He said he prefers to have the opportunity to meet with people one-on-one, find out what they’re interested in and listen. Often, initially, they’re a little standoffish, he said.
“Give them some ice cream and they settle in and get comfortable,” he said. “People like ice cream.”