By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Valley Authority’s board voted Monday to delegate certain authority to the utility’s new chief executive in case five of its vacancies aren’t filled before Congress adjourns this month.
The board is made up of nine members and five seats are pending congressional action, including one that’s up for reappointment. Whenever five or more of the seats are vacant, the board lacks a quorum.
The authorizations and delegations approved at a special meeting on Monday would only go into effect if the panel lacks a quorum because of vacancies.
“Our primary objective … is to make sure TVA continues to have flexibility to manage its activities with a maximum effectiveness while the process continues in Washington,” said Board Chairman Bill Sansom.
TVA spokesman Scott Brooks told The Associated Press before Monday’s vote that the new authority allows the CEO to conduct TVA business without the board “in certain critical areas,” such as handling financing arrangements and contracts. The last time TVA operated without a board quorum was in 1999.
Former Vice President Al Gore apparently won’t be attending the Democratic National Convention, though is previously listed as a “super delegate” from Tennessee, reports The Tennessean as part of an overview story on Gore’s present status with the party. Gore also co-founded Current TV. Instead of speaking this week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., as his party makes the case for another four years in the White House, he’s expected to anchor Current’s coverage from a New York studio, as he did when Republicans met last week in Florida.
….In late July, the Tennessee Democratic Party listed Gore as a superdelegate to this week’s national convention. (Note: A list of delegates distributed by the state party on Saturday still lists him as a super delegate.) But Current TV announced a week later that Gore would anchor the network’s coverage of both conventions.
Brandon Puttbrese, a spokesman for the state party, said Gore’s staff has said he’ll stay in New York rather than fly to Charlotte to cast a vote for Obama. Because alternates can’t vote for superdelegates, Gore’s absence would leave the Tennessee delegation down a vote.
It’s unclear if Obama’s campaign and Gore ever discussed a speaking role at the convention, which might have reminded liberal Democrats of Obama’s inaction on climate change.
Another excerpt from the Tennessean story: U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper chalked the 2000 vote up to the fickleness of the American electorate. Like the British people voting Prime Minister Winston Churchill out of office after he led them through World War II, voters didn’t realize what Clinton and Gore had achieved, Cooper said.
“We dream today of having a budget surplus, and Clinton gave us three in a row,” he said. “People in 2000 took that sort of prosperity for granted.”
….Friends say Gore has never discussed his deepest feelings about the (2000 presidential race) loss, which he publicly addressed with a gracious speech the day after the Supreme Court ruling.
Cooper called Gore “one of the greatest Tennesseans ever” but said he has “a lot of arrows in his back” as a result of his outspoken advocacy.
“There’s even a section in the Bible that says no prophet is honored in his hometown,” Cooper said.
— Note: The Tennessean says Gore declined to be interviewed. He’s turned down my last umpteen requests over the past decade or so, too.
Gov. Bill Haslam will have access to the Republican convention, but not voting privileges as a delegate, according to Adam Nickas, executive director of the state GOP. That’s part of a rundown on East Tennesseans chosen to the Republican and Democratic conventions reported by Georgiana Vines.
Haslam’s father, James Haslam II, has been designated a Mitt Romney delegate, along with the governor’s Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty.
Knoxville public relations executive Susan Richardson Williams, a former state GOP chair, is a Romney alternate delegate..
The committee a week ago also appointed these other Knoxvillians: Daniel Dunn, at-large for Rick Santorum; Leonard Brown, an alternate for Newt Gingrich; Ted Hatfield, an alternate for Santorum.
U.S. Reps. John J. Duncan Jr. and Phil Roe, all of whom stumped for Romney prior to Tennessee’s presidential primary on March 6, will be in the same category as Haslam — access to the convention but not voting privileges.
…State Sen. Stacey Campfield was confirmed as an elected at-large delegate for Gingrich by the committee although a Gingrich aide had asked that he be replaced due to his last-minute switch to Santorum. Nickas said the committee, based on legal advice, felt the most appropriate place for a contest was before the RNC’s credentials committee.
Others from East Tennessee who either were elected delegates in March or appointed by the committee to attend the Aug. 27-30 national convention:
n Gingrich — Rep. Tony Shipley, Kingsport.
n Romney — Randy Boyd and Rep. Ryan Haynes, Knoxville.
n Santorum — Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Blountville, and Rep. Jimmy Matlock, Lenoir City.
On the Democratic side, former Vice President Al Gore, who still claims Carthage as home, and former state Sen. Bill Owen of Knoxville were among nine appointed as “super” delegates to the party’s national convention in Charlotte on Sept. 3-6.
Others selected by the Tennessee Democratic Executive Committee a week ago include Rep. Joe Armstrong of Knoxville as an at-large delegate.
Owen said former Gov. Phil Bredesen can have credentials as a former governor “whenever he wants it.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Democratic leaders in a Tennessee county are sending actress Ashley Judd as a delegate to the party’s national convention in September.
Judd is one of three delegates selected from Williamson County to serve in at-large positions at the convention. Judd has been outspoken on a variety of humanitarian and social justice issues and has supported local Democratic candidates in the past. The Kentucky native is the daughter of country singer Naomi Judd.
The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/Hc0pDK ) that joining Judd as delegates will be Vilma Cueva, the first Hispanic American delegate out of the county, and Gerard Stranch of Franklin.
The film and TV actress lends some star power to the Williamson County Democrats in a traditionally conservative haven. She helped a Williamson County Democrat run for state senate in 2006 and in 2008 was the voice in an automated call urging local residents to vote.
Sen. Stacey Campfield, in a blog post, on the effort by Newt Gingrich’s campaign to deny him a seat as a Gingrich delegate to the Republican National Convention: Instead of playing it straight up and doing the work of a few phone calls a few weeks ago, The night before the SEC set the delegates for the campaigns, the Gingrich campaign decided to play cutesy and sent out a media blast asking the SEC not to seat me. By that time all the Santorum delegates were set.
The Gingrich campaign waited so long to do anything it would have left me nowhere to go (I guess this was the plan). They then made it worse by going public instead of talking to me about it one on one. They attacked me and mislead people about what I had said. It would have been a pretty good political “gotcha” except for one thing. The SEC came out and said while it might be possible to replace me without losing the delegate (in contrast to previous understanding) it was completely up to me. Not them.
Oopsie. Not a good way to ingratiate yourself to the one person who can help you.
Sen. Stacey Campfield, writing in his blog, on the effort by Newt Gingrich’s campaign to deny him a seat as a Gingrich delegate to the Republican National Convention:
(Note: Previous post HERE. Gingrich campaign’s letter to the SEC is HERE).
Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign has asked that state Sen. Stacey Campfield not be seated as a Tennessee delegate to the Republican National Convention, even though he won election as a delegate in Super Tuesday voting.
The request was made in a letter to the Republican State Executive Committee. But Adam Nickas, executive director of the state Republican party, says it would be “more appropriate” to challenge Campfield before a Republican National Committee credentials committee, not the state organization.
As far as state-level Republicans are concerned, Nickas says, Campfield is a duly-elected delegate for Gingrich, unless and until he resigns. Campfield has not resigned.
Campfield served as co-chairman of Gingrich’s campaign, but then resigned that post and endorsed Rick Santorum for the Republican presidential nomination on the weekend before Tennessee’s Super Tuesday voting. Santorum led all candidates in Tennessee’s March 6 voting and, according to the state GOP’s official count, will be entitled to 29 of the 55 delegates decided by the voting.
Mitt Romney finished second, entitled to 17 delegates, while Gingrich was third and gets nine Tennessee delegates, based on the final state party’s determination.
The Republican SEC meets Saturday to formally designate Santorum delegates, since no one was on the ballot as a Santorum delegate and to appoint delegates who were not elected – typically prominent Republican elected officials.
Campfield said today that he was asked to resign by a Gingrich campaign official, but replied that he understood resignation would mean Gingrich loses a Tennessee delegate. He also said the told the official he wa open to looking at other options. The official, the senator said, told him, “We’ll get back to you,” but never did.
Actually, says Nickas, if Campfield resigned, the Gingrich campaign could fill his slot with an alternative delegate and not lose one of the nine delegates the former House speaker won in Tennessee’s Super Tuesday.
Campfield said he is prepared to go to the convention as a Gingrich delegate and vote for Gingrich on the first two ballots, just as party rules require. The senator says the Santorum campaign has offered him a seat as a Santorum delegate.
The Republican National Committee on Friday issued its breakdown of the candidate delegate count in Tennessee based on results of the Super Tuesday presidential primary results:
Rick Santorum 29
Mitt Romney 16
Newt Gingrich 10
But Adam Nickas, executive director of the state Republican Party, says some of the congressional district results are so close that the state party won’t say what the breakdown is until the results are officially certified. And the RNC says its count is subject to change.
Tennessee will send a total of 58 delegates to the Republican National Convention, 55 based on Super Tuesday voting and the other three uncommitted as RNC delegates.
State Sen. Stacey Campfield, who resigned as co-chairman of Newt Gingrich’s Tennessee campaign last week, was nonetheless elected a Gingrich delegate in voting Tuesday.
On the other hand, state Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, who remained alone as head of the Gingrich Tennessee campaign after Campfield’s resignation, failed to win a delegate seat in the voting based on unofficial returns.
Twenty-eight “at large” delegates are allocated on the basis of Tuesday’s vote statewide and Adam Nickas, executive director of the state Republican Party, said the unofficial results will translate into 12 statewide delegates for Rick Santorum, nine for Mitt Romney and seven for Gingrich.
Campfield and Shipley were among 10 persons on the ballot as committed statewide delegates for Gingrich in Tuesday’s voting, having qualified earlier this year. Under tentative state GOP plans, just the top four will get elected Gingrich delegate spots with the other three will be appointed by the Republican State Executive Committee in consultation with the Gingrich campaign, Nickas said.
Campfield finished second in the statewide delegate voting with 121,508 votes, just behind Sullivan County Commissioner John Gardner, also a Gingrich delegate. Shipley finished eighth with 111,909, meaning he does not win a seat.
As things stand now, Nickas said Campfield is considered elected as a committed Gingrich delegate, bound to vote for the former House speaker on the first two ballots at the Republican National Convention. From party rules, it appears the Gingrich campaign would have to release him as a delegate for him to step down, Nickas said, and if Gingrich did so, he would lose a Tennessee delegate.
By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam’s request for a federal waiver on gasoline standards is a first major test of his campaign pledge to recuse himself from issues that could affect the family-owned chain of Pilot Flying J truck stops.
An explosion at the Valero refinery in Memphis earlier this month led to concerns about gas shortages in the city, one of the country’s largest freight distribution hubs. Valero is also Pilot’s largest fuel supplier in the Memphis area.
The Republican governor told The Associated Press on Friday that he delegated the decision about requesting a fuel standards waiver to his deputy, Claude Ramsey.
“Obviously as governor I can’t just totally abdicate my responsibilities,” Haslam said in an interview outside his Capitol office. “But because I knew that somebody like you someday would ask a question, I said find out the right answer, talk to the local folks as well as our (Department of Environment and Conservation) people and come up with the right answer.”