A Democratic activist from Monteagle, Tenn., says she’s eyeing a potential run in Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District in 2014, reports the Chattanooga TFP. Lenda Sherrell, a retired CPA who worked last year as a Tennessee volunteer for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, said she is in a “very early exploratory” stage of seeing whether to run in the sprawling district, which takes in all or parts of 15 counties.
“Frankly, I’m just not far enough along to know for sure that’s what I’m going to do,” said Sherrell, who formerly lived and worked in Chattanooga. “But it’s a possibility.”
The district is now held by U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., a South Pittsburg, Tenn., physician, who already faces GOP primary opposition in 2014 from two announced candidates — state Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, and state Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas.
“I’m a wife, a mother and grandmother, all of my life I’ve spent a lot of my time volunteering in the community,” said Sherrell, who spent some three decades in Chattanooga where she worked for a local accounting firm and once served as the private McCallie School’s controller.
The lone Democrat to voice interest in running against Gov. Bill Haslam for governor said he’ll stick to running for re-election to his West Tennessee House district instead, reports The City Paper. “I’m committed to continuing as leader and trying to run for my representative position again. That’s what I’m going to do, I believe,” House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh told The City Paper.
“I certainly hope that we can find somebody who will step forward because I do think some of the things that are happening in our state are not going the way that they could,” he said.
Fitzhugh first raised the possibility of a run for governor in December. (Previous post HERE)
See also, The Tennessean story.
State legislators would pick nominees for Tennessee’s U.S. Senate seats under a bill approved by a state Senate committee with unanimous Republican support on Tuesday.
The bill by Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, calls for the House and Senate Republican Caucuses, meeting jointly, to choose the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate. The Democratic caucuses, in turn, would select the Democratic nominee.
The new system would not take effect until after the 2014 general election, meaning U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander would face reelection under the current system of voters picking nominees in contested primary elections. But if the bill (SB471) passes, senators would be chosen by the new process.
The bill (SB471) was appoved by the Senate State and Local Government Committee with all seven Republican members backing it. One Democrat, Sen. Reginald Tate of Memphis, voted no and the other Democratic member abstained.
Niceley noted that, prior to passage of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1913, state legislators directly picked U.S. senators. Senators have since been chosen by popular election, but Niceley said that Constitution does not say how candidates for the Senate must be chosen.
Most states have contested primaries for the Republican and Democratic nominations, but some have party caucus meetings instead. Under his plan, which Niceley said originated with the Goldwater Institute, legislators would basically act as a caucus picking nominees.
“That gets us back about half of what we lost in 1913, maybe a little bit more,” said Niceley.
He said “everybody agrees that Washington is broke” and his proposal is a step toward repair, selecting candidates while bypassing the Washington network of fundraising and lobbyists.
“This is sort of jerking their chain (in Washington),” he said. “If we don’t have the nerve to do this, we don’t deserve to be sitting here.”
— UPDATE: The bill cleared its first hurdle in the House, the State Government Subcommittee, on a voice vote Wednesday with Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville, as sponsor.
Democratic President Barack Obama won a bit more than 39 percent of the vote in losing Tennessee to Republican Mitt Romney last month. After the same election, however, Democrats hold just 21 percent of state Senate seats and 28 percent of state House seats.
Why the discrepancy? The most likely suspect, in a word: redistricting. The GOP controlled reapportionment this year for the first time since Reconstruction and when the election arrived, increased the majorities they had already under the old Democratic-engineered districts.
In the Senate, Democrats were reduced to seven of 33 seats; in the House, to 28 of 99.
Now, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey had some additional thoughts when asked about this the other day, the gist being that the Republican legislative election machinery is superior not only to its Democratic counterpart, but also to the GOP presidential campaign.
“We ran a campaign and he (Romney) didn’t,” said Ramsey. “It’s all about organization.”
But he conceded redistricting was a factor.
Both national presidential campaigns ignored Tennessee equally, Democrats writing it off and Republicans taking it for granted. So that playing field was pretty level.
Brian Stevens, who has already launched a campaign for the Democratic nomination to oppose Republican state Sen. Stacey Campfield in 2014, is the subject of a lengthy political profile piece in this week’s Metro Pulse. The tall and strapping Stevens embarked on this venture earlier in the year and took advantage of the campaign season to get his message out early to likely voters. He’ll need those two years, he says, if he wants to win the state Senate District 7 seat.
“If no one’s ever heard of me, they’re going to reject me,” he says. “We have to fill in that blank. And then I come in and create the rest. It’s hard. Beating Stacey Campfield is not going to be an easy job.”
Stevens, 30, is a statistics professor at the University of Tennessee. This semester, he’s also picked up a math class he’s never taught before–and he’s learning the material right along with his students. He says he reads the textbook himself and works out the example problems before teaching a lesson. If a student asks him a question he can’t answer, he tells him or her he’ll look it up himself. On top of his bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s in business analytics, he’s worked a slew of unrelated jobs, including working on an archaeological dig in Texas. In college, he was a member of the student government.
“I’ve had positions of authority and leadership,” he says. “My experience is there for my age.”
Stevens will run on the Democratic ticket, but mostly for the purposes of raising his odds against Campfield.
“I know a third-party candidate will only increase Stacey Campfield’s chances. And it’s not so much about party because it is about me as a person,” he says.
Stevens and his supporters don’t use the word “Democrat” to describe him very often; they prefer “social libertarian/fiscal moderate.” In fact, “Democrat” isn’t used on his official website or on his Facebook page.
…Though Stevens’ platform is fairly typical of Democratic ideals–it includes support for environmental protections, marriage equality, and more efficient education strategies–he says he would defer to Haslam’s business knowledge when it comes to creating jobs.
“He knows what will bring business here. And I think it’s great we have a businessman as a governor,” Stevens says.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal appeals court has dismissed the appeal of a Tennessee lawyer who was denied Arkansas delegates despite winning 42 percent of the vote in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed John Wolfe’s appeal on Wednesday, the day after President Barack Obama was re-elected.
The court says Wolfe didn’t respond to an order last month.
Wolfe filed a notice of appeal in federal court last month after a federal judge dismissed his lawsuit against the Arkansas Democratic Party.
The judge said Wolfe couldn’t prove that the state party violated his rights when it refused to award him any delegates.
The party says Wolfe didn’t follow party rules.
Wolfe didn’t respond to a phone message left Wednesday.
A Democratic super PAC has jumped into the Tennessee 4th Congressional District race with an ad slamming Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais over revelations that he once had sex with a patient and encouraged her to seek an abortion, reports Andy Sher.
The House Majority PAC is spending”more than” $100,000 in the campaign and it is the first evidence that Democrats see Jasper’s DesJarlais, who has campaigned as being anti-abortion, as being vulnerable in his contest with Democrat Eric Stewart.
The group’s ad, “Trust,” begins airing this evening. “Trust and faith,” it says. “As a doctor, Scott DesJarlais earned his patients’ trust.” The ad then cuts to extensive news coverage of the abortion controversy.
View the House Majority ad HERE. “Scott DesJarlais’ incredible hypocrisy is just staggering,” said Alixandria Lapp, executive director of House Majority PAC, which is linked to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a statement. “Tennesseans deserve better than Scott DesJarlais, for whom touting the values of trust and faith was nothing more than lip service.”
DesJarlais’ campaign issued a statement charging Stewart “has tried to run from his strong backing of Barack Obama and Obamacare throughout this campaign by pushing out recycled, 12-year-old garbage to keep from talking about his support of liberal policies that are killing jobs in Tennessee.”
“His out-of-state, liberal attack team that works hand in hand with Obama is now trying to hijack this race from Tennesseans — but they are too smart to fall for that.”
— Note: The Tennessee Democratic Party, meanwhile, has a web video that is being passed around on the Internet, also bashing DesJarlais. It is HERE.
— Note2: DesJarlais is currently up with an ad attacking Stewart for thinking that Obamacare” is “great,” Prior post HERE. The Tennessee Journal says the current DesJarlais ad buy is for $250,000.
In a short statement emailed to media today, Democrat Mary Headrick’s campaign announced she is suspending political activity temporarily because of a family illness. Here’s the statement: Dr. Mary Headrick, candidate for the 3rd District Congressional District, Tn. race is announcing a brief suspension of campaign activities for a few days. She will be out of State with her brother who is critically ill and undergoing emergency surgery. Dr. Headrick asked that people pray for her brother, Greer, to have a successful operation and recovery.
Note: For a copy of Headrick’s last news release before the suspension, which criticizes Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann’s “jobs plan,” see below.
Democrat Alan Woodruff of Gray is running against history in Northeast Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District, observes the Kingsport Times-News, since no Democrat has been elected to represent the district in either the 20th or the 21st century. Woodruff was quick to be lighthearted about politics when asked about his campaign plan.
“You need to understand I suffer from a serious case of (Vice President) Joe Biden disease,” Woodruff said with a smile. “If you ask a question, I’m likely to give you an answer. But, as an example of partisanship, I also adopt the (GOP presidential challenger) Mitt Romney philosophy that I may forget what I’ve said, but I’m sure I stand by it.”
Woodruff, a 69-year-old attorney, is going up against two-term GOP incumbent U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, plus two independent challengers and one Green Party candidate, in a long shot bid to win the district seat.
State election officials plan to look at the histories of voters who participated in the Republican primary in Davidson County this month to help determine if voters were routinely given the GOP ballot by default, reports The Tennessean. Mark Goins, the state’s elections coordinator, said Tuesday that he wants to figure out if Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall’s experience was isolated or common. Advocacy group Tennessee Citizen Action announced publicly Monday what Goins had known for 11 days: that Hall, an elected Democrat, had voted in the Republican primary after poll officials failed to give him a choice.
Tennessee Citizen Action said Hall and others were victims of Davidson County’s new electronic poll books defaulting to the Republican primary if voters didn’t express a preference for one primary or the other on Aug. 2.
While Goins said “default” is actually the wrong term, he acknowledged that the Republican primary was listed first in the poll books, which state law required because the GOP is currently in power in the General Assembly. He said the Republican primary also was highlighted, and poll officials either failed to ask voters if they wanted to vote in a primary or, if they did ask, they failed to highlight the Democratic primary once voters expressed that preference. As a result, those voters received a Republican ballot.