Tag Archives: district 33

GOP Spends $75K on TV for Ragan; Voucher-backing PAC Helps, Too

The House Republican Caucus has reported spending more than $75,000 on a television ad that supports Rep. John Ragan while criticizing his Democratic opponent — apparently the largest TV buy of the campaign season in a Tennessee state House race.
Financial reports for the period Oct. 1-27 indicate Ragan benefited from about $150,000 in Republican PAC spending, including the TV buy, while former Rep. Jim Hackworth, got about half that amount from the state Democratic Party.
“We spent it where we need it,” said House Republican Leader Gerald McCormick.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner said polling earlier in the campaign indicated Hackworth held a lead, but acknowledged the heavy Republican spending may have made a difference. He contended Republicans had reached a “saturation point” so that continued spending did them little good.
The candidates themselves in House District 33 have been spending less than their partisan allies, disclosures indicate. Ragan reported $66,989 in expenditures during the Oct. 1-27 period, including $20,000 in reimbursements to the House Republican Caucus for mailers, while Hackworth reported $56,331 in spending, including about $30,000 in reimbursements to the Democratic Party.
Ragan also benefited from $25,000 in spending on his behalf for advertising by the American Federation for Children’s Tennessee PAC. That’s more than spent on any other legislator’s campaign by the group, which advocates school vouchers — a topic that will be considered in the 2013 legislative session.
The PAC spent $145,300 between Oct. 1-27 supporting 18 candidates and the leadership PACs set up by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell. All those getting the PAC’s aid are Republicans.

House District 33: Ragan vs. Hackworth

The state’s Republican leaders have rallied behind fellow Republican Rep. John Ragan in his rematch clash with former Rep. Jim Hackworth while Democrats portray Ragan as an extremist, reports Bob Fowler.
Ragan has won endorsements from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Gov. Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Speaker of the House Beth Harwell.
Haslam in one news release is quoted as saying: “John has a true servant’s heart.”
The state Democratic Party has joined the fray, sending out scathing news releases and paid political ads slamming Ragan’s voting record and lambasting him as an extreme right-wing politician.
Republicans portray Hackworth’s record during four terms in the House as having a “long history of supporting tax increases, runaway spending, and a larger, more intrusive government.”
Ragan, 63, is a retired Air Force fighter pilot and is now a business consultant. He lists as one of his top issues is lowering the state’s jobless rate “by creating a business climate that encourages hiring.”
Ragan also says he wants to cut taxes and reduce state spending while increasing government efficiency.
He also calls for “more accurate and reliable education measurement capability and system accountability.”
Hackworth, 61, a fifth-generation Anderson County resident, is a retired senior facility engineer from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

McCormick Bashes Hackworth

The hotly contested 33rd House District race between incumbent Rep. John Ragan and his Democratic challenger, Jim Hackworth, has spurred furious sparring, with political salvos now being regularly lobbed at the state level by both parties.
The latest attack from the Republican Caucus brands Hackworth of Clinton as a job-killer in favor of big government and “reckless, Washington D.C.-style policies that are sending this country down the wrong path at an alarming pace.”
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga is quoted as the spokesman in a recent news release. The headline: Hackworth “hides liberal record.”
Hackworth responded, calling Ragan a “job killer” who has focused on “extreme policies that have hurt our schools and teachers, embarrassed our community and neglected his responsibility to create jobs.”
Hackworth said he has a “proven record of job creation,” and described himself as a “fiscal conservative.”

The full News Sentinel story is HERE.

Rep. Ragan: Criticism of Comments Taken Out of Context

State Rep. John Ragan is under attack for allegedly trying to water down an anti-bullying bill and for his opposition to gay rights, with the accusations coming from his political opponent, gay rights advocates and the state Democratic Party, reports Bob Fowler.
Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, who represents most of Anderson County in the 33rd House District, is immersed in a hotly contested race with Democrat Jim Hackworth of Clinton, whom he defeated two years ago.
Hackworth renewed attacks on Ragan on Monday when he formally launched his campaign and recited allegations from the state Democratic Party and the Tennessee Equality Project, which supports same-sex marriages.
Democrats and the Tennessee Equality Project have leveled numerous accusations against Ragan, including:
n He worked to give school bullies a “free pass” by exempting politically or religiously motivated actions from classroom behaviors deemed disruptive.
n He responded to a constituent’s letter by calling sexual orientation “a description of feelings,” adding that “feelings do not control the behavior of a mentally healthy adult human being.”
n In the same response, Ragan allegedly compared homosexuals to murderers, prostitutes and pedophiles.
Ragan said many of the allegations against him were taken out of context and he described them as his rhetorical responses to questions he was asked.
“The Tennessee Equality Project and members of the Anderson County Democratic Party support gay marriage, gay adoption and other policies that I don’t agree with,” Ragan said in a prepared statement.
“If they wish to protest me and support my opponent, then that is their right.”
Ragan called gay marriage “harmful to the family.”
He denied trying to water down and exempt gay bashing from an anti-bullying bill that never made it into law.
The purpose of that bill, he said, “was to make sure that schools differentiate between bullying and students exercising their First Amendment right to express deeply held religious beliefs.”
The proposed legislation, Ragan said, did “not condone violence or bullying, and protects students by giving the authority to the school personnel to determine what is free speech, and what is bullying.”
An Anderson County man who organized a protest against Ragan outside the Lake City Municipal Building when he appeared at a town hall meeting there last week disagreed.
According to Jeremy May, if the bill had passed it would have opened “a doorway for more bullies to be protected under law.”