Davidson County’s Democratic lawmakers voted Monday to replace longtime election commissioner Eddie Bryan with attorney Tricia Herzfeld, less than a month after Bryan sided with Republicans to give foreign-born voters extra scrutiny, according to The Tennessean. In a letter to the State Election Commission, state Rep. Brenda Gilmore, chairwoman of the county’s Democratic delegation, praised Herzfeld as “an exceptional lawyer in Davidson County who has worked tirelessly to preserve and protect the right to vote.”
….The change comes a week after The Tennessean reported that Bryan voted with two Republicans on the commission for a plan to review the citizenship status of recently registered voters who were born outside of the United States. Metro attorneys later said doing so would violate the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the National Voter Registration Act — also known as the “motor voter law” — by creating two different classes of voters and scrutinizing one class more than the other.
The Metro Law Department urged the commission to rescind the vote when it meets next week.
Bryan, 80, said his vote for the citizenship review had “nothing at all” to do with the delegation’s decision, which he said was fine with him.
“I’m not upset about anything,” he said.
Rep. David Hawk of Greeneville has won a new term while facing charges of domestic assault against his wife, unofficial returns indicate.
The Republican lawmaker, who stepped down as chairman of the House Conservation and Enviornment Committee after being charged in March, had 11,382 votes to 8,124 for former Democratic state Rep. Eddie Yokley, according to unofficial returns with most of the vote counted.
Here’s a sample of some of the direct mail pieces sent to mail boxes in state House District 5, where Republican Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, is in a tight race with former Democratic Rep. Eddie Yokley:
Democratic party mailer on Hawk’s domestic violence charge, HERE.
Republican party mailer on ‘Illegal Immigrants Support Eddie Yokley,’ HERE.
Republican party mailer, Eddie Yokley voted to use taxpayer dollars for abortions, HERE.
Republican party mailer: Eddie Yokley has a record ‘Barack Obama would be proud of,’ HERE.
Republican party mailer comparing Yokley’s ‘Obama liberal values’ with Hawk’s ‘Tennessee conservative values,’ HERE.
David Hawk and Eddie Yokley both say they have striven for civility in their Greene County competition for the right to represent citizens of House District 5, but political party powers in Nashville are pushing the campaign in a mean-spirited direction.
As of Friday, the Tennessee Republican Party had sent seven direct mail pieces into the district that Yokley says range from “terrible distortions” to “outright lies,” accusing the Democratic candidate of everything from “Chicago cronyism” to support for illegal immigrants and taxpayer-funded abortions. Hawk disavows them all.
The Tennessee Democratic Party last week sent voters in the district a direct mail piece outlining domestic violence charges that Hawk faces, which are adamantly denied by the Republican lawmaker. Hawk says it is “unfortunate that the Democrats have resorted to personal attacks.”
Yokley disavows the mailer, saying he and his local supporters have strictly avoided mention of allegations that Hawk attacked his wife. The charges against Hawk have been bound over to the Greene County grand jury. (Note: This has been corrected from the original post, which mistakenly said Hawk has been indicted.)
Still, both men say their party’s mailers are better than the other party’s attacks.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Davidson County election training session is coming under scrutiny for teaching poll workers to challenge voters they believe may not be U.S. citizens.
Davidson County Election Commissioner Eddie Bryan, a Democrat, told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/R1l8yV) he believed the training was designed to block immigrants from legally voting.
But Republican election officials said it was designed to teach poll workers how to deal with a potential challenge.
Under the state’s Challenge the Right to Vote Act, poll workers may ask a voter to take an oath that they have the right to vote. Those refusing the oath cannot vote.
The training last month told poll workers that citizenship requires the ability to read, write and speak basic English, but it noted exceptions for immigrants over 50 and those with impairments.
Democrats are crying foul over Tennessee Republican Party mailers attacking two East Tennessee Democratic legislative candidates.
A direct mail piece targeting former state Rep. Eddie Yokley, who is opposing incumbent Republican Rep. David Hawk of Greeneville, charges that the Democrat “supported taxpayer funding of abortions” in a 2009 House floor vote.
“You thought you knew Eddie Yokley, but Eddie says one thing in Greene County and does something different in Nashville,” declares the mailer. It includes a black-and-white photo of Yokley with a grim expression on his face and a copy of the printed roll call vote on HB1756 with his name circled under the list of those voting no.
“This is shameless and too far,” said Brandon Puttbrese, communications director for the Tennessee Democratic Party. “Would these pathetic politicians rather see young women and children die from preventable diseases than see Eddie Yokley in the state House?”
The bill in question was aimed at Planned Parenthood from receiving funding for providing “women’s health services” in Shelby and Davidson counties. The services provided under those contracts included contraception along with disease treatment and prevention, but did not include abortions.
As Puttbrese noted, taxpayer funding of abortions is otherwise prohibited by Tennessee law and has been for years.
Frank Cagle’s column this week is about three state House races where he thinks Democrats have a chance this fall. Most of the discussion is about the contest between Democrat Gloria Johnson and Republican Gary Loe for the Knoxville seat vacated by Rep. Harry Tindell. If the Democrats in Knoxville turn out in droves to vote for Obama, it could mean a really healthy turnout for Johnson. There are no really hot local races to fire up Republicans. I don’t think they are worried about U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., losing his race.
Across most of the state, Obama at the top of the ticket is going to cause problems for Democrats down the ballot. Even some veteran Democratic House members in rural West Tennessee might be in trouble. But in Knoxville, urban Democrats are more likely to vote heavily for the president’s re-election.
…There are two other House races where former House members are trying for a comeback.
In Greene County, state Rep. David Hawk was arrested for assaulting his wife. Three opponents split the majority of the vote in the Republican primary, allowing Hawk to squeak in with a plurality. He is being challenged by former state Rep. Eddie Yokley, a likable Democrat who served four terms in the House in a district that used to include part of Greene and also Cocke County.
Who has more baggage in the election? Yokley has Obama at the top of the ticket in a rural, small-town East Tennessee county. Hawk spent a night in jail.
I rate it a toss-up.
Over in Oak Ridge, Republican state Rep. John Ragan is being challenged by the Democrat he beat for the job, former Rep. Jim Hackworth. I think Ragan, a blunt-talking retired fighter pilot, holds on to the seat, but it is a place where Democrats can spend some resources and have a chance for an upset.
Brandon Puttbrese, communications director of the state Democratic Party, thought enough of the following Greeneville Sun story to email it around. It’s about a meeting of the Greene County Republican Women’s Club, whose chair is the wife of state Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville.
Hawk has three opponents in the Republican primary, who aren’t mentioned in the story by name. They are Duncan Cave of Greeneville, Ted Hensley of Chuckey and Bradley Mercer of Afton.
Also not mentioned in the story is the misdemeanor domestic violence charge pending against Hawk for an alleged assault on his spouse. An excerpt: During the club’s monthly meeting, President Krystal Hawk called on those running to prepare a clean race and asked the Republican members to support the primary winner against any candidate.
“If you’re a candidate, I expect you to join [as a sponsor of the women’s club]. Period, end of discussion,” she said on Monday.
Hawk explained that the club will vocally support all Republican candidates through the primary elections and financially support the Republican primary winners.
At the close of the meeting, she emphasized this point further without any specific reference to a particular person or incident. Hawk is the wife of State Rep. David Hawk, who is seeking re-election to the 5th District in a contested Republican primary.
“Everyone in this room has had a personal strife or a personal tragedy,” she said. “We stand by each other. At the end of the day, we will stand behind whichever candidate [wins the Republican primary]. Be good mannered and be well respectful of all the candidates.”
The speaker for the club’s luncheon, Claire Crouch, state president for the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women, drove a similar point home as well.
“I don’t care who it is, I’m for him,” Crouch said in reference to the presidential race. “That’s who I want — the Republican.”
At the state level, she called for the same support of any Republican candidate over a Democrat, even if the Democratic candidate is a good person.
“Once we have one good person standing, please make sure that’s the person that can beat (former state Rep.) Eddie Yokley,” she said in reference candidates for the 5th House District seat in the state legislature.
“He must not be underestimated,” she said of Yokley. “He is a good man. He’s a kind man, but he’s a Democrat.”
Crouch, who lives in Newport in Cocke County, called for the same unity behind the Republican primary winner in the 11th District seat (now held by Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, opposed in the primary by Phil Morgan Jr. of Newport), noting that Democratic primary candidate Marjorie Ramsey is also a good person but a “dyed-in-the-wool Democrat.”
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A proposal to strip employers of the right to ban firearms on company property is advancing again in the House, even though Gov. Bill Haslam says he doesn’t think it will pass.
The amended measure sponsored by Democratic Rep. Eddie Bass of Prospect passed out of the House Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee on a voice vote on Tuesday.
The original bill would have allowed people to store legally-owned firearms in vehicles parked at work — regardless of their employers’ wishes.
The new version would limit the bill to people who have a state-issued handgun carry permit. It is similar to the companion bill that was withdrawn from consideration in the Senate.
However, Bass said he’s talked to the Senate sponsor and he’s agreed to revive the legislation, which has a provision that would allow individuals with state hunting licenses to store their firearms on company property.
PULASKI, Tenn. (AP) — State Rep. Eddie Bass, a Democrat who had considered running for re-election as a Republican, is retiring from the General Assembly.
Bass, a former Giles County sheriff, told WKSR-AM on Monday that he is leaving the Legislature to attend to his growing private businesses. He is the eighth Democratic lawmaker to announce his retirement this year.
Bass’ flirtation with a party switch may have been thwarted when he angered Republican leaders by sponsoring a gun rights bill that they wanted to push off until next year.
The bill supported by the National Rifle Association would force businesses to allow employees to be allowed to store firearms in vehicles parked on company lots.
Bass is serving his third term in the state House after first being elected in 2006.