Powerful congressional Republicans shrugged off a lingering abortion scandal Tuesday, hosting a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., as he escalated his quest for a third term, reports Chris Carroll. Six prominent Republicans, including three House committee chairmen, facilitated a closed-door DesJarlais event at an upscale Capitol Hill restaurant Tuesday evening. DesJarlais and two aides declined to comment as they walked in the door, so it was unclear how much campaign cash surfaced.
A few hours before DesJarlais allies gathered to dine and donate, one Republican leader praised the Jasper resident’s work ethic.
“DesJarlais has been a good, solid member of the [agriculture] committee,” House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said. “Very positive force in the farm bill markup last year. That’s really all I can say.”
Lucas ended the interview when asked to comment on news that rocked Tennessee’s 4th District last year.
A medical doctor, the anti-abortion Jasper, Tenn., congressman generated headlines in October and November after interviews and documents revealed he had sex with his patients and encouraged one to get an abortion. DesJarlais won a second term, but court documents later showed he supported his ex-wife’s two abortions while he was married to her.
In the middle of the debate over the hotly contested guns-in-trunks legislation, Rep. Joe Carr was heading to a Franklin fundraiser to boost his congressional campaign, reports The City Paper. Shortly before the final vote on the bill, Carr was excused for the day and left for a gathering at a country club of what he calls “close personal friends” supporting his bid for Congress.
“I made a calculated decision based on the votes that were necessary for passage,” Carr told The City Paper about his decision to leave before casting his vote on the controversial bill. “I don’t think it was an unreasonable choice that I made. Not unreasonable at all.”
He missed more than half the votes — including the final vote — on the guns-in-trunks bill that makes it legal for handgun carry permit holders to store their gun in their locked car in parking lots, including those of their employer.
…”I did not cast a vote on the final bill because I was not present, because I had left the chamber as a result of this prior commitment,” he said, adding he was confident the legislation would pass without him. “I think I made the right decision.”
Carr would not confirm the event for him on Thursday, Feb. 28, at Old Natchez Country Club in Franklin that morning was a fundraiser or how much money he raised. He said the gathering was “organized by some people who are asking me to take part in a 4th Congressional race.”
Meanwhile, from the Daily News Journal:
State Rep. Joe Carr has filed a statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission to run for Congress in the 4th District, but he is still hedging on official candidacy. Carr, a Lascassas Republican, filed a Joe Carr for Congress statement Feb. 19, listing Troy Brewer of Nashville as campaign controller and Murfreesboro dentist Nate Schott as treasurer.
In December, Carr formed an exploratory committee and began raising funds. The committee raised more than $5,000 toward a race, Carr said Friday, and he was required to file with the FEC.
“This means we are taking a serious look at it because the exploratory phase headed by Lee Beaman has gone better than expected,” Carr said, adding he expects to make an announcement in April.
Republican state Sen. Jim Tracy’s first major fundraiser for his 4th Congressional District bid is set for March 14 in Murfreesboro, reports the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.
Former Gov. Winfield Dunn; Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson, R-Hixson; and Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, are among the honorary hosts. The per-person price of a ticket is $250 while tickets for members of the sponsor committee are $2,500 per person or couple and $1,000 for host committee members.
Dr. Warren McPherson and his wife, Beverly, are holding the event in their home.
Tracy, of Shelbyville, is running against U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., a physician whose past personal controversies have made him vulnerable to challenge, Republicans say. State Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lacassas, also is weighing a bid, but Tracy has been the first challenger to announce officially
Report from Hank Hayes in the Kingsport Times-News:
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today arrested a Greeneville man for stealing money raised by his political action group in charge of organizing a GOP Presidential forum scheduled for October 2011 at the MeadowView Marriott in Kingsport.
The event was never held.
Fabian Farrell Story, 36, was indicted by the Washington County grand jury in November of 2012 on one count of theft over $10,000. Story was the executive director of the group called Conservatives on the Move, allegedly coordinating the political event.
The TBI says Story contacted Johnson City political activist, Phyllis White, on July 1, 2011, to help him raise money and organize the event. White raised approximately $30,000 and deposited it in a Washington County bank. The TBI investigation revealed that Story withdrew the money and it was not refunded to the donors.
Story was arrested by the TBI at the Rutherford County court house where he was appearing on a child support case. He was booked into the Rutherford County Jail on $10,000 bond and will be transported to the Washington County Jail tomorrow.
Almost 200 people are listed as hosts for Gov. Bill Haslam’s re-election fundraiser in Knoxville on Jan. 7, the day before the 108th General Assembly session begins, reports Georgiana Vines. The $1,000-per-person event for Knoxville’s former mayor will be 6-7:30 p.m. at Scripps Networks Interactive, 9721 Sherrill Blvd. Among the hosts is Ken Lowe, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Scripps Networks. The company is separate from The E.W. Scripps Co., which owns the News Sentinel.
…The host committee… includes numerous Knoxville business and professional people and a handful of political figures. Family members, including the governor’s father and stepmother, Jim and Natalie Haslam, also are on the list.
Mike Edwards, president/CEO of the Knoxville Chamber, is listed as a host, although his wife, Susan, is not. She is a vice president with KUB and generally remains out of the political picture. Rhonda Rice, the chamber’s executive vice president, and her husband, Bill, also are hosts.
Fred Marcum, an aide to former U.S. Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr., and Wayne Ritchie, a former state representative from Knoxville, are among the hosts.
The invitation notes an individual maximum for the governor’s race is $7,200 or $14,400 a couple.
Haslam also plans a fundraiser in Nashville before Jan. 8, when the Legislature opens. By state law, neither the governor nor lawmakers can have fundraisers during the session.
Gov. Bill Haslam says he’ll get his 2014 reelection campaign underway with at least two fundraisers – one in Knoxville and one in Nashville – before the legislative session begins in January.
The governor was asked Monday about House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh’s statement that he is considering a run for governor in 2014. He said “Craig has every right” to make the campaign, but it doesn’t alter his own plans.
“We’ve always intended to have a vigorous campaign,” he said, declaring plans for the two fundraisers. He gave no details of the events.
“I’ve always intends to do this regardless of the circumstances,” Haslam said.
Under state law, the governor and state legislators are prohibited from political fundraising while the General Assembly is in session. The session starts on Jan. 8.
The Republican governor’s plans for an early start contrast with Ripley Democrat Fitzhugh’s vow to put off launch as campaign as long as he can in the belief “the shorter the better.” Fitzhugh also said he recognizes Haslam has high popularity ratings and “deep pockets” to run a campaign, but believes Democrats need a candidate to “rally around” at the top of the ticket in 2014.
— Note: Previous post HERE.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Movie and television actress Ashley Judd and songwriter Rodney Crowell will headline a fundraiser in Nashville for the Tennessee Democratic County Chairs Association.
The Fire It Up! 2012 Election Kickoff Party on Thursday evening at the Cannery Ballroom will support the association’s plan to build networks of hometown Democrats in Tennessee counties.
Judd, who was selected to be a Tennessee delegate at the Democratic National Convention, is also having private seated dinner with donors prior to the event.
Crowell, who won a Grammy in 1989 for the song, “After All This Time,” will perform during the event along with country songwriter Gary Nicholson.
After genuflecting at the altar of barbecue with a reference to Rendezous’ ribs, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan reminded his supporters that President Barack Obama’s time in office needs to end, reports the Commercial Appeal. “This is the most important election in your generation,” the Wisconsin congressman said at The Racquet Club on Thursday afternoon.
“We are picking a path that will set in motion either a reclamation of the American dream,” he said, or one that will result in a “welfare state with a debt crisis” like Europe.
The fundraiser included a $10,000 photo opportunity, a $1,000-per-person reception attended by 220 people and then a $25,000-per-plate dinner at the home of FedEx CEO and founder Fred Smith.
Earlier in the day, the Wisconsin congressman raised $1 million at a similar fundraiser in Knoxville. (Note: News Sentinel story HERE; and the Memphis Daily News says $1 million was raised at Memphis, too.)
…He stressed the need to bring manufacturing opportunities back to America, touting the dangers of “spending money we don’t have.”
“We know what we need to do,” Ryan said. “We know how to pull it together. … This country knows we don’t want four more years of the same. They want to get back to growth and opportunity and we’re going to do that.”
Ryan praised Tennessee’s political leaders — including Gov. Bill Haslam, who hosted the fundraiser — saying that he wished “we had more of this Tennessee common sense.”
A who’s who of state GOP heavyweights turned out to support Ryan, including U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, state Sen. Mark Norris and U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher.
The Mitt Romney- Paul Ryan team wants to win a GOP victory “by acclamation” in the Nov. 6 election, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said today at a fundraiser at the Knoxville Marriott, reports the News Sentinel. Ryan told a crowd of 310 people that since President Obama can’t run on hope and change, he’s going to do it by dividing the nation and winning by default.
At the event, Gov. Bill Haslam announced that about $1 million was raised at the fundraiser. This included persons who donated at either the $1,000 or $10,000 level.
Those donating $10,000 were able to have their photographs with Ryan.
Ryan’s theme throughout the 15-minute speech was that voters have a choice between personal liberties and smaller government offered by the Romney-Ryan team — or bigger government and fewer liberties offered by the Democrats.
He said the Romney-Ryan ticket stresses the American system of freedom and free enterprise, while President Obama practices a different government and sees its role as establishing new government-defined rights.
Earlier today, with a wave to reporters and a nod toward a banner touting the University of Tennessee, Ryan had stepped off his campaign plane at McGhee Tyson Airport and headed for the fundraiser at the Marriott.
Republican state legislators raised almost $400,000 just from those on a major donor list during a Nashville fundraiser for their fall campaigns.
The event, held at the War Memorial Auditorium adjoining the Legislative Plaza, had 10 organizations or individuals designated as “sponsors” for contributing $25,000 or more and 13 on a “host” list that required a contribution of $10,000. Assuming each listed donor gave the minimum amount, that would mean at least $380,000.
Brent Leatherwood, spokesman for the House Republican Caucus, declined to give a specific amount of money collected saying the money “is still coming in” from some who made pledges. He said the goal was $400,000 and he hopes that was exceeded.
Others have suggested the take approached $525,000.
Those listed as $25,000 “sponsors” included U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan, two liquor distilleries – Brown Foreman and Jack Daniels – and two legislative lobbyist firms, Bivens and Associates and McMahan Winstead. Others were American Esoteric Laboratories, FedEx Corp., Joyce and willis Johnson, Teresa and Garry McNabb and StudentsFirst, an education reform group founded by fomer Washington, D.C., school superintendent Michelle Rhee.
Three congressmen were among those listed as $10,000 “hosts” – Reps. Diane Black, Phil Roe and Stephen Fincher.
Others in the $10,000 category were Natalie and Jim Haslam, state Comptroller Justin Wilson, the Tennessee Malt Beverage Association, Tennessee Bankers Association, Titlemax, Video Gaming Technology, Carl Hailey and three lobbyist firms.
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said Thursday that “it’s a whole lot easier” to raise money now that Republicans enjoy full control over the House and Senate. Asked why, he replied:
“I guess we’re just better looking, funnier and more attractive than we used to be,” he said.