House District 13 Combat
In House District 13, one of the closest contests in the state, the state parties are weighing in with attacks on both Democrat Gloria Johnson ( Republicans, most recently, suggest she supports voter fraud ) and Republican Gary Loe (Democrats say he favors abortion in cases of rape and incest, for example> Story HERE. The Scene in Northeast Tennessee
The Johnson City Press, as part of a roundup of contests in Northeast Tennessee, includes a review of contested legislative races – though, naturally, Republicans are heavy favorites. Story HERE. Profiles Stories in Senate District 10
The Chattanooga Times-Free Press has campaign profile stories on Republican Todd Gardenhire and Democrat Andrae McGray.
It’s not every day that a legislator refuses to endorse his party’s nominee for the seat he’s leaving, observes Chris Carroll. But that’s the source of palpable awkwardness between Chattanooga mayoral candidate and state Sen. Andy Berke and the Democratic nominee for Berke’s 10th District seat, City Councilman Andraé McGary.
“People are coming up asking me, ‘Andraé, does Andy support you?'” McGary said Friday. “I have to tell them honestly and realistically, ‘I don’t know. I really don’t know.'”
McGary, 33, said he needs Berke’s reputation and vast fundraising network behind him as he battles against Republican Todd Gardenhire in a recently redrawn, conservative-leaning district.
“Andraé, I’m sure, is out there trying to establish his own identity,” Berke, 44, said Thursday. “I’m going to vote for him.”
But the Chattanooga attorney has no plans for the public show of affection McGary wants.
Berke’s political allies said he has his reasons, mostly involving the transition from an increasingly red vs. blue Legislature to the nonpartisan environment he must conquer to succeed Mayor Ron Littlefield in March city elections.
“It would probably make the Gardenhire people less inclined to support Andy,” said Councilman Jack Benson, who knows Berke and McGary well.
Major differences emerged between the men seeking Democratic state Sen. Andy Berke’s seat in a forum sponsored by the Chattanooga Voter Empowerment Group, the Chattanooga Times Free Press and NAACP, according to Chris Carroll. Asked how he would resolve a growing inner-city gun problem, (Todd) Gardenhire touted his endorsement from the National Rifle Association and said “responsible” gun owners shouldn’t be deterred by “the crazies” who obtain guns illegally.
(Andae) McGary quickly retorted that guns don’t belong in churches, schools, parking lots or the workplace. He blamed cuts in education for the city’s crime issues and criticized lawmakers who allow the Legislature to be used as “an open place for the NRA to declare war” on advocates for gun control.
When the questions ventured into education, Gardenhire came out in favor of school vouchers, an issue McGary said wouldn’t exist if “our schools were properly funded.”
After Gardenhire’s closing statement, McGary criticized its length and called it a “CPM” — what he later explained in a text message as a “colored people’s minute.”
“Gardenhire was supposed to limit his answer to a minute,” said McGary, who is black. “He took three.”
Race entered the discussion when Adams asked both candidates if Republicans were fair to minorities during the redistricting process.
“Whether somebody was being fair or unfair, it depends on what side you are,” Gardenhire said, drawing audible groans.
State Senate Democratic nominee Andraé McGary on Wednesday predicted his Republican opponent, Todd Gardenhire, “will campaign by putting forth lies” in the days before early voting begins Oct. 17.
From Chris Carroll’s report: Citing reports from “very reputable Republican sources” whom he declined to name, the 33-year-old Chattanooga city councilman declared that Gardenhire would paint him inaccurately as a liberal who supports a state income tax and accepts government assistance to provide for his wife and five young children.
Gardenhire and McGary are campaigning to represent Senate District 10, which includes portions of Bradley and Hamilton counties. State Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, isn’t seeking re-election so he can run for Chattanooga mayor.
A former radio talk show host who quit his job to run for office, McGary also said he’s heard of a “whisper campaign” that he sells drugs to finance his “nice suits.”
Gardenhire has made only one of the statements — the income tax issue — but McGary denied even the hypothetical rumors, calling them “blatant lies” during a news conference at Hamilton County Democratic Party headquarters in Chattanooga.
Gardenhire, 64, declined interview requests. Campaign spokesman Nick Collins issued a prepared statement that slammed McGary’s aggressive media strategy.
“Focusing on real issues is the only activity Mr. Gardenhire is engaged in,” Collins said. “Attempts to drag this campaign in the mud will be unsuccessful.”