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House District 13: Johnson vs. Loe a Close Contest

State Rep. Harry Tindell says state House District 13, which he has represented for 22 years, may be seen as a microcosm of the national presidential race when it comes to voters choosing his successor on Nov. 6.
Voters’ partisan options in the district are Democrat Gloria Johnson, a politically active school teacher, and Republican Gary Loe, a former television reporter who now runs a video production operation. Nick Cazana, a retired businessman, is on the ballot as an independent candidate.
“I don’t think anybody can tell you who is going to win,” said Tindell, a Democrat who has met with all three candidates while not declaring his support for any of them.
He basically agrees with The Tennessee Journal, a statewide political news publication, which rates the contest as a tossup between Loe and Johnson. The difficulty in political prophesy, Tindell said, rests in the fairly even balance between Republicans, Democrats and independent-minded voters — rather like the national presidential election picture and a striking contrast to most districts statewide.
While the nation has red states, blue states and swing states, Tindell said, District 13 has red precincts and blue precincts and swing precincts. The red precincts are in the south of the oddly shaped district designed by Republican-drafted redistricting earlier this year.

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Jimmy Duncan Has Opponents and 100,000 New Voters

U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, senior member of Tennessee’s congressional delegation, is introducing himself to voters who were not previously part of his district before reapportionment earlier this year, reports Michael Collins.
Nearly 100,000 voters in Jefferson, Grainger, Claiborne and Campbell counties have been thrown into the 2nd Congressional District, which also takes in all of Knox, Loudon and Blount counties.
Duncan, who turns 65 later this month, said he already knows many of the new voters and has been making an effort to introduce himself to the others. He has attended ribbon cuttings, spoken at GOP dinners, held meet-and-greets with local officials and mailed out a campaign flier to potential primary voters in the new district.
In the Aug. 2 primary, Duncan will face two little-known Republicans – Joseph Leinweber Jr., an Air Force retiree who lives in Knoxville, and Nick Ciparro, a full-student who is also from Knoxville. Neither Leinweber nor Ciparro has held public office, and neither expects to spend more than a couple thousand dollars on the race.
The winner will face Democrat Troy Christopher Goodale in November.
Both Leinweber and Ciparro have tried to portray Duncan as someone who is ineffective, out of touch and has been in office far too long.
“John Duncan is a nice guy, but I think it is time for him to go,” said Leinweber, 60, who ran against the congressman two years ago as an independent.
Leinweber, who supports term limits and believes Congress should stick to the powers given to it in the Constitution, said he’s running because the federal government is broken and useless. “I don’t even call it Washington – I call it the district of corruption,” he said. “It’s an affront to George Washington put his name there.”
Ciparro, 32, also supports limited constitutional government and says lawmakers should stop spending money the government doesn’t have.
“To be honest, I don’t want to be in Congress – I hate those guys,” Ciparro said when asked why he’s running. But, “that might be also why I’m running. I’m tired of a bunch of do-nothings running things.”
For his part, Duncan said if he’s re-elected, he will keep pushing for many of the same things he has championed since he was elected to succeed his father, John J. Duncan Sr., more than 23 years ago. That includes fiscal conservatism, lowering the national debt, holding down energy costs and pursuing a non-interventionist foreign policy to keep the country out of unnecessary wars.
To those who think he has been in office too long, Duncan says, “I’m very grateful for the people for electing me through the years, and I’ve worked very, very hard. I’m willing to keep on working just as hard as I ever have over the next couple of years.”

GOP Candidate in House District 74 Faces Residency Questions

An organization calling itself the Common Sense Coalition on Friday unleashed a series of accusations against City Councilman Nick Steward, who is running for the Republican nomination to the State House, reports the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle.
Among the claims are that Steward has misrepresented his place of residence in order to run for City Council, and again to run for House District 74.
Steward is running against Lauri Day of Humpheys County for the GOP nomination for that seat, with early voting starting Friday, July 13.
“It’s disappointing that my primary opponent and her surrogates would resort to mudslinging and personal attacks,” Steward said in response Friday. “You might want to be an adult rather than have someone else do your hatchet work.”
Day did not return calls seeking comment..
Similar claims have also been brought forward by Rep. John Tidwell, the Democratic incumbent in District 74
The claims are outlined by Neil Revlett, founder and chairman of the coalition, a libertarian-influenced group founded in the wake of the Tea Party movement. Day lists membership in the Humphreys County Tea Party among her affiliations.
Revlett, who ran as a Republican against state Rep. Joe Pitts in 2010, said he was sending his accusations to the District Attorney’s Office, as well as the Election Commission.
“I just hope an investigation goes forward, and we can get to the bottom of this,” Revlett said by phone Friday. “These rumors have been circulating for a couple of years, and it’s time he put these rumors to rest.
As reported in The Leaf-Chronicle in August 2010, Steward ran for the Ward 1 council seat on the basis of his residence being a rented room in the basement of then-Councilwoman Barbara Johnson.
At the time, he owned a house at 236 Short St. in Ward 5. He said he moved in with Johnson because he didn’t want to live alone while his wife was deployed in Afghanistan.
Steward said Friday, though, that he and his wife legally separated in spring 2010 and divorced about a year later. The Short Street residence belongs to his ex-wife, and he hasn’t “even been to her home” since he moved out.