While the head of Tennessee’s newly centralized procurement system provided examples to legislators of savings to taxpayers last week, declaring they collectively total $113 million to day, state Rep. Jeremy Faison offered another example that didn’t sound so good.
Chief Procurement Officer Mike Perry’s examples included a dozen “ballpoint stick pens” that previously cost the state $1.55 for a box of a dozen versus 47 cents today and a ream of paper, previously $3.10, now $2.77.
Office supplies counted for $8 million of the projected $113 million in savings, a figure that includes comparing new multiyear contracts with old ones as well as some one-time purchases. The biggest projected savings, $33 million, was on Oracle software through “strategic sourcing,” which involves negotiating with current contract holders.
In the latter case, the vendor initially said that new software needed to bring TennCare computers into compliance with new provisions of federal law would cost $39 million, Perry said. After the negotiation, the price was $6 million.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the best-known Tennessee supporter of Rick Perry’s presidential campaign, says the Texas governor called him early today to say he was bowing out of the race.
In a meeting with media, Ramsey quoted Perry as saying, “In the great words of Sam Houston, we’re taking a strategic retreat.”
(Note: In state political legend, Houston is better known for supposedly declaring, after stepping down as Tennessee governor, “The hell with you all, I’m going to Texas.”) (Note: Actually, Davy Crockett said that… With thanks to readers who pointed out my error.)
Ramsey said he was :very disappointed” and “I still think he’s the best person for the job.”
The Senate speaker said Perry’s poor showing can be attributed directly to his performance in early debates. He said Perry had been elected Texas governor three times, but had never had to engage in a debate and was thus inexperienced.
“I think he’d admit that he was poorly prepared for the first debates. That’s all it was,” said Ramsey.
Perry endorsed Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination as he withdrew. Ramsey said he’s not ready to endorse anyone, though supporters of Gingrich and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have both contacted him.
“I told them there’s a grieving period you have to go through,” said Ramsey.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who heads Rick Perry’s presidential campaign in Tennessee, and Rep. Toney Shipley, co-chair of Newt Gingrich’s campaign, both spoke to the Kingsport Times-News about the Iowa caucus results. Gingrich finished fourth and Perry landed in fifth place behind caucus winner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; second-place finisher and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum; and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who placed third.
… “I still think he’s the best person for the job,” Ramsey said of Perry. “I know him well. He’s done a great job as governor of Texas. Obviously, the (GOP presidential) debates killed him in my opinion. I don’t know if he survives through (the Jan. 21 GOP primary in) South Carolina or not. If he can’t make South Carolina, it is over. … That’s going to be a personal decision for him to hold out through Iowa and New Hampshire, and South Carolina or not. … Obviously (finishing fifth) is a blow.”
…State Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, is co-chairing Gingrich’s Tennessee campaign with state Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville.
“I think Newt Gingrich is undoubtedly the smartest man in the room,” Shipley said. “It was a rough night for everybody, but when you’re on the receiving end of $5.5 million in negative ads, man, they work. Let’s see if they can spend that kind of money in New Hampshire and spend it in South Carolina. Newt’s in. He’s not coming out. … I would venture he’s in at least through (the Jan. 31 GOP primary in) Florida. The (campaign) infrastructure is there. There may have been some shaky moments on the ground in Iowa in terms of organization. That’s not so here. It’s not so in Georgia or Alabama, or Florida or South Carolina. … I still think he’s the smartest man in the room.”
Four of the nine Republican candidates in Tennessee’s presidential primary ballot will have no committed delegates on the ballot with them on the March 6 ballot, while Mitt Romney has a surplus wanting to represent him at the Republican National Convention.
Candidates Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Perry also had a substantial slate of committed delegates on the ballot to qualify before the deadline earlier this month. Candidate Jon Huntsman has three — two of them being former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe and his wife, Joan.
Tennessee Republicans will elect delegates as well as choose their favorite as the party nominee March 6, though that part of the election gets relatively little attention. The candidates without delegates on the Tennessee ballot — Michelle Bachmann, Gary Johnson, Charles “Buddy” Roemer and Rick Santorum — can still win them at the polls and have delegates appointed later by the state Republican Executive Committee under party rules.
But getting delegates on the ballot does at least speak somewhat to a candidate’s organizational effort in the state, said Tennessee Republican Chairman Chris Devaney, who stresses his neutrality in the primary.
“I do think it shows a certain amount of organization on the part of the candidates who have gotten a good number of delegate candidates to run,” he said. “That certainly shows there’s a level of organization and that they’re thinking beyond the early primaries.”
News release from Rick Perry campaign:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Texas Gov. Rick Perry today announced the endorsement of six Republican Tennessee lawmakers, including Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, State Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown, State Sen. Jim Summerville of Dickson, House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny of Tullahoma, State Rep. Don Miller of Morristown and State Rep. Mark White of Memphis.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who endorsed Gov. Perry even before he announced his candidacy, praised his fellow legislators for their support.
“I’ve known Gov. Perry for a long time,” said Lt. Gov. Ramsey. “I was impressed when I first met him and my esteem has only grown as he has proven his leadership in Texas. The time for rhetoric is over. We need a man of action. We need a president who understands how to promote economic growth. We need a president who understands that the role of the federal government must be limited. Rick Perry has heeded the call to national leadership at the exact right moment for our country.”
“Rick Perry is the candidate who will get America working again,” said Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron. “Under his leadership, Texas has experienced an economic miracle creating more than one million net new jobs. Gov. Perry’s record is solid, proven and conservative.”
“Rick Perry doesn’t just spout conservative rhetoric — he implements tangible conservative reform,” said State Rep. Mark White. “Gov. Perry is a principled constitutional conservative who has cut taxes, reduced spending and stood up to the job-killing regulations from Washington bureaucrats.”
“I am humbled to have the support of so many Republican lawmakers in Tennessee,” said Gov. Perry. “They share my vision for a stronger America with more jobs, more freedom and less government intrusion in the lives of our citizens. With the help of these legislators, we will run a spirited campaign in Tennessee, and in 2012 we’ll get America working again.”
For more information about Gov. Rick Perry’s record, presidential campaign and plan to get America working again, please visit www.rickperry.org.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry’s Tennessee leadership team includes music industry executive Mike Curb, state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and fundraiser Stephen B. Smith.
Curb, owner of Curb Records and a former lieutenant governor of California, has been named honorary Tennessee campaign chairman, while Ramsey, a Blountville auctioneer, will serve as the active state chairman.
Smith was the national finance chairman for former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s political action committee and one of three Tennessee “Super Rangers” in President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004.
Ramsey and others are hosting a $2,500-per-person fundraiser for Perry in Franklin on Nov. 10, featuring the candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Other members of Perry’s Tennessee finance team include former state GOP chairmen Bob Davis and Tom Beasley. NOTE: The Perry campaign news release is below.
At a recent Knoxville fundraiser, a couple of hecklers told Texas Gov. Rick Perry to stay out of Tennessee, according to news reports, and the Republican presidential candidate responded that he’ll be back plenty of times.
But, of course, in all probability Perry’s visits — and those of other aspiring presidents — will be only to collect money for real campaigning in other states where votes actually matter. Barring the bizarre, the race for the Republican nomination will be over by the time Tennessee’s March 6 presidential preference primary rolls around.
Similarly, GOP candidate Herman Cain did a drive-through of Tennessee last week. At a Brentwood stop, he was questioned about whether such events were more a means to boost sales of his books than to promote his candidacy, according to WPLN radio. Well, no, he said, but then there’s nothing wrong with selling a few books while building name recognition.
Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman have dropped by Tennessee for similar visits. And, of course, the candidates always have nice things to say about our fair state as they’re collecting checks. But, frankly, some of those things said are a bit of a stretch.
About 150 people paid a minimum of $1,000 to attend a fundraising breakfast for Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas in Knoxville. Host committee members paid $2,500 each to his presidential campaign.
He also had fundraising events in Memphis and the Nashville area (where the crowd was said to be about 200.).
More on the Knoxville stop from the News Sentinel: U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. was in attendance. So was Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who endorsed Perry as his presidential candidate of choice last summer.
“We feel like he (Perry) has this ‘it’ factor we need to take this country to the next level,” said Ramsey.
Media was not allowed in for the fundraiser, but Perry hammered home a familiar message of jobs, jobs and more jobs in an impromptu press conference held behind the Fox Den Clubhouse.
“(It’s about) jobs and how to get America working again,” Perry said.
“If we talk about anything other than that, that’s a diversion. Until we have an economy in this country that’s growing, nothing else really matters. We’ve got to get rid of Obamacare and all of the regulations that are killing us.”
Perry said he’ll use Texas as a model for creating jobs by lowering the tax burden and getting government off the backs of small businesses: “For the last 10 years in Texas, we’ve created a job machine.”
Robert Black, Perry’s travel press secretary, said he anticipates jobs to continue to be the focus of the campaign.
“In coming weeks you’ll probably see the governor put out some major policy initiatives centered on jobs — which is on everybody’s mind,” Black said.
Like Haynes, Knoxville businessman and state Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, gave rave reviews to Perry’s grasp of the issues and his down-home style.
“I was very impressed and loved his energy,” said Matlock, who said he
will likely vote for Perry, Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain.
Matlock said Perry came across nothing like the “stiff” candidate he has sometimes been portrayed as during debates.
“He is so engaging,” said Matlock. “Today, he was just so refreshing.”
After spending less than two hours in Knoxville, the Perry campaign headed off to fundraisers in three other states.
Just before his departure, at the end of the short press conference, Perry was heckled by two unidentified people with video cameras.
They told him to stay in Texas, but Perry informed them he would be coming back to Tennessee many times in the coming months.
“Tennessee is very important,” the Texas governor said. “If you look back, Tennessee has been one of them (the states) that has made the difference — it’s a swing state.”
Lifted from the News-Sentinel:
As an impromptu Knoxville press conference was winding down, two unidentified men with video cameras made disruptive statements about the constitution and told Texas Gov. Rick Perry to stay out of Tennessee.
Perry responded that he’ll be back plenty of times.
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Perry shelled out a minimum of $1,000 per person to have breakfast this morning with the party frontrunner for the 2012 election at a campaign fundraiser at Fox Den Country Club in West Knoxville.
Perry, 61, arrived in a two-vehicle motorcade at Fox Den Country Club, 12284 N. Fox Den Drive, at 8:45 a.m. for the breakfast.
The event was closed to the media.
But in a 10-minute press conference, outdoors by the clubhouse, Perry focused on jobs.
He was asked to name his No. 1 priority.
“Jobs, how to get America working again,” Perry said. “If we talk about anything other than that, that’s a diversion.
“Until we have the economy growing, nothing else really matters.”
About 150 people attended the fundraiser, according to campaign manager Robert Black.
During a whirlwind tour today, Perry will attend a luncheon in Charlotte, N.C., then head to Wheeling, W.Va., then Atlanta.
Meanwhile, Tennessee Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester has targeted Perry in an attack news release. It’s available below.
The plurality of Rutherford County Republicans participating in a presidential straw poll Saturday night favored Texas Gov. Rick Perry by 29.4 percent to be the next president, reports the Daily News Journal. Perry had 96 votes from those attending GOP state Rep. Joe Carr’sannual T-Bones & Politics fund raising event at the Messick family farm in the Lascassas community northeast of Murfreesboro.
….Businessman Herman Cain and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts tied for second with 68 votes each, which was 20.9 percent each out of 326 ballots. Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was fourth with 32 votes, which was 9.8 percent. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was fifth with 24 votes, which was 7.4 percent.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was sixth with 21 votes, which was 6.4 percent. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was seventh with 13 votes, which was about 4 percent. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah had three votes, which was just under 1 percent. One other vote was listed as uncertain.