Attorney Jeff Yarbro has taken a commanding fundraising lead in the Democratic primary to replace longtime state Sen. Douglas Henry, hauling in more than four times the figure of his opponent, Metro Councilman Jason Holleman, according to The Tennessean. Yarbro raised $95,225 in the financial quarter that ended June 30, giving him a total war chest of $101,089, while Holleman raked in $22,200. The deadline to submit financial disclosures for 2014 state elections was Monday.
…Besides these two, no one else has publicly expressed intentions to run for District 21, which now stretches from West Nashville to parts of East Nashville and Madison after Republican-controlled redistricting.
The contest between Yarbro and Holleman, considered a bitter rivalry, is likely to be Davidson County’s most watched race in 2014. The winner would be heavily favored in the November general election.
Former State Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield has announced as a candidate for the District 25 state Senate seat now held by fellow Republican Jim Summerville of Dickson.
The district includes Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Humphreys and Robertson counties.
From The Tennessean: Roberts served as state senator for District 18 from March 2011 until November 2012 after being elected to finish the term vacated by Diane Black, who was elected to Congress in November 2010. Roberts left office on Nov. 6, having been drawn out of the district he represented by the legislature.
Robertson County was separated from Sumner County in District 18 and moved into District 25, which is represented by (Summerville, who was not up for re-election in 2012, but will be in 2014.)
…Roberts’ announcement comes days after State Rep. Joshua Evans, R-District 66, confirmed to the Robertson County Times that he is also considering making a bid for the seat.
The incumbent, Summerville, has already announced his intentions of running for reelection. And Wayne White, a Republican from the city of Slayden in Dickson County, has also announced his candidacy.
Monty Lankford, a Franklin businesman who says he has been considering a run against
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in the Republican primary, sent an email to supporters today saying he won’t enter the race.
Lankford, who chairs political action committees called Leaders of Tennessee and Defenders of Freedom, says in the email that, after meeting with Alexander and others, he will instead be helping Alexander’s re-election effort.
Here’s the email:
Over the past several months I have followed a deliberative process in Washington, D.C. and Tennessee as I considered running against Lamar Alexander for the U.S. Senate. After much prayer I have decided not to run and I have pledged my full support to Lamar. In the past few weeks Lamar has been to my home, he’s met with me and my family, and I have shared with Lamar my commitment to help him win his re-election to the U S Senate.
In a Murfreesboro Daily News Journal column, Stephen Shirley discounts the prospectss of a successful challenge to 4th District Congressman Scott DesJarlais in the 2014 Republican primary. DesJarlais has already said he intends to run in 2014. Any candidate who chooses to challenge him then will have to find the argument of why he or she is a better candidate than the incumbent.
Bill Ketron couldn’t find that opening earlier this year. Despite having pandered to right-wing extremists for two years, Ketron still couldn’t find any room to the right of DesJarlais. Tacking more to the center was never going to fly for the rabble-rousing state senator, so he skipped the chance to challenge a first-term incumbent introducing himself to a new district.
The obstacles for any challenger two years from now will only be steeper. DesJarlais will have had two years to introduce himself to his new constituents in the 4th District and to voters in Rutherford County. He will have two more years to build his campaign war chest with the fundraising advantage of being a sitting representative. And most importantly, the personal baggage of the divorce proceedings will be in the even more distant past and the explosive nature of the details have already proved to be a dud.
In 2014, there will be plenty of room to center from which to challenge DesJarlais. But since it will be a GOP primary, moderation will be an incredibly tough needle to thread for a challenger. A primary electorate convinced that President Obama lacks a valid birth certificate and that creeping Shariah poses a viable threat to the American way of life isn’t going to be interested in words such as bipartisanship and pragmatism.
Chris Carroll, meanwhile, has a story rounding up comments on DesJarlais’ future from GOP local leaders in his district: County-level Republican Party leaders across the 4th Congressional District are split over supporting U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais if he seeks a third term in 2014.
On one hand, they take pride in proclaiming “the election is over” and praise their congressman for supporting conservative policies in Washington. On the other, they have a difficult time squaring DesJarlais’ anti-abortion, family-values platform with new details from his pre-political life.
And here’s an excerpt from the Tennessee Journal’s look at the situation: DesJarlais isn’t likely to resign, but whether he’ll run again in two years is an open question. He’ll have a hard time raising campaign funds in Tennessee. And if Washington views his reelection chances as slim, political action committee cash will be hard to come by as well.
On the other hand, if he has multiple challengers, it is conceivable he could win the primary with a relatively small plurality. Tennessee does not have a runoff law. But then, despite having survived the general election this year, he might be vulnerable to a Democratic bid.
NASHVILLE, TN – Today, the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee, acting in its role as the state primary board voted to uphold the primary election results in State House District 71 and Congressional District 9.
Election contests from Shirley Curry in State House District 71 and Charlotte Bergmann in Congressional District 9 were reviewed by a state primary board subcommittee which was appointed by Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.
(Note: Curry lost to Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, by four votes, according to unofficial returns. Bergmann lost to George Flinn by about 7,000 votes.)
The subcommittee unanimously recommended to the full committee that both election contests be dismissed based on their review of the election contests.
“I appreciate the hard work and diligence of the state primary board subcommittee in reviewing these contests thoroughly and fairly,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney.
“This review process proved that our procedures work when it comes to ensuring that we maintain the integrity of our electoral process. We are all united in our goal to defeat President Obama and Tennessee Democrats as we head toward November,” concluded Devaney.
The Jackson Sun has some details on arguments presented by Shirley Curry to a subcommittee of the state Republican Executive Committee in challenging her four-vote primary loss to state Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah. One involves supposedly false campaign advertising. A decision on the challenge is still pending. Curry, who is a member of the committee, says a number of factors, including Dennis allegedly misleading voters and voter confusion over redistricting, contributed to her loss in the primary.
Dennis disputes Curry’s claims, though he does not want to address Curry’s specific arguments while the issue is pending before the committee.
“It is unfortunate that the loser in this race is asking a group, of which she is a part, to overturn the will of the voters,” said Dennis, of Savannah. “But I am confident the board will see this election contest was hard fought but fair in every way.”
In Curry’s written arguments, she said Dennis sent a piece of mail to voters in Wayne, Lewis and Lawrence counties that said he was “your representative,” even though Dennis did not represent those counties when the legislature was in session.
The counties have been added to the district through redistricting and will be represented by the winner of the election when the legislature reconvenes. Curry, of Waynesboro, also said Dennis illegally franked the campaign mailing with the state seal.
Another piece of mail displayed photos of Dennis, state Rep. Joey Hensley and Gov. Bill Haslam, calling them the “Lewis and Lawrence Counties’ Team!”
According to Curry, Hensley did not know his name was used until he received the mailing.
Hensley’s cousin put up Dennis signs until Hensley talked to him, Curry said.
Two people told Hensley that they voted for Dennis because they thought Dennis was Hensley’s choice, she said.
Hensley confirmed the accounts. He said he did not want to speak on the race publicly, but when asked privately, he told people he was voting for Curry.
“When Vance sent this mail piece out, it really was disconcerting to me that he would do that when I had told him that I did not want to publicly endorse either one of them,” Hensley said. “… It made it appear I was endorsing Vance when that really wasn’t the truth.”
News release from Senate Democratic Caucus:
NASHVILLE – Democratic legislative leaders requested in a letter that state election officials delay plans to certify August primary results after alarming reports of voting machines that defaulted to the Republican primary ballot.
“Voting apparatus should never default to one party or another,” the letter states. “We join citizens around the state who now doubt the outcome of the August elections in Davidson County, and we demand a full investigation. We also demand that plans to certify the election tomorrow be suspended.”
Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle, Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Lowe Finney, House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh and House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner sent the letter to Secretary of State Tre Hargett Wednesday. An analysis of August turnout showed a 27 percent increase in Democratic turnout, compared to a 350 percent increase in Republican turnout.
“Frankly, it doesn’t even pass the laugh test,” the letter states.
The complete letter can be found here.
By Travis Lollar, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A public interest group in Nashville is calling for an investigation into the Aug. 2 Davidson County primary after several prominent Democrats were given Republican ballots.
Tennessee Citizen Action Director Mary Mancini provided reporters on Monday with copies of an Aug. 9 letter from Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall to Davidson County Elections Administrator Albert Tieche.
“I have always been asked which primary I choose to vote in and this time I wasn’t provided that opportunity,” he wrote. “Additionally, I understand from you that the system was set to default to Republican if no one asked or the workers did not change it to vote in the Democratic primary.”
State Elections Coordinator Mark Goins said in an interview that the problem was not exactly a default ballot, but that the choice of a Republican ballot was highlighted on the computer screen poll workers used. Some poll workers must have pressed the highlighted selection without thinking, he said.
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey isn’t sold on state Rep. Tony Shipley’s call for closed primaries in the aftermath of Shipley’s 10-vote victory over former Kingsport Alderman Ben Mallicote in the 2nd House District GOP primary. So begins a Hank Hayes story today. The rest of his report::
“I’m hesitant about that because we have gained (Republican) majorities in the state Senate and state House, and the way we’ve done that is literally hundreds of thousands of people across this state decide they are no longer Democrats and they want to be Republicans,” said Ramsey, R-Blountville. “When I came in the state House (in the 1990s), I’m not sure there were one or two Republicans serving west of the Tennessee River, and now it is almost all Republicans. I’m not sure we want to tell those (Democratic voters) they are not welcome in our party.”
Earlier this week, Shipley met with Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell to pitch the idea of closed primaries after his election review showed more than 1,200 GOP primary voters had previously voted in one or more Democratic primaries, and that he believed most were Democrats who voted for Mallicote.
Shipley, R-Kingsport, called his number a “guesstimate” although he didn’t have complete data from the Sullivan County Election Commission.
“The more accurate number would be a broad number from 200 to 2,000 (voters), but you can’t define it too precisely yet…” Shipley said. “We’re working on the numbers because we’re going to need it for closed primaries.”
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal judge on Thursday refused to void the Tennessee Democratic primary for U.S. Senate won by an anti-gay candidate the party has disavowed.
District Judge Kevin Sharp cited among the reasons for his refusal that the plaintiff, Larry Crim, was lacking certain filings and that there were errors in others. For instance, the Tennessee Division of Elections was named as a defendant instead of an individual, which should have been the election coordinator.
Sharp told Crim’s attorney, Michael Rowan, that once he got the proper items — such as a memorandum, affidavit and declarations — that he was welcome to file again.
“Before you can do anything, you have to follow the rules,” Sharp said.
Rowan, who acknowledged acting hastily in seeking an emergency ruling, told reporters after the hearing that he would talk to his client about how to proceed.
Crim sued the state Division of Elections and the Tennessee Democratic Party in trying to keep the winner of the Aug. 2 primary, Mark Clayton, off the November ballot.