Ted Welch, the man who has served as a central thread connecting the characters and campaigns of the now-dominant Tennessee Republican Party is entering a new phase, reports The Tennessean.
At 79, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight months ago, he is moving from the role of organizer of the party’s grandest events to honoree.
As his longtime friend (Lamar) Alexander gears up for a run at a third term in the U.S. Senate, Welch isn’t the one making calls to ensure the senator rakes in another $1 million during the next quarter.
Instead, the honorary finance chairman of Alexander’s re-election bid (the other being embattled Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam) is the subject of the senator’s next fundraiser, a “Salute to Ted Welch,” set for Tuesday in Williamson County.
“Every other time, he’s been organizing,” Alexander said, looking back at his numerous campaigns.
Welch, a former door-to-door Bible salesman and master of the fundraising phone call — a not-so-easy task for even the most seasoned politicos — stuck to a pretty simple formula: one call after another, flipping through a Rolodex, as he turned personal and political connections into money.
For more than four decades, Welch has played GOP fundraiser extraordinaire: from Gov. Winfield Dunn’s victory in 1970 to Alexander’s gubernatorial and Senate triumphs, to the more recent victories of Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Bob Corker. In between have been Sens. Howard Baker, Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, and new Republicans at the state level, such as House Speaker Beth Harwell.
…”If you’ve ever thought about running for politics in 30 years and you have not gone to have a conversation with Ted, you’re not doing it right,” said Bryan Kaegi, Alexander’s fundraiser and a Welch admirer.
Kaegi — along with his sister, Kim Kaegi, Corker’s chief fundraiser — is part of the next generation of Republican fundraisers who fall under the Welch tree. Another is Agnes Warfield, current fundraiser for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a woman called both the “Money Maven” and “The Money Lady.”
News release from House Democratic Caucus:
(Nashville) – State Rep. Gary Moore Thursday announced his retirement from the Tennessee House of Representatives after eight years of service.
“Gary Moore is one of my best friends,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory). “I’ve worked with him for 25 years in the Nashville Fire Department and I’ve literally stood shoulder to shoulder with him working to protect the people in our community. His colleagues this morning expressed their gratitude for his institutional knowledge and recognized the hole he will leave in our caucus.”
Moore, who was recently elected President of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council, spent his years in the House fighting for working families and formerly served as Democratic Caucus Treasurer. He serves on the House Consumer and Employee Affairs and Judiciary Committees.
Moore resides in Joelton with his wife, Gloria. They have two children and four grandchildren. He represents District 50, is active in the communities he represents, and is a member of First Baptist Church, Joelton. He attended the National Labor College and Volunteer State Community College.
He served as a Nashville Firefighter for 30 years, and held the position of Captain for 11 years. He has over 40 years experience in developing various types of business and community organizations on a local, state and multi-state level.
With a profound concern for the environment, youth, senior citizens, veterans and the citizens of Tennessee, Moore is always willing to organize or become involved in any cause that will benefit them. He is a seasoned charity fundraiser, organized a citizens environmental group, is a founding member of “Get Kids Hooked on Fishing Instead of Drugs” and has organized Property Tax Assistance, Inc., a 501 ( c ) 3 that provides tax assistance to low income senior citizens.
“Gary will be missed as a colleague in the House, but we know he’ll still be around fighting for the causes we all stand for,” Turner said.
From Richard Locker:
State Rep. Jimmy Naifeh of Covington, who served as House speaker for longer than anyone in Tennessee history, is expected to announce today he won’t run for re-election this year after 38 years in the General Assembly.
Naifeh, 72, a Democrat, was elected in 1974 to a seat in the state House and then re-elected 18 times.
The House elected him its speaker, the chamber’s powerful presiding officer, for nine terms from 1991 until 2009, when Republicans won the majority. He’s remained an outspoken member, leading the opposition to cuts in lottery-funded scholarships this week.
He would not comment as word of his expected announcement this morning on the House floor spread through the Capitol Wednesday night, but legislative sources confirmed that the announcement is planned.
His District 81 includes most of his home Tipton County and all of Haywood County. But Republicans moved heavily Democratic Haywood out of the district in this year’s redistricting and merged all of Tipton into the new 81st.
In 2008, Naifeh carried both counties and won re-election by a margin of more than 2-to-1. In 2010, he lost Tipton by 681 votes but won by winning Haywood by more than a 3-to-1 margin.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Lee S. Anderson, who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press for 70 years, has announced his retirement.
Anderson is associate publisher and editor of the newspaper’s opinion page. He will retire on April 18, according to the newspaper (http://bit.ly/yGoH0Y ).
Anderson is 86 years old and said of his career that he wouldn’t change a thing. He said he was 16 when the paper hired him. When the surprised youth asked when they wanted him to start, the answer was “immediately.”
Walter E. Hussman Jr., publisher and chairman of the Times Free Press, said Anderson has been inspirational because of his dedication, loyalty, work ethic and passion for newspapers.
Jason Taylor, president and general manager of the Times Free Press, called Anderson’s career “nothing short of legendary.”
In the face of intense political pressure, the board of the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corp. on Friday voted to accept the retirement of Ray, who is the organization’s president and CEO and has drawn criticism for a compensation package that exceeds $400,000, reports Josh Flory. The board hasn’t yet achieved closure, though. Ray’s retirement is contingent upon the two sides reaching an agreement about its terms. If no agreement is reached, the board appears willing to fire Ray at a meeting in two weeks, but it will have to decide if there is legal cause for such an action under her contract.
Ray told the board on Friday that she does not believe termination with cause is warranted, but if she is fired without cause Ray is entitled to three months of compensation as severance. Whatever the outcome, the forced retirement represents a stunning fall from grace for a woman who has been a trailblazing leader in Knoxville.
Ray was the first women’s athletic director at the University of Tennessee, the first woman to serve as commission chair of the Knoxville Utilities Board, and in 2010 was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. In addition, KTSC operates out of a building on Gay Street that bears her name.
State Rep. Harry Tindell said today he will end his 22-year career in the state House rather than seek reelection to a seat that will require an intense, vigorous campaign after redistricting.
“It’s going to take a lot of work and long hours for campaigning, the fundraising,” said Democrat Tindell, 51. “I’m not sure I’m going to have the ability to do it all with all the commitments I’ve already made.’
The House District 13 seat that Tindell now holds was transformed by a Republican-drafted redistricting bill approved last week into what he described as ‘a coin-toss district.”
“I think it’s going to be the most competitive district in the state,” he said “I think people want two choices. I think all districts in the state should be this way.”
He predicted that multiple candidates will seek both the Republican and Democratic nominations to the seat in the August primary, though declining to name any of them. He predicted the winner in November will be decided by less than 300 votes.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — James M. “Mike” Williams won’t be the last Democrat standing in Rutherford County for long.
The 63-year-old road superintendent is the last Democrat to hold a local elected office here and plans to retire next August.
Williams told The Daily News Journal that part of his decision not to seek a sixth four-year term is that Republicans captured the other seven county constitutional offices as well as all six of the county’s delegation seats in the Tennessee General Assembly (http://on.dnj.com/syNQG3).
Williams considers himself a conservative Democrat and says if he did run again he would stick to his party because “I don’t feel you should jump parties to get elected.”