Scott McNutt uses a comment by Courtney Rogers — that she’s not going to be a one-issue legislator after beating House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart — as a starting point for a satire salvo targeting politicians, the National Rifle Association and allies.
A Snark Bites excerpt: Cox suggested that the solution was for the NRA to appoint its own officials to state government.
“It’s less expensive, and we’d no longer have to go to the regrettable lengths of making examples of more of you — as our dear friend John Harris, president of the Tennessee Firearms Association, put it — with high-profile political crucifixions, as we were forced to do with poor Debra,” Cox explained.
Cox added that gun-advocate groups “probably represent a larger constituency than your Democratic counterparts in your so-called two-party system.”
Harwell responded that the Legislature’s leaders would do their utmost to respect the rights of gun zealots and find ways to coexist peacefully with them within the legislative structure.
“We will always do what is best for the state of Tennessee’s government,” Harwell said. “We are always open to discussion, but our job is to upend, er, uphold the Constitution and do what’s best for the state government’s officials. And if allowing the NRA to appoint its own government members is what’s best for us, you can rest assured they’ll be appointed, lickety-split.”
Cox said that, whether it was accomplished through sponsored legislators or NRA-appointed government officials, the organization would be passing a bill in the next legislative session to guarantee that weapons could await their owners in their owners’ vehicles parked at work, regardless of employers’ wishes.
…”In the next session, we plan to bring bills for guns in kindergartens, guns in nursery schools, guns in maternity wards and for emergency guns being installed in public places next to fire alarms with instructions reading, ‘In case of emergency, pull trigger,’ ” he explained. “Such emergency kits would have prevented some of the recent tragedies where innocent firearms were wrongly used.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam reacted cautiously to the dialogue between the gun activists and Harwell, saying he didn’t yet know if he would now pay fealty to the NRA’s Cox.
“It’s a little early to comment on whether I’ll be genuflecting to perform the traditional kissing of the NRA’s ceremonial rifle butt,” Haslam said. “But does this guarantee that we’ll be talking about how I might appease the NRA next year? Yes, it does.”
Leading House Republican Rep. Debra Maggart hasn’t decided whether she’ll make another go if it in 2014 following her recent GOP primary defeat in Sumner County, according to TNReport. The Hendersonville Republican blamed her loss on the National Rifle Federation and the Tennessee Firearms Association which “dumped over $150,000” worth of political ads into the race, she said.
“To tell the people of my district over and over and over that I am for gun control, which is a total lie, was very effective. People say they don’t like negative campaigning, but negative campaigning works,” she said following a roundtable discussion between Gov. Bill Haslam, legislators and business and education officials about improving higher education while at Tennessee Technology Center in Nashville Tuesday.
A review of contributions by political action committees indicated the NRA and TFA collectively injected $102,000 into the race.
Maggart’s opponent, Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers, enjoyed a 57 percent favorable vote to Maggart’s 43 percent to defeat the incumbent in the Aug. 2 Republican primary election. Rogers now goes on to compete with Democrat Jeanette Jackson in the general.
Courtney Rogers, who defeated House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart in a GOP primary, tells The Tennessean there were factors other than the National Rifle Association’s support involved in her win and that she’s not a one-issue candidate. Rogers has gladly accepted the NRA’s backing, and she says she will support gun-rights legislation in the General Assembly. But Rogers and her campaign team have worked to dispel the notion that she is a one-issue candidate. Rogers was not recruited by the NRA, nor did she make guns a central theme.
“I don’t believe it was just the NRA,” she said. “They certainly did help level the playing field for me a little, but most of my strategy involved … knocking on our citizens’ doors and getting to meet them.”
…It appears that Rogers has subtly tried to court teachers, a group that Maggart antagonized through her support of legislation that stripped them of their union negotiating rights and through her work for COMPASS, a Sumner County education organization closely affiliated with district leaders.
Rogers does not believe in restoring teachers’ negotiating rights, and she sidestepped questions about the Sumner County school board’s decision to close schools amid a budget showdown.
But Rogers says she has worked hard to listen to teachers’ concerns about the new evaluation system, which ties their pay and tenure status to classroom reviews and student test scores.
“There seems to be an inconsistency in the evaluation system,” she said. “I’ve only found one teacher that absolutely loved it, and what she told me was that it’s because the principal used it as a guideline, and not something required.”
Taking up education reform will probably bring Rogers in close contact with Maggart, who remains the head of COMPASS. Rogers says she has not spoken to Maggart since a congratulatory call on election night, but she does not believe the savage primary should keep them from working together, should Rogers win election to the General Assembly in the fall.
“To me it’s just a job,” Rogers said. “I mean, not ‘just a job,’ but it’s not personality based. So if some good can come out of COMPASS, then great.”
Zelenik Ad Gets a Politifact ‘False‘
“Diane Black voted to fund Obamacare, then she voted to repeal it. I guess she was for it before she was against it,” says Lou Ann Zelenik in a radio ad for her 6th Congressional District campaign.
Politifact Tennessee has rated the claim on Black’s vote to fund Obamacare as false. HERE. Third District Review
Chris Carroll, who has followed the 3rd Congressional District campaign more closely than any reporter in the state, sizes up the campaign situation in the final days, HERE.
A sample: But the tone changed when the foursome realized they differed little on issues — they’re all interested in cutting spending, aiding industry and promoting social conservatism. As they sought to differentiate themselves, negative attacks began hitting 3rd District mailboxes, televisions and computer screens. Gardenhire Equals Vital in Spending
Fueled by $57,000 in personal loans to his campaign, Todd Gardenhire matched rival Greg Vital dollar for dollar in spending on the Republican Senate District 10 primary from July 1-26, state records show. HERE Black Remembers TennCare
U.S. Rep. Diane Black recalls her days in the Tennessee state legislature and the woes of TennCare in an interview with The Hill. HERE. Hill ‘100 Percent’ Claim Questioned
The Tomahawk of Mountain City says there’s been confusion over Timothy Hill claiming a “100 percent rating” from Tennessee Right to Life in his House District 3 campaign. Right to Life has actually endorsed one of his opponents, Kevin Parsons. HERE. Rogers, Maggart & the Phone Factor
Post Politics has a news release from Courtney Rogers in House District 45, wherein she says Debra Maggart has emailed supporters Rogers’ unlisted home phone number in an unwarranted harassment effort. HERE.
Elam Chiles Lynn on Residence
Rep. Linda Elam issues a “blue card” challenge to her Republican primary opponent, former state Rep. Susan Lynn, in House District 57. HERE.
WPLN takes a look at the House District 45 contest where the National Rifle Association’s attack on Rep. Debra Maggart has made the House Republican Caucus Chairman the poster child (on billboards at least) for incumbent legislators facing challengers in next week’s primaries. The tension could be seen at this year’s Statesmen’s Dinner – the Tennessee GOP’s annual fundraiser. Everyone at this soiree supposedly plays on the same team, but the NRA has made the family get-together a little uncomfortable this year.
“Take a picture, quick,” Maggart said, upon being caught in a hallway with the NRA’s Cox.
While the two exchanged pleasantries, Cox is making an example of Maggart so other Republicans think twice before stepping out of line with the gun lobby. The NRA had spent $75,000 at the end of June, with more activity since then. The unrelated Tennessee Firearms Association chipped in at least $10,000 to defeat Maggart.
These are unheard of totals for state legislative races, but Cox calls the independent expenditures appropriate.
“It’s our First Amendment right to assemble to petition our government,” Cox said in an interview. “That’s what we’re doing.”
Rep. Maggart calls the NRA’s campaign “bullying” and a stunt to raise more money.
“You know they’ve got to have a reason to collect your dues,” she says. “They’ve got to have a reason for people to send them a check.”
Maggart – herself a member – has been sending the NRA checks for years and contends she’s about as big a gun gal as she could be. She hosts a skeet shoot fundraiser. She has her carry permit. And she’s a regular at the range.
But at Guns and Leather, a store in Hendersonville with an indoor shooting range, what’s in the window may say it all – signs for Maggart’s opponent, political newcomer Courtney Rogers.
Rogers, a retired Air Force officer, says she’s even surprised at some of the NRA’s tactics, like plastering Rep. Maggart’s face on billboards with President Obama.
“I didn’t even know what to say,” she says. “I just looked up at it and said, “[Maggart] is not going to like that.”
Still, Rogers welcomes the NRA in her corner. And the outside spending may be paying off.
Campaigning door to door, Rogers has been getting a warm reception from gun owners like Jim Fitzgerald. He calls Maggart “wishy-washy” on the weapons issue.
— Note: The Tennessean also revisits the subject today.
But there are signs the NRA is turning off voters too.
“Debra Maggart is a lifetime NRA member as I am as a lot of all of us are,” says Bill Taylor, a dentist in Hendersonville. “We may drop our membership because of that.”
NRA Political Victory Fund memo to media:
As you may know, the National Rifle Association is launching an independent expenditure campaign to defeat Rep. Debra Maggart, Republican Caucus Chair of the Tennessee General Assembly in the upcoming August 2 primary election (http://tinyurl.com/6ou54az). We believe that Rep. Maggart is no longer qualified to represent District 45 and that Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers is the best candidate for this position.
As Tennesseans, we were taught to stand up for what we believe and not say one thing and do another, but unfortunately that is exactly what Deb Maggart has done to the people she represents. She claims to support our gun rights publicly, but behind closed doors she cut backroom political deals to ensure vital self-defense legislation allowing hard-working Tennesseans to protect themselves was never allowed to come to the floor for a debate or vote. I know, because I was there.
Recently, Rep. Maggart sent an email… to the entire GOP caucus criticizing our opposition to her and noted in her opening paragraph what she felt was a lack of political donations from our organization. Rep. Maggart also dismissed the concerns of more than 100,000 dues-paying NRA members who are proud to call Tennessee home, wrongly suggesting that this campaign is driven by Washington, D.C. operatives rather than by the concerns of honest Tennesseans who want to be able to protect themselves.
While Rep. Maggart might only be concerned with campaign contributions and political maneuvering, we remain concerned with policy and protecting our citizens. The people of Tennessee deserve better and this is why we are working to educate them with this campaign.
Courtney Rogers and her husband filed for bankruptcy in 2005, reports Andrea Zelinski, after an oil distributorship brought before the 9/11 attacks failed. And even though it stemmed from the failure of her husband’s company, Rogers is being sucked back into that difficult chapter in their lives now that she’s running for state political office. Rogers is waging a dark horse campaign to unseat one of the House’s leading Republicans, GOP Caucus Leader Debra Maggart, of Hendersonville.
Michael Rogers’ company — BSR Petroleum Distributors Inc. — consumed $55,000 of the Rogers family’s savings as profit margins shrunk following the terrorist attacks, forcing the pair to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Rogers and her campaign said.
“There was nothing we could do. We fought it off for a few years, we emptied our savings. But the margins never came back,” said Rogers.
Rogers and her husband filed for bankruptcy in March of 2005, according to court records. The couple listed liabilities of more than $930,000, with most of those debts, nearly $730,000, tied to his company. Their legal obligation to pay their debt was gone three months later, and their assets were liquidated.
“I don’t know that we’d do anything different because no one could foresee that,” she said of her husband buying Pulaski-based Chiles Oil Inc., and launching their business six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The revelation of Rogers’ bankruptcy is the newest twist in the Aug. 2 primary race for District 45 in Sumner County between the two conservative Republicans. A handful of interest groups are flooding Rogers with support in an effort to unseat the politically powerful Maggart as payback for leading the charge against issues they hold dear, including the National Rifle Association, which so far has plugged more than $75,000 into the race.
Rogers has not filed a disclosure of the bankruptcy with the state Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance.
It’s unclear whether she is in violation of election law, which requires candidates running for election to fill out paperwork listing “any adjudication of bankruptcy or discharge received in any United States district court within five years of the date of this report.” Omitting information could result in a fine up to $10,000.
The National Rifle Association is spending $75,000 to unseat House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart while asking all state legislators whether they will side next year with the organization, even if it means breaking with GOP leadership.
In a filing with the state Registry of Election Finance, the NRA Political Victory Fund disclosed plans to spend a total of $75,373 in the House District 45 Republican primary, roughly half designated for attacking the Hendersonville lawmaker and half toward helping her opponent, Courtney Rogers.
In a March 31 report, Maggart reported $86,066 cash on hand in her campaign account while Rogers, a retired Air Force officer, had $3,585. New reports are due next Monday and will include results of a fundraiser Gov. Bill Haslam co-hosted for Maggart.
The NRA filed its report listing the new expenditures ahead of the deadline. Other than attacking Maggart and promoting Rogers, the only spending listed in the report is a $2,500 donation to the campaign of Rep. Joshua Evans, R-Greenbrier.
The National Rifle Association endorsed a tea party challenger in Sumner County, saying she “has demonstrated her leadership abilities which the state of Tennessee so badly needs today,” reports Chas Sisk. The NRA Political Victory Fund said Wednesday it had formally decided to back Courtney Rogers, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, former Bridgestone Americas communications executive and one-time leader of Sumner United for Responsible Government, a tea party group.
Rogers is taking on House Republican Caucus Chair Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, in the August primary. Maggart represents the 45th House District, which includes most of Hendersonville and portions of Goodlettsville.
The NRA said it had given Rogers an “AQ” rating, its highest grade for a candidate who has not held elected office. The rating was based on Rogers’ responses to an NRA questionnaire. The NRA announced its endorsement on the same day Gov. Bill Haslam headlined a fundraiser for Maggart.
For the first time since she won a seven-candidate race in 2004, House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart is facing a primary challenge in House District 45. The Tennessean takes a look at the contest: Maggart’s Republican challenger is not only her first in eight years, but also has picked up several endorsements from conservatives who feel the incumbent hasn’t been conservative enough. The early race, Maggart said, is nothing she can’t handle.
“Campaigning is really one of my favorite things to do,” she said. “I love getting out and talking to people. I love door-knocking and that kind of thing. That’s one of the reasons I’m the caucus leader.”
That leadership position, one she was chosen for in 2010, probably had something to do with pitting the Hendersonville native against Courtney Rogers, a Goodlettsville resident, retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and former president of Sumner United for Responsible Government, a local tea party group.
“As leaders, sometimes those things happen,” Maggart said. “You get lots of things sometimes that maybe are not your fault.”
…Once a career military officer, Rogers started speaking at local, state and national events around the time the tea party movement started. Despite that, she doesn’t think her campaign is linked to the tea party or any conservative movement, instead saying she represents a larger, silent majority of Americans. She also wants to run an engaged campaign with voters that could help her be more responsive once in office. Rogers said the community feels detached from the incumbent.
“Every position is not an entitlement. Every two years, it’s an open seat anyone could run for,” she said. “The bottom line is that power comes from the bottom and goes up. It comes from us.”
This grassroots orientation expands to Rogers’ takes on policy, she said, including her call for direct elections of state judges, a more localized education system and supporting personal rights over property rights — as she did in supporting the guns-in-trunks bill.
Rogers said she was encouraged to run by Sumner County residents and also gained the support of state Sen. Kerry Roberts and local talk show host Steve Gill in the process. While she repeatedly touts the amount of people supporting her, she doesn’t have the funds her opponent does. A check of campaign records, last updated in April, showed Rogers had $3,600 in her campaign account while Maggart had more than $86,000. So she’ll need all the grassroots help she can get.