Tag Archives: Senate

Summerville accuses Ramsey of selling committee chairmanships

Outgoing state Sen. Jim Summerville claimed this week that he’s always been a pariah in the state Republican Party; and accused Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of selling state committee leadership positions, reports The Tennessean.

Summerville then turned his attack to Ramsey, claiming the latter predicted Summerville’s ouster after his 4-year term began in 2010.

He claimed there was never a mutual political relationship between himself and Republican officials.

“They didn’t want me in the first place. They wanted Doug Jackson,” Summerville said. “I was completely a freak. I think that if you have a majority of the vote it’s called democracy, but they didn’t think so.

“It goes back to that,” he added.

Summerville defeated longtime Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson for the Senate seat in 2010.

Summerville then accused Ramsey (R-Blountville) of selling Senate committee chairmanships, referring to a PowerPoint presentation during a Republican caucus meeting two years ago that documented the committee chairpersons and how much money they gave to the caucus.

…Ramsey responded to Summerville’s accusation Monday afternoon through his communications director, Adam C. Kleinheider, via an email to The Herald.

“I continue to pray for Sen. Summerville,” Kleinheider wrote on Ramsey’s behalf. “He is clearly working through some personal and legal problems that I hope are resolved quickly and without further incident.”

Ramsey then denied selling the chairmanships.

“As to his specific allegation, it is absolutely false,” Kleinheider added. “Contributions to the Senate Republican Caucus are, and have always been, completely voluntary.”

Local media pressed Summerville on previous remarks attributed to Ramsey about the voluntary nature of those monetary contributions.

“Well yeah, if you want your chairmanship you better volunteer to give $25,000,” Summerville replied. “(Ramsey) told me that (Mae Beavers) had $25,000 in her campaign account and she would not give it. “He told you the press, ‘I put her out because I didn’t agree with some of her decisions,'” he added.

…Summerville filed a complaint with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation about the purported “cash-for-chairmanships” scheme, and talked with investigators “back in the late summer, I guess.”

A TBI spokesperson recently confirmed receipt of Summerville’s complaint, but reported the investigation was turned over to the Attorney General’s Office.

Summerville said he hasn’t been in contact with the Attorney General’s Office; and wants “fairness” and “justice” to result from the investigation, but called that a “long shot.”

On Briggs vs Siler in state Senate District 7

Candidates wanting the seat 7th District state Sen. Stacey Campfield lost in the Republican primary have striking differences on job creation and wages, according to the News Sentinel.

And it appears they won’t be holding a publicly moderated forum on issues, either.

Democrat Cheri Siler and Republican Richard Briggs both want the L-shaped district that covers North Knoxville, West Knoxville, Downtown, the University of Tennessee and Farragut.

Siler said Briggs politically is no different from Campfield — just without Campfield’s antics that “The Daily Show” and other comedy outlets spoofed.

“We need to be headed in a different direction,”she said.

Briggs said Siler’s push for a higher minimum wage is bad for job growth and she will undermine Tennessee’s right-to-work rules.

“All of those are job killers,” Briggs said.

The two differ along typical party lines. Like many conservatives, he supports abortion regulation. She says women should have the right to choose. Siler said the state is missing out on federal money through the Affordable Care Act. Briggs, a physician, said he is against Obamacare.

Both want more jobs and better education.

…Aside from the party differences and individual stances on issues such as job creation, a wedge between the two has emerged over the issue of a debate.

Briggs said he’s made plenty of appearances on the same stage as Siler, citing two local television news shows in which both have been interviewed.

Siler said that’s not the same as a moderated forum, which appears unlikely.

“He’s hiding behind the ‘R’ in his name,” Siler said. “I think voters have a right to see and hear (candidates) respond to questions.”

The district has a long history of voting Republican, and efforts by Siler to get a forum amount to free advertising, according to Briggs.

Roberts unseats Summerville in hotly-contested Senate District 25

Incumbent Sen. Jim Summerville lost the Republican primary for the Senate District 25 seat Thursday, finishing third, reports The Tennessean.

Kerry Roberts, a small business owner from Springfield, will be the party’s nominee. Rep. Joshua Evans of Greenbrier, who finished second after leading in early returns, conceded at 9:11 p.m. Wayne White of Slayden finished fourth.

Roberts, who is 52, said his first priority was to unify conservatives after a hard-fought primary.

“My agenda is very clear,” Roberts said. “To me, if we focus on giving people back their freedom that the government has taken away from them then we open the doors for better opportunities for business owner and farmers. We need to let teachers go back to do what they do.”

The district covers the rural neighborhoods and small towns in Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Humphreys and Robertson counties.

Tony Gross, a small-business owner and Kingston Springs city commissioner, is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. He said his priorities will be improving education and keeping rural hospitals open.

Note: Roberts effectively lost his previous seat in the state Senate because of redistricting. He was thrown into Summerville’s district for the 2012 election and there was no election in that district for that year.

Final results in contested TN Democratic state Senate primaries

Here are the AP’s final results in Tennessee’s contested Democratic state primaries for state Senate seats:

District 19
53 of 53 precincts – 100 percent

x-Thelma Harper (i) 10,483 – 86 percent
Brandon Puttbrese 1,676 – 14 percent

District 21
47 of 47 precincts – 100 percent

x-Jeff Yarbro 6,777 – 57 percent
Mary Mancini 5,165 – 43 percent

District 29
52 of 52 precincts – 100 percent

x-Lee Harris 10,495 – 42 percent
Ricky Dixon 6,878 – 28 percent
Ophelia Ford (i) 6,750 – 27 percent
Herman Sawyer 610 – 2 percent

Final results, TN state Senate contested GOP primaries

Here is the AP’s list of final, unofficial results in contested Republican primaries for the Tennessee state Senate”:

District 7
33 of 33 precincts – 100 percent

x-Richard Briggs 13,977 – 67 percent
Stacey Campfield (i) 5,824 – 28 percent
Mike Alford 1,201 – 6 percent

District 15
92 of 92 precincts – 100 percent

x-Paul Bailey 13,139 – 48 percent
Matt Swallows 12,576 – 46 percent
Gary Steakley 1,451 – 5 percent

District 17

83 of 83 precincts – 100 percent

x-Mae Beavers (i) 16,164 – 59 percent
Clark Boyd 11,100 – 41 percent
District 21
47 of 47 precincts – 100 percent

x-Diana Cuellar 2,948 – 61 percent
Quincy McKnight 1,520 – 32 percent
Mwafaq Aljabbary 345 – 7 percent

District 25
65 of 65 precincts – 100 percent

x-Kerry Roberts 9,805 – 42 percent
Joshua Evans 8,796 – 38 percent
Jim Summerville (i) 3,650 – 16 percent
Wayne White 952 – 4 percent

District 27
78 of 78 precincts – 100 percent

x-Ed Jackson 11,135 – 59 percent
Brandon Dodds 7,763 – 41 percent

District 29
52 of 52 precincts – 100 percent

x-Jim Finney 3,102 – 82 percent
Anthony Herron 681 – 18 percent

Lamar laments broken Senate (some suggest he helped break it)

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee says the U.S. Senate is broken, reports The Tennessean, with a case in point being the recent bill to extend long-term jobless benefits.

Alexander says the stalemate is just the latest symptom of the Senate’s inability to function, a condition he says impedes his ability to represent Tennessee.

“It’s worse than it’s ever been,” Alexander lamented in a recent interview. “And I’ve watched it for a long time.”

Alexander, who has represented the Volunteer State since 2003, still reveres the Senate, where he served as an aide to Tennessee Republican Howard Baker in the 1960s and won confirmation as education secretary in 1991.

But he said recent rule changes and maneuvering by the Democratic majority have rendered Republicans practically impotent in a chamber where thoughtful, bipartisan discourse has long been a cherished virtue.

…Reid points out that roughly half of the 168 filibusters of executive and judicial nominees “in the history of the Republic” have occurred since Obama took office in 2009. The filibusters were part of a broader GOP effort, Democrats say, to stymie Obama’s agenda after he won a second term in 2012.

…Alexander is just as irked by Reid’s efforts to restrict amendments, as he did on the jobless benefits bill. He also said Reid has the math wrong on which party has been doing the most obstructing.

Data compiled by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service and provided by Alexander’s office shows Reid has restricted floor amendments 79 times since his ascension to majority leader in 2007 through 2013. That’s nearly twice the number compiled by the six previous majority leaders combined.

…Independent observers say Alexander has a valid point in criticizing some Democratic tactics. But they also say Republicans have contributed to the current standoff through constant filibusters and attempts to attach politically charged amendments to unrelated bills.

…Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the nonpartisan American Enterprise Institute, said Alexander’s recent performance has been disappointing. He said that’s particularly true of his support for GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s “unprecedented use of tools of mass obstruction” to gum up Senate business.
Alexander, for example, voted against moving forward with the unemployment benefits bill he wanted to amend.

“Lamar’s been a hero of mine for years, but I tell you, I am down on him right now,” Ornstein said. “He’s been at least as much a part of the problem as a part of the solution.”

Republican Ed Jackson formalizes campaign for Senate District 27 seat

What’s been known for 22 months became official when Ed Jackson announced his candidacy for the Tennessee state Senate district that covers Madison, Crockett, Dyer, Lake and Lauderdale counties, according to the Jackson Sun.

“When I was first asked to run, I thought, ‘Me?’ Jackson said. “Then I thought, why not? I’m a business owner and I know the lay of the land, and there are a lot of people who need help. There’s a lot to address, and I want to work for West Tennessee and District 27.”

Jackson, who is running as a Republican, is the only Madison County resident to announce his candidacy for the seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Lowe Finney.

Finney announced July 31, 2013, he would not seek a third term. According to Madison County Election Commission, the only candidate who has turned in a qualifying petition in the race so far is Republican Brandon Dodds of Newbern.

After 5 vetting events, tea party coalition officially endorses Carr

News release from ‘Beat Lamar’ organization:
Spring Hill, TN—Michael Patrick Leahy, co-founder of BEAT LAMAR, today announced that BEAT LAMAR, a project of the conservative ground game SuperPac the Real Conservatives National Committee, and a coalition of local Tea Party groups across Tennessee have endorsed State Representative Joe Carr for the Republican nomination in the 2014 United Senate race.

“Over the past month Joe Carr has been vetted in five BEAT LAMAR Town Halls across the state of Tennessee—in Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Maryville, and this Saturday in Johnson City,” Leahy said. “Joe Carr has emerged as the unanimous choice among the Tea Party co-sponsors of each of these events—the Nashville Tea Party, the Mid-South Tea Party, the Chattanooga Tea Party, the Blount County Tea Party, the Roane County Tea Party, and the Tri-Cities—as the constitutional conservative candidate we enthusiastically endorse to stand with Ted Cruz and beat Lamar.”

“I am also delighted to note that the Coalition for a Constitutional Senate, an informal coalition of 63 Tea Party and Liberty groups throughout Tennessee, is also issuing a statement of support for Joe Carr today,” Leahy said.

Leahy added that the BEAT LAMAR Town Halls have been so popular that BEAT LAMAR will continue to hold them in cooperation with local Tea Party groups around the state. “Several local Tea Party groups have asked us to continue the BEAT LAMAR Town Halls, and we’ve decided to do that. Our purpose now will be to sign up additional door-to-door volunteers in every one of Tennessee’s 95 counties.”Leahy said.”
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Evans announces for Senate Dist. 25; Roberts touts fundraising

State Rep. Joshua Evans, R-Greenbriar, formally announced as a candidate in state Senate District 25, the seat now held by Sen. Jim Summerville, R-Dickson.

Meanwhile, former state Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, who had announced for the seat earlier, is touting his first fundraiser.

The three-way race is thus continuing to shape up as one of the most competitive Republican primaries in the state next year (with rumors of other possible entries).

News releases from both Evans and Roberts are below.
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Revenge of the Incumbents: AP story on Alexander, McConnell, Graham campaigns

By Erik Schelzig and Ken Thomas, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Faced with a potentially serious primary challenger, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander was not about to sit back and wait.

The former two-term governor locked down endorsements, banked more than $3 million and linked arms with popular Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee. When conservative state Rep. Joe Carr announced he would challenge Alexander, the senator’s team was ready.

“I learned to count in Maryville City Schools,” Alexander wrote in a recent op-ed in The Tennessean, recalling his East Tennessee hometown. “So I know that if you only have 45 votes and you need 60 senators to get something important done like balancing the budget and fixing the debt, then you have to work with other people — that is, IF you really care about solving the problem.”

Call it the Revenge of the Incumbents: Alexander is the latest Senate Republican staring down a primary challenge with aggressive tactics aimed at blunting any early momentum from tea party-backed opposition. The early moves seek to avoid the fate of former Senate colleagues who were bounced by tea party challengers in 2010 and 2012.

In Kentucky, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has scorched challenger Matt Bevin with stinging ads accusing him of accepting government bailouts to help his family business and embellishing his academic background. Bevin, with help from tea party supporters, has responded with his own accusations, labeling the Senate leader “Mudslinging Mitch” and tarring him for supporting the Wall Street bailout in 2008.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has drawn criticism from conservatives for pushing immigration reform, has raised more than $6 million for his re-election and could be helped by a crowded primary field that includes three conservative opponents. Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi has locked up support from Senate leaders and his Republican colleagues in the face of a challenge from Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
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