Tag Archives: stephen fincher

Luttrell becomes 8th GOP candidate in the 8th

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell declared his candidacy for for the 8th Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher at a Republican dinner in Jackson Monday night, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Luttrell, 68…announced his intentions to run at the Madison County Republican Party’s Reagan Day dinner, held at Union University.

…”I’m a product of the 8th District. I was born in rural West Tennessee,” he said by phone shortly after the announcement. “My roots are pretty deep.”

Luttrell joins a crowded field jostling to replace Fincher, who has served three terms but announced on Feb. 1 that he would not seek a fourth.

Luttrell makes at least the eighth Republican in the race or interested in running, including Jackson businessman and political consultant Brad Greer; state Sen. Brian Kelsey; former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff; Shelby County Register of Deeds Tom Leatherwood; Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar; Memphis radiologist George Flinn; and Fayette County corrections officer Ken Atkins. Two Memphis-area Democrats have also expressed interest: Michael McCusker and David Vinciarelli.

Asked about the possibility that Shelby County’s vote could be split among a crowded field, Luttrell said his understanding of both rural and urban issues made him unique among candidates.

Note: See also The Jackson Sun’s report on the Madison County GOP gathering, where political operative Tommy Hopper got a “lifetime achievement” award, seven of the 8th District candidates spoke and they had a straw poll on the congressional primary. Results of the straw poll:

Brad Greer, 22.5 percent
State Sen. Brian Kelsey, 19.5 percent
David Kustoff, 15.5 percent
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, 11 percent
George Flinn, 9 percent
Shelby County Register of Deeds Tom Leatherwood, 6 percent
David Bault, 1.5 percent
Undecided, 15 percent

Roll Call lists 16 prospective GOP candidates for Fincher’s seat

Roll Call, reporting on Congressman Stephen Fincher’s announced retirement from his 8th District seat in Tennessee, has a long list of possible Republican candidates to replace him. Five proclaimed their candidacy Monday (previous post HERE)

The Roll Call list, said to come from “Republican sources,” includes all five of those. It also throws into the speculation category other state legislators — beyond Sen. Brian Kelsey, who jumped in Monday — notably including Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.

Here’s the Roll Call rundown of potential candidates:

State Sen. Brian Kelsey has already said he will run and is expected to be a strong contender.

Another favorite would be state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, who sources say has a substantial following and has been behind conservative reforms within the state party. He’s also been mentioned as a 2018 gubernatorial candidate.

State Sen. Ed Jackson

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich

Shelby County GOP Chairman Mary Wagner, a lawyer in Memphis.

Republican National Committee General Counsel and committeeman John Ryder.

Former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff, who said on Monday he is running.

Scott Golden, Fincher’s district director and a member of the Tennessee GOP State Executive Committee.

Radiologist George Flinn, a perennial candidate and self-funder, who placed third in 2014’s Senate primary against Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Ron Kirkland, a doctor who lost to Fincher in the 2010 primary. He hails from Jackson, the other major GOP population center in the district, and has been an advocate for Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure TN plan to expand Medicaid.

Matthew Stowe, district attorney general for the 24th judicial district, who clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

State Rep. Bill Sanderson of Dyersburg

State Rep. Steve McManus

Among state legislators who may excite tea party supporters are state Sen. John Stevens and state Rep. Andy Holt.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell is expected to be able to raise money.

The primary race for the safe Republican seat will likely be crowded and with the filing deadline not until April 7, there’s plenty of time for more names to emerge. Many Republicans who had been eyeing this seat, one Republican source said, were banking on Fincher not making moves until 2018 and were caught off guard by his Monday announcement. “The question is, who can ramp up their operation at the drop of a hat?” the source said. So far, Norris and Kelsey are the two most widely-cited front runners.

Note: For a related read, see Politico’s report on the flood of retirements by Republican congressmen elected in 2010 — Fincher being the latest example.

Five Republicans enter 8th District congressional campaign

Within hours after U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher announced he won’t seek reelection to the 8th Congressional District seat, five prominent West Tennessee Republicans announced they would go for it, reports Michael Collins.

They are, so far: state Sen. Brian Kelsey, former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff, Memphis radiologist George Flinn, Shelby County Register of Deeds Tom Leatherwood and Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar.

Roy Herron, former state senator and Tennessee Democratic Party chairman, who lost to Fincher in 2010, says he’s thinking about a run on the Democratic side.

“Yes, I’m in,” Kelsey announced on Twitter, complete with a logo that declared “Kelsey for Congress.”

In an interview, Kelsey, who has served as state senator for the past nine years and was in the state House for five years before that, said he is running because he wants to shake up Washington.

“I think the people of the 8th District really want someone who’s going to go to Washington to shake things up, and I think I have a solid record of having done that in Nashville and of accomplishing things in Nashville,” he said.
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Fincher won’t seek reelection to 8th District U.S. House seat

By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Tennessee GOP Rep. Stephen Fincher announced Monday that he will retire from Congress at the end of his term.

Fincher is a member of the 2010 GOP class that stormed Washington, taking back control of Congress just two years after President Barack Obama was elected.

He was best known for leading the charge to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank despite opposition from top GOP leaders and its tea party wing. In helping the Export-Import Bank renew its charter, Fincher took on GOP leaders such as Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, though then-Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, offered quiet encouragement.

Fincher, 43, is a gospel singer from Frog Jump and grew up on his family’s farm, where cotton and soybeans are grown. He is regarded as a stout conservative.

“I never intended to become a career politician. The last six years have been the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am honored to have been given the chance to serve,” Fincher said in a statement. “I will be returning to Frog Jump and my family and business.”
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Fincher wins a round in Export-Import Bank fight

Supporters of the expired Export-Import Bank succeeded early Monday evening in using a rare parliamentary maneuver to force the agency’s proposed resurrection onto the House floor, over the opposition of conservative Republicans, according to Politico.

The 246-177 vote on the petition to bring the legislation to the floor, with dozens of House Republicans joining Democrats, sets up a series of further actions that are expected to lead to a final House vote Tuesday to reauthorize Ex-Im.

The unusual parliamentary maneuver led by Tennessee Republican Stephen Fincher is a slap in the face to conservatives who have sought to kill the export credit agency and a reflection of the chaos in the House since Speaker John Boehner announced he would retire at month’s end.

But even if the effort succeeds as expected, the move to restore the agency isn’t at the finish line. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky opposes the reauthorization and has been reluctant to move stand-alone legislation in that chamber.

Healthy majorities of both the House and Senate have supported the agency’s long-term renewal since long before its charter expired June 30. Supporters say its financing of international deals supports at least 160,000 jobs in the U.S. Conservatives, who argue it is crony capitalism underwritten by the taxpayers, have been successful until this month at keeping a bill from even being debated in committee in either chamber.

Amid the chaos over Boehner’s resignation, Fincher used a rare maneuver known as a discharge petition, which if signed by a majority of the House, forces a vote on the legislation in question. The petition is capped at 218 signatures which it got earlier this month – including those of 42 Republicans – but the bill got an additional 28 votes in a roll call vote shortly before 7:30 p.m.

…A petition hasn’t been successful since January 2002, when one was used to force a vote on the House companion bill to the campaign finance bill known as McCain-Feingold. Only 27 discharge petitions have led directly to a House vote before now, although others have persuaded leadership to bring up legislation.

…This probably would have unfolded completely differently without Boehner’s resignation, said a House Republican aide. “I literally think the Democrats seized on an opportunity to move this and are using Fincher to do it,” the aide said. “And Fincher is a willing accomplice.”

Fincher still tops in TN congressional campaign cash

Among the state’s nine U.S. House members, Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump continues to lead in stockpiling cash for the 2016 elections, according to October reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Fincher reported almost $2.7 million cash on hand in his most recent report. Runner-up was Blackburn with a little more than $2.1 million, followed by Black at $1.4 million and John J. Duncan Jr. of Knoxville with a little more than $1 million.

At the other end of available campaign cash was Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais of South Pittsburgh, who held just $208,000 — less than Grant Starrett, who is challenging the 4th Congressional District incumbent and reported $693,000 in the bank. Starrett’s total is within a few dollars of being identical to the amount held by Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis. Excepting DesJarlais, no other Tennessee congressman has an announced opponent so far.

Note: This post originally incorrectly stated Cohen’s total. It has been corrected.

Fincher move on Export-Import bank splits U.S. House Republicans

U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher defied some key House Republicans on Friday and took the unusual step of attempting to force a vote on legislation to keep the U.S. Export-Import Bank open, reports Michael Collins.

Fincher, a Frog Jump Republican, filed what is known as a “discharge petition,” a seldom-used parliamentary tactic that would allow him to bypass the committee process and move his bill directly to the House floor for a vote.

Fincher said he had no choice but to take action because House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, refused to even give the bill a hearing before his committee.

“We have to get the Ex-Im Bank reauthorized to make sure American jobs are safe,” Fincher said. “It’s a shame we’re in this phase. But it is what it is, and we have to finish it.”

The Ex-Im Bank, as it’s commonly called, is a little-known federal agency that provides government assistance in the form of loans, loan guarantees or export insurance to companies that sell their goods around the world. In Tennessee alone, the bank has provided $1 billion in assistance to dozens of companies over the past eight years and has backed $1 billion in exports from those companies.

But the bank’s charter lapsed at the end of June because of opposition from tea party conservatives, who have accused the agency of doling out “corporate welfare.”

Fincher’s bill would reauthorize the bank for another five years and put in place reforms, such as better anti-corruption safeguards and an independent audit to make the bank more transparent.

…Signing the discharge petition will further divide the House GOP at a time when the conference is already divided, gives Democrats control over the House agenda and effectively makes Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi the House speaker, Hensarling said in a statement Friday.

“Let the Democrats own corporate welfare all by themselves,” Hensarling said. “Republicans should instead focus on reforms that will give every American greater opportunities to succeed.”

…Fincher needs the signatures of 218 House members to move the discharge petition forward. He said he is confident he can get the needed signatures.

Once the bill gets to the House floor, Fincher predicted it would get more than 300 votes, more than enough for it to pass.

Two other Republicans, Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Chris Collins of New York, joined Fincher in leading the push for the discharge petition.

Ethics complaint filed against Fincher

A government watchdog group has filed an ethics complaint against U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher and 10 other members of Congress claiming they accepted campaign contributions from the payday lending industry shortly before or after they took a series of steps supporting the industry.

Further from Michael Collins:

The Campaign for Accountability’s complaint, filed Monday with the Office of Congressional Ethics, asks for an investigation into whether the 11 members’ actions “violated House rules and criminal law.”

“It seems payday loans taken out by their constituents helped fund big paydays for members of Congress who used their positions to advocate on behalf of this unscrupulous industry,” the organization’s executive director, Anne Weismann, said in a statement.

The allegations against Fincher, a Frog Jump, Tenn., Republican who sits on the House Financial Services Committee, involve $13,500 in contributions from the payday lending industry or its executives.

According to the complaint:
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TN Republicans warming to Trump? (despite ‘crazy things’)

Tennessee’s Republican officeholders are not endorsing Donald Trump, but some are offering favorable commentary about the billionaire presidential candidate who is leading national polls and who won a straw poll in Nashville after speaking the National Federation of Republican Assemblies on Saturday.

Examples of Tennessee GOP commentary on Trump from media reports last week:

“Donald Trump is doing so well in the polls, because he is speaking in a language that we all want to hear. Now, does he say some crazy things? Yes, he does. Will he be a crazy president? I think he would be. But he is speaking the language of people … who are fed up with the direction that we’re going,” said U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Frog Jump, at a Shelby County GOP gathering, as quoted by Jackson Baker.

At the same Republican Women’s Club gathering, state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, said Trump has evoked some “rancor,” but he thinks that’s a good thing overall.

“He’s stirring up the status quo, and people want straight talk. They want to hear what we’re doing to address the issues that they care about,” Norris said. “Problematic as it may seem, good for Trump for doing this, getting people fired up. It’s fine. It’s fine. … Good for Trump. … Do we disagree sometimes? Heck yes, we disagree. And Trump would have it that way, too.”

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann told the Times-Free Press that voters see Trump as “a straight shooter.”

“He’s not dependent on donors and lobbyists,” said Fleischmann. “He’s saying things most conventional candidates don’t say.”

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-South Pittsburgh, told the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro that Trump “has been really interesting because he speaks with no political filter.”

“I think some people find that appealing because they are really tired of politicians promising things and not getting things done. That’s not an endorsement of Trump. I just think it should tell people that they want to hear true speak and not political speak,” DesJarlais said.

At the Saturday speech to the Republican Assemblies group in Nashville, Trump was introduced by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, who also made clear she wasn’t endorsing Trump, though praising him. She had introduced Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz previously at one of his presidential campaign visits to Tennessee.

Blackburn told Newsmax before the event that Trump has excited conservative voters because of his talk about issues.

“Trump has said, ‘Wait a minute, the national security issue is at the top of the heap. The Iran deal is a bad deal. China debt, it’s a bad deal. Having the anchor-baby issue continue, bad deal. Not securing our border, that’s a bad deal,’ ” Blackburn said.

In the NFRA straw poll, Trump was the choice of 52 percent of those voting, Newsmax said, getting 220 votes of 420 cast. Cruz finished second with 100 votes, followed by retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson with 46. Next in line were Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul with 15 votes and former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Carly Fiorina, with 11 votes.

Of the others on the 17-candidate straw ballot, the rest were either in single digits or got no votes at all.

Fincher, Norris play the Trump card

Presidential candidate Donald Trump is stirring a lot talk and Jackson Baker reports on some that came from Tennessee politicians at a Shelby County Republican gathering:

8th District congressman Stephen Fincher (R-Frog Jump): “I think that …Donald Trump is doing so well in the polls, because he is speaking in a language that we all want to hear. Now, does he say some crazy things? Yes, he does. Will he be a crazy president? I think he would be. But he is speaking the language of people…who are fed up with the direction that we’re going.”

State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville): “Stephen touched on something….It’s the rancor, if you will, that Trump has evoked in people, and I think it’s a good thing. He’s stirring up the status quo, and people want straight talk. They want to hear what we’re doing to address the issues that they care about. And I don’t know how it’ll turn out. I hope that John Ryder will talk about it a little bit from an organizational point of view, as the party’s general counsel.

“Problematic as it may seem, good for Trump for doing this, getting people fired up. It’s fine. It’s fine….Good for Trump. He’s stirring us up. We’re having some straight talk. …Do we disagree sometimes? Heck yes, we disagree. And Trump would have it that way, too.”

As it happened, National Republican Committee general counsel Ryder was more cautious, throwing Trump only an ambiguously stated bouquet: “One of our candidates has said he wants to make America great. And I don’t disagree with that. But I think America is already great, and I think what we need to do is to release America’s greatness.”