State Sen. Stacey Campfield chuckled Friday over comedian Stephen Colbert’s satirical characterization of him as a potential Republican presidential candidate — the latest example of the Knoxville lawmaker gaining national celebrity status through his legislative pursuits.
“It was funny,” said Campfield. “You can take anybody out of context and have fun with it. That’s what he (Colbert) does for a living, and he’s good at it.”
The eight-minute Colbert Report commentary, aired Thursday night on the Comedy Central TV channel, poked fun at national political figures ranging from Sarah Palin and political commentator Charles Krauthammer to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
But the focus was on Campfield and two bills he is sponsoring in the General Assembly — one that would reduce welfare benefits to a recipient whose child does poorly in school and another officially entitled the “Classroom Protection Act” but widely known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.”
The legislation, Colbert suggests, puts Campfield in the category with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Jindal and Christie as a prospective contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
“I wonder if his super PAC is going to endorse me,” said Campfield. “If he’s ready with the money, I’m ready to talk.”
Yes, said Campfield, he is joking — just as Colbert was.
A good bit of the Tennessean setup story on the 8th District Congressional race concerns incumbent Rep. Stephen Fincher’s sponsorship of a bill that eases regulations for IPO offerings by some businesses — a move praised by President Obama and business, but criticized by consumer advocates. There’s also a rundown on Fincher’s opponents. Fincher, meanwhile, has shown himself to be one of the House’s most prolific fundraisers as well, having raised $2.03 million for his re-election and his personal political action committee combined through June 30.
…His Democratic opponent is Timothy Dixon, 53, of Germantown, who has 25 years’ experience in various aspects of the automotive industry, including work with both Chrysler and Cummins, the engine manufacturer.
Dixon decries the gridlock that has engulfed Congress on most matters over the past two years and says he wants “work on the problem rather than working on being a partisan.” He added: “It’s time for serious discussions and collaboration.
“Republicans,” he said, “have gone so far to the right they have become obstructionist in the House and in the Senate.”
Dixon also vowed to work on the economic potential of West Tennessee, saying its prime location in the middle of the country continues to make it a potential hot spot for businesses if Congress provides more certainty about budget and tax decisions. Dixon has raised $15,602 through June 30.
Fincher also faces two independent candidates, Mark Rawles of Jackson and James Hart of Buchanan.
Rawles, 53, a business communications consultant and sales manager, said Republicans have spent the last generation selling out the nation to “economic globalism” through unfair trade agreements, while Democrats have become advocates for “social globalism” that calls for surrendering American sovereignty to the United Nations.
“This country is in crisis,” he said, adding Fincher lacks “the strength of consciousness” to judge the long-term effects of congressional actions.
Hart, 68 and retired, says he wants a congressional seat so he can “bury the counter culture” and liberal ideas such as gay marriage, especially in the nation’s schools. He said he wants to restore the nation to “a traditional moral compass.”
U.S. Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Chuck Fleischmann said today they did not participate in or witness a late-night swim in Israel last year in which one lawmaker disrobed and jumped into the Sea of Galilee and others shed some of their clothing to go frolicking in the water.
Ditto with Rep. Stephen Fincher: “It was unfortunate that the behavior of some folks was not acceptable,” Fincher said Monday. “While this was going on, I was doing one of my favorite things — having dinner with my wife. More HERE.
Further on the DesJarlais/Fleischmann fromt from Michael Collins.
Both East Tennessee lawmakers were on the fact-finding trip to Israel with other freshman members of Congress and their families. But they said they did not participate in the questionable swim, which, according to a published report, may have been fueled by alcohol consumption and led to an FBI inquiry.
“While the congressman was on the trip to Israel reinforcing our nation’s relationship with this important ally, he was not involved in the incident in question,” said DesJarlais’ spokesman, Robert Jameson.
Asked if the Jasper Republican had witnessed the activity, Jameson said, “The congressman did not see the incident.”
There’s a big difference between the 8th Congressional District race of 2010 and the contest this year, observes Bart Sullivan in a review of campaign now underway. The winner, incumbent Stephen Fincher, is being challenged by Dyer County juvenile delinquency counselor Annette Justice in the Republican primary Aug. 2.
He’s likely to face Democrats’ Timothy Dixon, Wes Bradley or Christa Stoscheck in November as well as two independents, including James L. Hart of Henry County, who has repeatedly sought the office since 2002. This year, Hart, 68, is parading around courthouse squares with a sandwich board bearing the slogans “Bury the Counter-Culture, Not Our Children,” and “Send the Mexicans back to Mexico.”
He won the Republican primary in 2004 and went on to win 59,853 votes against (former Democratic Rep. John) Tanner but has not done as well since.
This year, none of the challengers has much name recognition, an indication to Union University political science department chairman Sean F. Evans that Democrats have conceded the seat to Fincher.
Redistricting also made the seat more Republican-leaning while placing more of Shelby County in it, opening Fincher, 39, to a possible challenge down the line, Evans suggests. But for the moment, he said, Fincher’s hold seems solid.
Rep. Stephen Fincher’s bill aimed at making it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses to go public passed the House on Thursday, marking the first major legislative victory for the first-term Republican from Frog Jump, according to Gannet Tennessee. Fincher’s bill formed a key piece of a larger jobs package designed to spur the growth of start-ups and help small businesses raise capital. The group of bills passed the House 390-23 in a rare moment of bipartisan agreement. All of Tennessee’s House members voted for it except Republican Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. of Knoxville, who did not vote
. “This was a good day, hopefully, for the workers in America, the job creators who can do some positive things for people who are hurting and unemployed,” Fincher said after the vote.
His measure would reduce regulatory costs for an initial public offering by creating an IPO “on-ramp” for companies with less than $1 billion in annual revenue, phasing in certain requirements over five years. Those requirements now take effect as soon as – or in some cases before – a company goes public.
By Adrian Sainz, Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher already has raised more than $900,000 for his re-election campaign, while Democrats are targeting his 8th District seat as they wait for a candidate to come forward.
Fincher, a Republican from Frog Jump, is wrapping up his first year in the GOP-controlled House. The freshman congressman has voted mostly along Republican party lines and received a prestigious committee promotion, while also building a bank account that places him in a strong position heading into the 2012 election.
With Tennessee’s Republican-controlled General Assembly in charge of redistricting, Fincher’s hold on the northwest Tennessee seat could get even tighter if lines are re-drawn to accommodate more Republicans and fewer Democrats in the district.
National Democrats, however, say Fincher can be beat in 2012. They claim he has turned his back on his soybean, corn and cotton farming district by moving from the Agriculture Committee to the big-bucks Financial Affairs Committee. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has blasted out several email attacks on Fincher, setting the groundwork for next year.
“Fincher Opposed $300,394 To Hire Tennessee Cops,” says the headline of one e-mail. “Representative Fincher’s Failure Creating Jobs,” says another.
Fincher, who voted for House Speaker John Boehner’s debt reduction bill and the repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, doesn’t agree that he’s vulnerable.
“We’ll have the funds we need to run a successful and aggressive campaign — which is why the Democrats won’t target the 8th,” Fincher wrote in an email interview with The Associated Press. “The same folks that brought me to the dance are continuing to support me.”
Excerpt from a Tennessean story on Super PACs:
Bill Hemrick, a Williamson County man who made his fortune as a co-founder of the Upper Deck sports card company, is finalizing the paperwork for a super PAC that will support the eventual Republican (presidential) nominee, no matter who it is, though he’s a fervent supporter of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota — “the only true conservative” — for now.
“Whoever we get will be more conservative than the one we’ve got,” Hemrick said, referring to Obama. “Hopefully we can raise enough money to be influential.”
Hemrick, who already has a traditional political action committee called National Fiscal Conservative PAC, said he hopes to raise millions of dollars for the super PAC, including some of his own money. He said he wouldn’t coordinate with the GOP nominee’s campaign.
“I can say on the air that Michele Bachmann is the greatest thing since sliced bread,” he said. “But I can’t use her voice or tell her that I’m going to say that.”
Adrian Eddleman, an investment adviser in Jackson, Tenn., was the treasurer of a super PAC that supported Stephen Fincher in his successful congressional campaign last year. That group, Conservatives for Truth, raised more than $112,000 and spent all but $307.16 of it, according to its federal financial disclosures. The two largest donations it collected were for $25,000 each.
Conservatives for Truth poured almost all of its resources — $100,000 — into a 30-second ad touting Fincher’s pro-life, pro-growth bona fides as those of a “conservative Ronald Reagan Republican.” The spot used a still photograph of the candidate but didn’t feature any footage of him.
Eddleman said Conservatives for Truth “acted completely on our own” and never talked to Fincher’s campaign about its plans.
Eddleman, who might focus more of his political energies on the state legislature in 2012, said he has no regrets about the super PAC experience. But he said the political system would be better off if individual and corporate donors could give unlimited amounts directly to candidates’ campaigns, with full disclosure required.
“Going through political action committees, whether they be super PACs or regular PACs, that has a tendency to divide or separate from the politician where that money is coming from, and I think that’s an important thing for the voters to be able to see,” he said.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Nashville-area author has written a book about the sinking of the Titanic, culled from 200 news articles after the 1912 disaster.
Stephen W. Hines has written “Titanic: One Newspaper, Seven Days and the Truth That Shocked the World,” published by Cumberland House.
The book is based on clippings from the Daily Telegraph of London. A news release from the publisher says there was much misinformation about the sinking, and it was up to the Telegraph to determine the truth.
The luxury liner sank in the Atlantic Ocean after hitting an iceberg.
Hines has published 17 books.
— Note: I know Steve. He lives in Nolensville. The book is, of course, timed to be in print on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking.
News release from Rep. Jim Cooper’s office:
NASHVILLE–U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) has named Stephen George as his new press secretary. George, who most recently was the editor of the Nashville City Paper, will take over the press operation starting in September.
“Stephen brings a much needed outside perspective to Washington. His experience will be invaluable to our operation,” said Congressman Jim Cooper. “We are delighted to welcome him to our team.”
George has almost a decade of experience as a reporter and extensive knowledge of the Nashville political scene. Though based in Washington, he will split time between the two offices.
“I’ve always found the legislative process fascinating, and I am thrilled to work for someone who considers it as thoroughly and respectfully as Jim Cooper,” said George. “His principles are sound and evident in what he says and does. I look forward to working with him and his talented staff.”
The Federal Election Commission met over complaints that U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., violated election laws regarding filing requirements and a loan to his campaign but there was “an insufficient number of votes” to support them, according to a commission lawyer.
More from the Commercial Appeal story: In an undated letter to Fincher’s lawyer, Elliot S. Berke, Acting Deputy Associate General Counsel for Enforcement Susan L. Lebeaux wrote that three violations were reviewed. The six-member commission, which is equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, needs a majority vote to take action. As a result, Lebeaux wrote, “the commission has closed its file in this matter.”
Fincher’s $250,000 bank loan from the Gates Banking and Trust Co., where his father was on the board of directors, was a major issue in the waning days of last year’s campaign against Democratic state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden. That was in part because Fincher filed a statement to the House clerk indicating he had no assets or liabilities. Those reports were amended after he took office in January.
A complaint to the U.S. Attorney’s Office over Fincher’s financial disclosures was made by Covington lawyer J. Houston Gordon, a former Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, at about the time the FEC began looking into the matter last year.
Herron said Thursday evening that he would have no comment until he had reviewed the letter and learned how the commission voted.