News release from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s campaign:
“Elizabeth and I are grateful to the people of our state for once again giving me the privilege of serving Tennessee in the United States Senate. I also appreciate the work of countless people who volunteered their time and resources to help our campaign,” said Senator Corker.
“As I begin a new term, I pledge to continue waking up every day and working to solve the major problems our country faces. I do not take lightly the trust that Tennesseans have given me to reach across the aisle and tackle our nation’s greatest threat – the critical task of getting our country’s fiscal house in order. If we can solve this fiscal challenge appropriately, I believe we will unleash significant economic growth and be able to fully focus on ensuring the greatness of America.”
Statement issued by U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais through his campaign:
“For the second election in a row, my opponents and the liberal media have tried to ignore the problems facing our nation and instead concentrate solely on a 14 year old divorce.
“Last Night’s election results clearly show that Tennesseans want leaders in Washington who are focused on providing solutions that will ensure a brighter future for our country.
“When I first ran for Congress I promised that I would go to Washington and fight to reduce the size of government, end the deficit spending and repeal ObamaCare. I believe that I have kept these promises and I look forward to using this term to build upon the many successes already achieved by House Republicans.
“I want to thank the voters of Tennessee’s Fourth District for once again giving me the honor of representing them in Congress. I also want to thank my family for their steadfast love and support.”
News release from Mark Clayton campaign:
Mark Clayton is out thanking Democrats who turned out in large numbers in a mandate to restore democracy to our party. With 83% of the votes in from Tennessee Democrats, 655,438, an overwhelming majority of Democrats have now voted for Mark Clayton in the race against the unelected bosses who waged a write-in campaign their own duly nominated leader with unauthorized party resources. Mark Clayton will continue to defend Democrats from unelected bosses and is calling for hearings into the integrity of voting rights in Tennessee when the General Assembly convenes next year.
By calling Democrats “too stupid” to vote and attacking democracy, the unelected bosses drove swing and independent voters from our party and cost Democrats their chance to unseat Bob Corker. We call for the immediate resignation of unelected party bosses in the Tennessee Democratic Party. The people of Tennessee tonight have clearly demanded that Democrats never again be subjugated to bosses who are not elected by Democrats.
News release from National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund:
Fairfax, Va. – The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is endorsing Bob Corker for U.S. Senate in Tennessee.
“Bob Corker has fought to protect our Second Amendment rights,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of NRA-PVF. “His strong voting record has earned him an “A” rating from the NRA-PVF, and we proudly endorse him for re-election to the U.S. Senate.”
Bob Corker voted against confirming anti-Second Amendment Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and joined the historic briefs filed before the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, which argued that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Tennessee or anywhere else in America. Senator Corker signed bipartisan letters opposing any international treaty by the United Nations or any other global organization that would impose restrictions on American gun owners. He also voted for the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity amendment, which would have ensured that law-abiding Americans with a valid concealed handgun permit would have been able to carry a concealed handgun in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.
“We need senators like Bob Corker to continue defending our rights,” continued Cox. “We urge all NRA members, gun owners, and sportsmen in Tennessee to vote Bob Corker for U.S. Senate on November 6.”
Chris W. Cox is NRA’s chief lobbyist. He also serves as chairman of NRA-PVF. The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund is responsible for political candidate ratings and endorsements. These are based on candidate voting records, public statements and responses to NRA-PVF questionnaires.
While passion about gun rights contributed to the defeat of state Rep. and House Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart on Thursday, The Tennessean says her ouster may not dramatically change how the legislature addresses Second Amendment rights — at least not in the near future. Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, said the legislature and its leaders will try to respect the rights of property and gun owners when they consider this type of legislation next spring.
“We will always do what is best for the state of Tennessee,” Harwell said. “We are always open to discussion, but our job is to uphold the Constitution and do what’s best for the state.”
…And while Harwell said all of the state Republicans who won Thursday share common conservative principles, she said the all-out effort didn’t play well with lawmakers.
“Some members have been upset about how she was treated,” she said.
…John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, said the reasons his group got involved went beyond a single bill.
“It dates back to the broader issue last year when she said that she had no intent of taking Second Amendment issues to the floor in an election year,” he said.
Harris expects the law to pass eventually, whether in the next General Assembly or another one with more receptive legislators. And he sent a not-so-veiled warning to GOP leaders that they should pay attention to what happened Thursday — even if some of Tennessee’s biggest businesses don’t like it.
“We hope this legislation won’t be derailed by leadership because of financial allegiances,” he said.
In a statement, Chris Cox, who leads the NRA’s Political Victory Fund, called Rogers’ win a great victory for the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms.
“The NRA will always champion Second Amendment rights in Tennessee and across the United States,” Cox said. “We look forward to working with Courtney Rogers and all of our supporters in Nashville during the next legislative session to help secure passage of the Safe Commute Act.”
John Geer, chairman of the political science department at Vanderbilt University, said… this race showed how the Republican-dominated legislature could end up taking more conservative positions than the people it represents, a finding that emerged in a poll Vanderbilt conducted in partnership with The Tennessean earlier this year.
“They’re not fearful of losing to a Democrat,” he said.
“They’re more afraid of losing to a more conservative candidate.”
The Hamilton County Election Commission found 25 more votes for Todd Gardenhire in Tennessee’s Senate District 10 race Friday, and now his competitor, Greg Vital, wants a total recount, reports the Times Free Press. The votes, products of an electronic uploading error from voting machines, brought Gardenhire’s lead to 40 votes in the district. Election Commission Chairman Mike Walden said the uploading error from a machine in the Eastdale precinct didn’t count the votes for five candidates there, including Gardenhire.
“We’re in the process of re-uploading the cards again,” Walden said. “The [overall] results didn’t change.”
The new votes increased Gardenhire’s total to 8,020 over Vital’s 7,980 in a district that includes parts of Hamilton and Bradley counties.
Vital released a statement Friday calling for a recount. The election commission plans to certify the election Aug. 16, and Vital then will have five days to request the recount, election commission attorney Chris Clem said.
Early Friday, the Vital campaign hinged its hopes on provisional ballots, but election officials told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that there were only five — two in Hamilton County and three in Bradley County.
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.
Rick Santorum rode a wave of social conservative support to victory in Tennessee’s Super Tuesday Republican presidential primary, overcoming the solid support for Mitt Romney from many state GOP leaders.
The Tennessee results were a disappointment for Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich, who finished third in a state he had hoped would help his campaign rebound.
The results were also marked a rare win for a candidate who was hugely outspent in Tennessee campaigning. Pro-Romney forces, including a “Super PAC,” spent about $1.6 million advertising in the state – much of the money going to TV ads that attacked Santorum – while Gingrich’s forces spent about $470,000, according the most recently-reported figures.
Only about $100,000 was spent on Santorum advertising in the state, but the candidate had made trips to the state – the last including an appearance at a Memphis Baptist Church on Sunday. Romney visited Knoxville Sunday while Gingrich campaigned through East Tennessee on Monday.
“I think what he stands for is the closest to how Tennesseans feel about things,” said state Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, who is co-chairman of the Santorum campaign in Tennessee.
“He is the candidate who recognizes you have to be both socicially conservative and fiscally conservative because, when morals go down, taxes go up,” said Dunn in an interview after Santorum’s Tennessee victory was clear.
Latest unofficial returns Tuesday night, with about 58 percent of the vote counted, showed former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Santorum with 38 percent of the total, followed by Romney with 28 percent. Gingrich had 23 percent followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul with 9 percent.
Fifty-five delegates will be sent to the Republican National Convention from Tennessee. It appeared Tuesday night that Santorum had won at least 19 of the 28 delegates that will be allocated on the basis of statewide results. The remaining 27 are based on the voting in each of the state’s nine Congressional districts and the allocation was unclear late Tuesday.
The Associated Press said exit polling of 1,769 Tennessee Republican primary voters found that about seven in 10 identified themselves as born-again Christians.. About three-quarters said it mattered at least somewhat that a candidate shared their religious beliefs.
Romney is a Mormon while Santorum is Catholic.
Dunn, a Catholic who accepts the born-again label for himself, said the born-again majority in Tennessee is not surprising and ties into the belief that “You have to fix your social problems or you’re never going to fix your money problems.”
Dunn was the first state legislator to endorse Santorum, though 11 others eventually joined him. Six backed Gingrich. Twenty-two state legislators backed Romney, including House Speaker Beth Harwell.
Gov. Bill Haslam served as chairman of the Romney campaign in Tennessee and traveled the state last week to urge support for the former Massachusetts governor. Romney was also backed by four of the state’s GOP congressmen – the others did not endorse anyone – along with Sen. Lamar Alexander, former Gov. Winfield Dunn and many of the state’s leading Republican fundraisers.
It remains to be seen how significant Santorum’s victory in Tennessee, one of ten state’s voting or holding caucuses on “Super Tuesday,” will be in the national presidential nomination picture. In 2008, Tennessee Republicans gave a state victory to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who presented himself as the most socially conservative candidate in that year’s campaign. Arizona Sen. John McCain finished as Tennessee runnerup in 2008 and went on to win the GOP nomination. Romney finished third in Tennessee’s 2008 contest.
President Obama was unopposed in the Democratic primary. State Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester sent out a statement Tuesday night criticizing Romney, who many Democrats believe will be the ultimate winner of the Republican contest.
“Mitt Romney’s loss tonight shows that he is out-of-touch with Tennesseans and it raises serious concerns about his chances in November — if he can make it to the general election,” said Forrester. “Not only did he and Tennessee’s Republican establishment fail to convince GOP voters to support his candidacy; he also wounded himself among women, moderate and blue-collar workers, without whose support he simply cannot win.”