Sen. Lamar Alexander supported President Barack Obama’s positions on Senate bills in 2012 more frequently than any other Republican senator from the South, according to an independent voting analysis noted by Gannett newspapers in Tennessee. A study by Congressional Quarterly shows that on bills where Obama had a clearly stated position, Alexander voted with the president 62 percent of the time. Only Republican senators from Maine, Massachusetts, Alaska and Indiana had higher “presidential support” scores.
Alexander’s presidential support scores in recent years include 63 percent in 2011 and 52 percent in 2010. In both of those years, he also voted with Obama more often than any other southern Republican senator. The study comes at a time when there continues to be grumbling among some Tennessee Republicans — often expressed in blogs and other Internet postings — that Alexander is too moderate.
…Because the Congressional Quarterly study focuses only on votes where the president has a clearly defined position, it covers a minority of Senate roll calls.
In 2012, for instance, the Senate took 251 roll call votes but Congressional Quarterly only found 79 where the president had a clearly stated position. And 40 of those were judicial nominations.
Alexander has a long-stated position that a president of either party should have his appointments barred only in extreme circumstances.
Southern Republican senators close behind in supporting Obama were Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas at 58 percent, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina at 57 percent and fellow Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker at 56 percent.
News release from Secretary of State’s office:
Eleven Electoral College representatives from across Tennessee met in Nashville Monday to cast the state’s presidential votes for Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential running mate, Paul Ryan.
Like most states, Tennessee’s votes in the Electoral College are allocated based on a “winner take all” system – which means the electors pledged to award all 11 of the state’s votes to the candidate who received the highest amount of votes statewide in the Nov. 6 general election.
Results of Monday’s meeting of the electors will be forwarded to Washington, D.C., where Congress is scheduled to meet in a joint session Jan. 6 to accept the results from all 50 states.
Tennessee’s electoral votes are determined by its proportional share of the United States population. The electors this year were:
A lawsuit has been filed challenging the results of a liquor-by-the-drink referendum in the town of Pigeon Forge, reports the News Sentinel. The lawsuit filed on behalf of Concerned Churches & Citizens of Pigeon Forge in Sevier County Chancery Court claims an “incurable uncertainty” surrounds the results of the Nov. 6 referendum that saw liquor-by-the-drink approved by a margin of 100 votes.
The election marked the issue’s third appearance on the ballot since 2009.
Proponents of liquor by the drink called the lawsuit a “frivolous” refusal to accept defeat at the polls.
“We kind of consider it sour grapes,” said Ken Maples, an owner of the Comfort Inn & Suites in Pigeon Forge and a member of Forging Ahead, which campaigned for the proposal. “Both times we were defeated, we licked our wounds and went home. Our opposition finds it necessary to file a lawsuit.”
…The lawsuit cites complaints of city residents not being allowed to vote on the referendum and of county residents getting a vote. Vote totals don’t match up, according to the lawsuit, and some voters’ addresses lead nowhere.
The final vote tally added up to 1,232 votes in favor of liquor by the drink and 1,132 votes against. That’s a total of 2,364 votes — 303 more than voter rolls list as taking part in the election, according to the lawsuit.
“Somehow 303 more votes ended up on the referendum than were registered,” said Lewis Howard Jr., the attorney who filed the lawsuit.
Residents already have filed complaints with the election commission. The lawsuit demands the results be thrown out and a new referendum ordered.
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.
The chairman of the Shelby County Election Commission conceded Tuesday that nearly 1,000 voters received the wrong ballots during early voting for state and federal primary races in the Aug. 2 elections, according to the Commercial Appeal. But voters who received the wrong ballots won’t get to vote again with the right ballots, said commission chairman Robert Meyers.
Meyers, a Republican, publicly thanked the Democratic nominee for a Shelby County Commission seat, Steve Ross, for identifying the glitch that caused the problem.
Saying that the information Ross released on his popular progressive blog Monday was “a correct report,” Meyers at a late afternoon news conference Tuesday tried to assure voters that proper “corrective action” had been taken. The mistakes appear to be related to a late rush by the Election Commission to update voter files based on redistricting in state and federal races.
The votes that were cast for the wrong race will still count, and those voters will not get a chance to cast ballots in the correct race, Meyers said, citing the one-man, one-vote principle. The wrong ballots appear to be dispersed across several races, with the vast majority in state House contests.
Weston Wamp said a new study validates his charge that U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann hasn’t honored a campaign pledge to save taxpayer cash, reports the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. “Mr. Fleischmann’s record shows that his walk does not line up with his talk,” Wamp said Thursday in a news release. “When he had a chance to make a difference and cut spending, he couldn’t pull the trigger.”
Wamp, who along with two others is challenging Fleischmann in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District Republican primary, was remarking on a study released by the Washington, D.C.-based Club for Growth. The study tracked House votes on this year’s 25 proposed amendments to appropriations bills that would have slashed spending and put the savings toward debt reduction — something Fleischmann claims to attempt every time he visits the House floor.
Not so, according to the study. Fleischmann supported 11 of 25 amendments overall, scoring 44 percent and finishing last among seven House Republicans from Tennessee.
The average Republican scored 59 percent.
Fleischmann defended his voting record.
“Most of these votes would have adversely impacted Oak Ridge [Tenn.], and I have said from day one … that the ongoing national security and nuclear energy work at Oak Ridge is a top priority of mine,” Fleischmann said in a email sent by campaign spokesman Jordan Powell.
In his release, Wamp, the 25-year-old son of former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, did not say whether he would have supported all the appropriations amendments, but in the past he has praised his father’s support for Oak Ridge and pledged to continue that tradition.
— Note: The Wamp release is below.
News release from Mitt Romney campaign
Boston, MA – Senator Lamar Alexander today announced that he had voted for Mitt Romney during early-voting in Blount County, Tennessee.
“I’m truly honored to earn Lamar’s vote,” said Mitt Romney. “As a conservative leader in this country for many years, Lamar has been an outspoken advocate for smaller government, a balanced budget, and reforming our nation’s broken education system. In the months ahead, I look forward to his counsel as we look to restore America’s promise.”
After early-voting today in Blount County, Tenn., Senator Alexander told media present, “I learned a long time ago that Tennesseans didn’t elect me to tell them how to vote, but I voted for Governor Romney.
“We’re electing a commander in chief who knows something about creating jobs, not a legislator in chief. For me, Governor Romney is the right choice. He’s led a state, he’s led a business, he’s led the Olympics. All our candidates are good Republicans; I don’t think they really disagree very much. They emphasize their differences, but the important difference is, Governor Romney has the executive experience this country needs, he’s a good Republican, he can attract independents, and I believe he can defeat President Obama and lead our country in a better direction.” Background On Lamar Alexander:
Lamar Alexander Is The Senior Senator From The State Of Tennessee. Alexander has served in the U.S. Senate since 2003 and is the former Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. President George H.W. Bush appointed him Secretary of Education in 1991. Alexander served as the Governor of Tennessee from 1979 to 1987. Before being elected to public office, Alexander was an aide to Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The state Senate has approved new boundaries for Tennessee’s nine congressional seats.
The chamber voted 24-9 Friday to approve the map passed by the House a day before. The measure now heads to the governor for his signature.
Republicans rejected efforts to redraw the lines for the 9th District in Memphis, where Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen has complained that the new boundaries would remove all the major Jewish institutions and much of the Jewish vote from his district.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville said that the new district lines are less divisive, because Shelby County will now only be represented by two congressmen, instead of three.
The Senate also voted 23-10 to approve new House districts that the lower chamber passed earlier.
Congressman Scott DesJarlais received more than $20,000 from political action committees associated with House Republican leaders in the past three months of 2011, observes The Tennessean, though he voted against the party line on occasion (and points that out in a news release on his first campaign radio ad of the year.) DesJarlais said campaign contributions from House leaders signal their support for his “independent voice.”
“I think they have grown to know where I stand in principle, and they respect that,” he said
…Lara Brown, a specialist on American politics at Villanova University, said DesJarlais and other tea party-backed freshmen don’t necessarily pay a price for breaking with party leaders.
“It’s not unusual for leadership to understand that certain members of the legislature need to distance themselves from the establishment, especially if their reputation was gained in some of these outsider activities such as the tea party movement,” she said. “It’s less expensive and strategically beneficial for the leadership to keep an incumbent, even if that incumbent doesn’t always agree with them. Then they can redirect resources to candidates who are more endangered.”