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FEC complaint filed against Wamp

A Signal Mountain businessman has filed an FEC complaint against Weston Wamp:

"My concern is that Weston Wamp is being paid to run for Congress and that he is receiving political contributions that are not reported as such," Mann wrote in his complaint.

Jul 18, 2014 7:07 AM

Huffman critics want some alacrity

The folks who want Kevin Huffman gone don't want the governor waiting until after the election to get him out of there.

Jul 18, 2014 7:04 AM

Campfield uses state-paid constituent communications on TV ads

The state gives legislators thousands of dollars each year to cover the costs of communicating with constituents, and Sen. Stacey Campfield is the first to use that money to air "legislative updates" on cable TV, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.

The money — $6,832 annually for state senators and $2,016 for reps — is typically used on postage and printing costs. Lawmakers tend to stockpile those dollars and either use them on mailers shortly before the elections or transfer funds to fellow legislators. While the state prohibits lawmakers from including political references or postmarking the communications fewer than 30 days from the election, critics argue the communications give incumbents an edge over political challengers. The Dean has more on who gave, who received, and how sitting legislators are spending that money.

Jul 17, 2014 3:36 PM

John Ray Clemmons goes on the air

John Ray Clemmons is up with his first TV ad (see it here) in his bid to primary Gary Odom:

We launched the first television commercial of my campaign today by highlighting the sharp contrast between my proven record and beliefs and the inconsistent record of 28-year incumbent Gary Odom.
            The spot, entitled “New Beginning,” began airing today on television in Nashville and will air through Election Day on August 7th.
I am a progressive Democrat. I have proven that through my actions as a neighborhood and non-profit leader and advocate for progressive causes and issues in the 55th District. I am proud to have been appointed to positions of trust by former Governor Phil Bredesen and Mayor Karl Dean.
            It is time for change in the 55th District.
            After 28 years in office, Gary Odom has lost his way. Odom can’t serve two masters by claiming to represent “Democratic values” on one hand while using his influence as a lobbyist to funnel money to the campaigns of Republican and Tea Party legislators who are diametrically opposed to the values of the 55th District.
            The Republican and Tea Party legislators that Odom supports tried to put guns in our parks and restaurants. They want to control our elected school board. They want to decide what the future of our city looks like. They have refused to expand Medicaid or to participate in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps most troubling, many of these Tea Party legislators have filed bills that constitute a “war on women” by refusing to address income inequality and trying to interfere with their personal health care decisions.
            I will be a strong, progressive voice in the state legislature for the people of the 55th District. I will fight the Tea Party in Tennessee and oppose the influence they want to exert on local issues in Nashville.
Nashville was built by progressive leaders. I will stand up to the Tea Party legislature interfering with our city’s future.

Jul 17, 2014 12:20 PM

Shelby County misspells Gordon Ball's name, Gordon Ball reacts

The Shelby County Election Commission misspelled Gordon Ball's name on absentee ballots (it is spelled as "Gordan Ball," as seen here). He issues a statement:

"In preparation and distribution of absentee ballots in Shelby County, my name was misspelled. Our team is respectfully requesting that the Shelby County Election Commission rectify this mistake and issue a public statement," Democratic Candidate Gordon Ball said this morning. "Our names are important. How would Sen. Lamar Alexander feel if his name had been misspelled by one letter. if Lamer Alexander was on the ballot, the senator probably wouldn't like this anymore than I do."

Jul 17, 2014 11:10 AM

New NRA rankings downgrade governor

The governor slips down to a C on the latest NRA report card.

Jul 17, 2014 6:24 AM

FOP backs Supremes

The Fraternal Order of Police supports retention.

Jul 17, 2014 6:21 AM

The difference in 21

Steven Hale looks for a difference in Jeff Yarbro and Mary Mancini and finds one of approach, not politics:

Take perhaps the biggest policy question facing the state as a whole right now: whether to expand Medicaid or to embrace Gov. Bill Haslam's nebulous Tennessee Plan — the details of which remain a mystery to Tennesseans, state legislators and apparently even the federal government. Yarbro says he's optimistic that expansion can happen in some form, if elected Democrats work effectively in the current political environment.  

"It's not compromising the values of Medicaid expansion, it's looking for the right way for Tennessee to do it," he says.

Mancini rejects the notion that the two approaches — working with the majority or rallying to oppose them — are mutually exclusive. It's a matter of picking one's spots, she says. But there's no missing the rallying-cry tone in her voice.  

"The issue is, when do you take a stand on Democratic values, and when do you work with the other side?" Mancini says. "My best way of explaining it is, at this point what Democrats need to do is to stop allowing Republicans to define what the conversation is, what we talk about, what our values are.

"As long as we have Republicans like Mae Beavers, and Stacey Campfield, and Brian Kelsey, and Ron Ramsey sort of dominating the conversation and dictating what the conversation is, then I'm not running to work with them, I'm running to stop them. Because their values and their priorities are not the values and the priorities of working people, they're not the values and priorities of small business. They're the values and priorities of special interests and large corporations."

When it comes to working with Republicans toward some form of Medicare expansion, or simply decrying their stance on the issue as loudly as possible, Mancini says, "There's actually a third part of that equation that everybody forgets about — and that's people."

Recalling her experience as an organizer, Mancini says getting people involved so that they "advocate on their own behalf" will go further than "horse-trading with Republicans."

"They're not going to move on that issue," she says. "To them, expanding Medicaid is a political football, and they are continuing to use it as political football. The only way that we're going to get them to listen is for constituents to stand up and say, 'Stop with the politics.' "

Jul 17, 2014 6:20 AM