Will Dems pick a mayor to run for governor next time out?

Sens. Lee Harris and Jeff Yarbro tell the TFP that one of three big-city Democratic mayors — Chattanooga's Andy Berke, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan — could make a play for the governor's mansion. TNGOP chair Ryan Haynes isn't so sure:


"If you look at the record of accomplishments that our leaders have put out and stack them up against theirs, we feel very confident that we will keep the governor's mansion in the next few years," he said. "I don't think any of those candidates are household names across the state."

Sure. But Charlie Brown is a household name and you see where that got Democrats.


Aug 17, 2015 6:54 AM

State investigating illegal inmate labor claims at CCA-run Nashville jail

Former inmates say they were made to make (without pay) items jail employees sold at the flea market and they have a pretty clever way to prove it:


To prove the items being sold by Stand Firm Designs were made by inmates, Stephney and Brew concealed their names under pieces of wood nailed to the backs of items. They also wrote the number 412148, which refers to a section of Tennessee code that makes it illegal for jail officials to require an inmate to perform labor that results in the official’s personal gain. The AP was shown some of the items with the concealed names and numbers.

Aug 17, 2015 6:44 AM

Will the runoff turn on the black vote? And will Freeman endorse?

Joey Garrison digs in to if the African-American vote will make the runoff election.

Howard Gentry (who says he hasn't decided if he'll endorse) has a warning:

"It's going to be really based on the candidate," Gentry said when asked who he believes most black voters will support. "Black voters are not sheep. You just don't herd them around. People spent a lot time trying to influence the black vote with people (in the general election). And they're just as intelligent and just as able to make their choices as anybody.

"So, I just believe that whoever appeals to the black vote the greatest, appeals to the issues that are important to the communities that most live, will be the candidate that gets the support."

Meanwhile, Bill Freeman (who also did well in heavily African-American boxes) tells Frank Daniels he's not sure if he'll endorse. That has upset some Democrats, though it's not a total shock given the (ahem) cool relationship Freeman has with former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who endorsed Megan Barry. Furthermore, if, as Freeman repeatedly said during the campaign, he has no further ambition beyond mayor, it doesn't really damage him in Democratic politics to withhold his endorsement (or even to endorse Fox). Future Democratic candidates will no doubt cash Freeman's checks even if he doesn't back Barry.

Aug 17, 2015 6:36 AM

The most powerful force in the world is inertia

State Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris says legislative Republicans aren't doing anything:


Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris released the following statement on Republican leaders’ unwillingness to confront Tennessee’s infrastructure problems:

“I think last legislative session we saw something pretty historical,” Sen. Harris said. “A supermajority of the legislature decided not to debate on the floor or vote on the biggest issue of the year. The leaders of the other side of the aisle chose inaction over action.

“Let’s not make any mistake about it: based on what we’ve heard so far from the other side of the aisle on the issue of our roads and infrastructure, they’re planning to do it again. Correction. When it comes to possibly one of the biggest issues of the coming legislative session, our roads and infrastructure, they’re planning to do nothing again.”

Aug 14, 2015 12:45 PM

WIN wants Barry to win

Women in Numbers has endorsed Megan Barry for the runoff:

“Women in Numbers is pleased to endorse Megan Barry in the runoff,” said WIN President Elke Ridenour. “Her strong leadership and experience make her well qualified for the job and we are excited to support her as she seeks to become Nashville’s first female mayor.”

“This is an historic moment for Nashville and we are confident that Megan will inspire future female leaders to engage in the political process and pursue public office,” said Win Executive Director, Hattie DeWalt.

“I am honored to receive the support of Women in Numbers,” Barry said. “WIN has played a pivotal role in encouraging women like myself to run for office, and I look forward to partnering with them in that work when elected Mayor.”

Aug 14, 2015 11:33 AM

At legislative Dems' guns roundtable, Nashville officials reiterate guns won't be allowed at Titans and Preds games

Noting that testimony from gun-control supporters was non-existent when the guns-in-parks bill was debated, Senate Democrats hosted a roundtable Thursday. Even with the AG opining that cities can't ban guns at large municipal arenas and amphitheaters, Metro Law Director Saul Solomon said guns are still banned at Nissan Stadium, Bridgestone Arena and Ascend Amphitheater

Aug 14, 2015 6:01 AM

Ramsey says where there's smoke, there's fire vis a vis the Department of Correction

The lieutenant governor says there's something afoot at the Department of Correction because this much chatter can't be much ado about nothing.

Aug 14, 2015 5:55 AM

State (ahem) 'overcollections' hit $606M

The state just keeps on bringing in that extra dosh.


Aug 13, 2015 9:11 PM

Bredesen endorses Barry

Former mayor and governor Phil Bredesen doesn't hand out endorsements easily or often — he stayed quiet during the general election though we can probably assume he wasn't going to endorse Bill Freeman — but he's out in favor of Megan Barry.

Amanda Haggard at Pith:

“The founders of Metro Nashville wisely understood that our city’s government should include everyone. As mayor, I learned that the only way to build a coalition is to push partisan politics aside, and Megan Barry will do that,” Bredesen said in a release from Barry's camp.

An endorsement during the runoff from a moderate Democrat like Bredesen — who, it’s worth noting, is well liked by nearly everyone — could help Barry bring back voters who Fox may have convinced she was too much of a liberal for Nashville. And even if it doesn't convince voters, it's a certain pushback against Fox's claims.

In a statement, Fox said: "Who doesn't love Phil Bredesen. That's a great endorsement. I know Phil Bredesen and Megan Barry have been friends a long time, so I get that. I think we all aspire to be the kind of mayor he was."

And he wraps it with a jealousy-tinged bow: "The good thing is that I'm not running against Phil Bredesen. I'm running against Megan Barry."


Aug 13, 2015 5:29 PM

Insure Tennessee opponent wins East Tennessee special election

Voucher-backer and Insure Tennessee opponent Jason Zachary will replace Ryan Haynes in the State House. 

Aug 13, 2015 9:59 AM