Tennessee House Republican Caucus communications director has strong congressional background
Dec 20, 2012 7:00 AM
TNGOP is still waiting for Chip Forrester to apologize to Stephen Fincher:
One week after being caught, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester has yet to set the record straight or much less apologize for making false accusations about Congressman Stephen Fincher (TN-08). In a TNDP press release last Thursday, Forrester claimed that Fincher broke a campaign promise not to accept his taxpayer-funded healthcare plan, when in fact, Fincher has refused his government healthcare option.Despite his mistake being pointed out, as of midday Friday, the original press release remains on the Tennessee Democratic Party website and no public retraction or apology has been sent. “Last week, we called on Mr. Forrester to apologize to Congressman Fincher for calling him the ‘worst kind of hypocrite’ despite the fact that Congressman Fincher did keep his campaign promise,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney. “We understand that it would be very humiliating for Mr. Forrester to apologize for his press release, but we hope that he would at least have a shred of decency to press the ‘delete’ button on his character assassination of Congressman Fincher,” said Devaney.EARLIER: Forrester's original release and the Republican response
Feb 11, 2011 2:01 PM
TNGOP says Chip Forrester got it wrong on Fincher and health care:
Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester sent out a press release late Thursday attacking Republican Congressman Stephen Fincher (TN-08). Forrester claims that Fincher broke a campaign promise not to accept his taxpayer-funded healthcare plan, when in fact, Fincher has NOT. Forrester went as far as to call Fincher the "worst kind of hypocrite." "Never mind the facts, Chairman Forrester seems to be chomping at the bit to attack Republicans for anything, regardless of the attack's accuracy. So much for the civility he and President Obama seem to blather so much about," said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney. "The bottom line is that Congressman Fincher did keep his promise, but Chip apparently didn't get the memo. We hope that Chairman Forrester, or probably his press secretary, admits his mistake, apologizes to Congressman Fincher for calling him a liar, and does a better job of getting the facts before demonizing another man", said Devaney. Forrester ended his false press release by stating, "The people of the 8th Congressional District deserve better than a public official willing to blatantly lie in order get their vote." We absolutely agree, Chip!
Feb 5, 2011 7:44 AM
After Steve Cohen compared Republican tactics on health care to those of Joseph Goebbels, TNGOP reacts:
“During a time when there are widespread calls to tone down the political rhetoric, it is unbelievable that Congressman Cohen would resort to such reckless rhetoric,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney. “Whether for or against the repeal of the new healthcare law, we should be able to have a healthy debate on this issue, and we call on Congressman Cohen to apologize for his remarks,” said Devaney.And the Shelby County Republican Party:
Last night, Ninth district Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen made outrageous comments on the House floor comparing Republican opposition to Obama's health care policies to Nazi atrocities such as the Holocaust. Cohen stated that Republican opinions of the bill are "just like (Josef) Goebbels." Goebbels was the chief Nazi propagandist for Hitler and was complicit in the death of millions of people. Cohen went on to say that "The Germans said enough about the Jews and the people believed it and you had the Holocaust.” When questioned today by TPM, Cohen defended his remarks stating that he "meant what he said". Lang Wiseman, Chairman of the Republican Party of Shelby County, responded to Cohen's attacks with a demand for an apology from the Congressman. "I’m not sure which is worse – making the remarks or defending them even after having had a chance to pause and reflect. Comparing Republicans to Nazi criminals is outlandish and offensive, and he should certainly apologize." Wiseman said. Cohen's remarks were not even made in the context of a private conversation, or in a speech to his supporters; but instead these statements were made on national television on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, in advance of an important vote. His comments came only days after liberal groups, including supporters of Cohen, complained about a lack of "civility" in political discourse. Wiseman added "How does comparing your opponents to Nazis raise the level and tone of civil discourse?"
Jan 20, 2011 7:00 AM
Chris Devaney sends a "chairman to chairman" letter out this dustup right here:
While you and I have a respectful difference of opinion on the role the federal government should play in Americans’ lives, I think that you would agree these comments about race have no place in a healthy political debate. Rep. Turner’s remarks are uninformed and misguided. It is my hope that you will immediately ask Rep. Turner to apologize for his personal attacks on the vast number of Tennesseans who do not agree with his Democratic Party’s agenda for our country.SEE ALSO: Humphrey Betsy Phillips
Mar 23, 2010 12:38 PM
The state House Caucus chair thinks some of it may be a smidge racist:
Asked his view on the Health Freedom Act, which orders Attorney General Bob Cooper to sue to overturn any federal mandate to buy insurance, Turner said: “I have one thing to say about that: Appomattox.” “We’ve got a lot of bills on states’ rights here, state sovereignty and all that,” he added. “We went through that fight once before. All of a sudden, we have a black man elected president and everybody wants to start acting like something’s wrong with our country. I didn’t agree with a lot of things George Bush did, but I wasn’t ready to secede from the union.” Asked to elaborate afterward, Turner said, “I think some of the people who are against Obama are just against Obama because he’s African-American.”UPDATE: The TNGOP comments:
"Rep. Turner's comments are completely out-of-touch with what Tennesseans believe and they are a slap in the face to people who have real concerns about the consequences of Democrats' government takeover of health care," said Devaney. "To suggest that race is the motivation for Tennesseans' skepticism of government-run health care is irresponsible and nothing more than an effort to deflect actually dealing with one of the most important issues facing our nation and state today. Rep. Turner's comments are further proof that Democrats just don't get it which is why their radical agenda will be rebuked this November."(VIDEO FT: TnReport.com)
Mar 22, 2010 3:47 PM
[caption id="attachment_94807" align="alignright" width="173" caption="Gibson County Mayor Joe Shepard"][/caption] In a surprising show of concern for his political enemies, GOP chair Chris Devaney has sent a letter to Democrats pointing out supposed faults in one of their possible candidates for the state House. The letter, which arrived at Democratic Party headquarters yesterday two weeks before the filing deadline for legislative races, contains a laundry list of negative reports about Gibson County Mayor Joe Shepard, who’s thinking about running for the House in District 79 as a Democrat against Republican Rep. Curtis Halford. Citing state Comptroller audits and newspaper articles, mostly from the Jackson Sun, the letter highlights some of the low points of Shepard's public life, which also includes time as sheriff. Among examples of "missteps" and "questionable incidents", as Devaney calls them in the letter, are accounts of one of Shepard's subordinates serving alcohol to jail inmates, various proposals for tax increases, and excessive overdraft fees charged to government under his control. "Despite our political affiliations, we are first and foremost concerned citizens who care deeply about our state and its future. Like you, I want to see the state of Tennessee grow and prosper under the leadership of qualified individuals who will work in the best interests of their constituents," Devaney states in the letter. "As you will see from the information attached, it is unlikely this is the type of candidate you would deem suitable for your Party, District 79, or the people of the great state of Tennessee." Asked whether he thinks the letter represents sincere concern for the state or whether it's political gamesmanship meant to intimidate Democrats, Democratic Party spokesman Keith Talley would offer only three words: "They are scared." The new GOP executive director Gregory Gleaves responds: "Joe Shepard would be a horrible choice for state representative. Doing a simple Internet search reveals a record that is so shocking and egregious, we felt the need to inform Team Forrester. They clearly have not done their homework on Mr. Shepard, and frankly, we held back the most controversial material. If these are the types of candidates Team Forrester are recruiting statewide, this will be a painful election for them."
Mar 18, 2010 4:28 PM
[caption id="attachment_91696" align="alignright" width="102" caption="John Newman"][/caption] Just one day after the departure of executive director Charlie Schneider from the TNGOP, executive committee members are saying that another party staff member should follow him out the door. John Newman, who was named chief of staff and state director back in July, has filed to run for the position of County Trustee in his native Madison County. Early this year, state party officials tell Post Politics, Newman was relieved of his responsibilities as chief of staff but continued on as state director. The change was made not because of his decision to run for office but because of the conflicting responsibilities of the two job functions. "That shift was primarily made because his position as state director demands significant travel outside Nashville and Party headquarters," says party spokeswoman Kim Ketchel. Ketchel asserts that there is nothing in the party bylaws that forbids a paid staff member from running for public office. But while that may be true, some state executive members tell Post Politics that the spirit of the bylaws are being violated. "It's not appropriate and completely unethical," one member who requested anonymity says. "His job is to help elect Republicans to office. He can hardly do that if he's trying to elect himself. The fault truly goes to [TNGOP] Chairman [Chris] Devaney. It is he who's violated his fiduciary responsibilities to the party members and donors as well as the state executive committee. After hearing that Newman had in fact qualified and would appear on the GOP primary ballot, another says simply, "He should resign immediately." One key issue for state executive committee members is the fact that Newman will have to wage a primary campaign against fellow Republican Theresa Avent. Another concern is whether Newman will truly be putting in the work necessary to build the party and win races when he's representing himself -- rather than the party -- at GOP events and functions in Madison County. "The question I would have is how is the chairman accounting for his time," another member says. "How do we really know how much of his time is really spent on party business as opposed to his own campaign." The party, now without an executive director or a chief of staff, has been diligently working to find a suitable number two to serve at party headquarters. Ketchel tells Post Politics that the responsibilities of the chief of staff will likely be folded into the new executive director position and that that replacement could come any day. "Chairman Devaney has been aware of Charlie Schneider's departure for some time, and we are close to hiring his replacement," says Ketchel.
Feb 18, 2010 10:38 PM
The Davidson County Republican Party has set a date for the closed-door hearing where its executive committee will decide whether controversial First Vice Chair Matt Collins will be stripped of his official party position. The executive committee will meet at the Green Hills Hampton Inn at 6 p.m. Nov. 24 to decide Collins' fate. A party spokeswoman confirms the meeting will be closed both to the public and to the press. As the Davidson County party has no specific rules regarding the removal of a member, the county party will operate under Rule H of the state party's bylaws. The state bylaws list the parties who can conduct a removal hearing. In order of succession, they step down from county party chairman to county party vice chairman to a designate appointed by the state party chairman. A DCRP spokeswoman tells Post Politics that Chairman Kathleen Starnes has recused herself from presiding over the hearing Tuesday. As Matt Collins is the first vice chair and is the member in question, the state party will choose the person who will preside over the hearing. TNGOP chairman Chris Devaney told Post Politics in an email that a decision on who will preside over the hearing will be made in the "next couple of days." The Tennessee Republican Party, according spokeswoman Kim Ketchel, has been advising the Davidson County party on the process of removing Collins. "The state party is a resource for anyone seeking interpretation or information regarding the state party's bylaws," Ketchel said. "Upon request, we provided the DCRP information about the bylaws and how they pertained to this specific situation." In October, the county party executive committee voted 14 to 5 (with two abstentions) to trigger the process of removal. The stated reasons for Collins’ removal were his “unprofessional actions and words” as well as his use of his title when expressing opinions “derogatory to and disrespectful of Republican candidates or elected officials.” Collins, who is a Ron Paul supporter and a member of various small "L" libertarian groups, has had numerous dustups, both public and private, with the old guard of the party since his election to first vice chair in the spring. The most notable clash was this summer when he refused to shake the hand of gubernatorial candidate and congressman Zach Wamp at a party picnic because Wamp had supported of one of Washington's many "bailouts." The Davidson County Republican party has 24 members who will be eligible to vote in the special executive session to remove Collins. A two-thirds vote is required for removal.
Nov 17, 2009 10:31 PM
As of today, Bill Hobbs is no longer the Communications Director at the Tennessee Republican Party new party chairman Chris Devaney tells Post Politics. Hobbs is not through with the party, however. He will be staying on with the party in a consulting role at least through the transition. All other current employees will continue to serve in their current roles as the new chairman and his volunteer transition director Dean Rice continue to re-examine and reassess the organization of the Party. Devaney, in a conversation with Post Politics, made clear that this is not a dismissal and that Hobbs will continue to work with the party. "Bill Hobbs and I have a good working relationship and he will be continuing to help us as we work through our transition," said Devaney. Asked if this new relationship between Hobbs and the party has definite end date, Devaney said it was a personnel issue that he would not discuss in detail. "What we are trying to do is build the best professional political and fund-raising team we can as we move towards victory in 2010," explained Devaney. "Bill will continue to help us in pursuit of that goal." Hobbs tenure as Communications Director was not without controversy. In February of last year, the TNGOP sent out a controversial press released entitled Anti-Semites for Obama in which the now President was referred to by all three of his names accompanied by a photograph of Obama wearing native Somali garb. Both of Tennessee Senators as well as national Republican leaders denounced the release. Later that year, the TNGOP took fire for a YouTube video produced by the party questioning the now First Lady's pride of her country. President Obama went on Good Morning America the next day and told the TNGOP to "lay off" his wife. Sen. Corker and others asked that the video to be removed. Hobbs has been the Tennessee Republican Party's Communication Director since October 2007. Prior to that he worked as a media relations specialist and blogging coach at Belmont University from January 2003 through April 2006. Hobbs has also worked as a journalist with several news organizations including the Tennessean. Hobbs lives with his wife and children just outside of Nashville. Hobbs could not be reached at the time of this posting. UPDATE 5:14PM -- Bill Hobbs comments on his new role: "The Tennessee Republican party won a historic victory in the November 2008 election, against incredible odds. History has shown that successful revolutions often need new leaders and new strategies to sustain their victories, and Chairman Devaney is - with great energy and focus - moving rapidly to make the changes necessary so that the Tennessee Republican Party can hold and expand on the legislative majority we won in 2008. The party made great strides in the use of the Internet in the last two years, but that's just the foundation and a small piece of what is possible, and I look forward to helping Chairman Devaney and the party build on that foundation. I also look forward to providing my experience and expertise in communications and new media to other political organizations, candidates and corporate clients."
Jun 4, 2009 3:27 PM