Top Tales for Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gentle reader, here are some of the latest stories in Tennessee politics.

The Hamilton County Democratic Party holds its annual Kefauver Dinner fundraiser tonight at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Imperial Ballroom. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, who represents Tennessee’s 9th District. Some party members, including at least one local elected official, are boycotting the event following party chair Paul Smith’s refusal to apologize for a joke he printed on a party board agenda that was seen by some to denigrate women. Admission to the dinner is $60 ($35 for students).

House Speaker Beth Harwell is among the dignitaries expected at a Republican Party campaign rally for area GOP legislative candidates. The event is scheduled from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 11. Candidates and elected representatives from districts in Bledsoe, Bradley, Hamilton, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, Roane, and Sequatchie Counties will be there. Admission is free.

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais is once again the target of some years-old oppo research involving his apparently very messy divorce and surrounding issues. This time, it’s about a phone conversation he taped with a pregnant former mistress (who first had been his patient), and his urging her to proceed with an abortion so that he could mend his broken family. State Sen. Eric Stewart is DesJarlais’s Democratic Party opponent in the November 6 election. DesJarlais was elected in 2010 despite similar efforts by former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis’ campaign to expose unsavory details from DesJarlais’s personal life.

Yes, I know. The voter guide pages on this site are woefully out-of-date, as they still pertain to the August primary elections. Rest assured that changes are underway, hopefully to be launched by October 17, which is the start of early voting. (And, gulp, just one scant week from now.) For the Chattanooga audience, I’m excited to announce that Tennessee Ticket is once again partnering with to produce voter guides in a similar format that you saw this past summer.

There’s no debate that these were forums. Bradley County citizens on Monday had to choose between attending what will probably be the only joint appearance in the entire Third District by incumbent U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and his Democratic opponent, Dr. Mary Headrick, or a meeting of 10th Senate District candidates Todd Gardenhire and Chattanooga City Councilman AndraĆ© McGary. From where I sat at the latter, it looked like more chose the former. You can scroll down my Twitter page to see updates posted during the event, or read Joy Lukachick’s TFP coverage. Chris Carroll and James Harrison chronicled the TN-03 event.

How overwhelming will the Republican majority in the General Assembly be? Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has some thoughts. (HT: NPP)

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