The 25th Senate District seat has an atypically high number of higher-profile contenders for its GOP primary election. Rep. Joshua G. Evans, former Sen. Kerry Roberts, Sen. Jim Summerville, and Wayne White want to be the nominee. These candidates will participate in a debate Thursday evening at 5937 Smiley Hollow Rd in Goodlettsville at 5:30 p.m.
Rep. Evans has four Republicans and a lone Democrat vying to replace him in the House (District 66). The GOP candidates are Brock Brewer, Matt Burnett, Sabi (Doc) Kumar, and Chris Orndorff. They also will debate at tonight’s event.
Michael Lotfi, Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center Executive Director, and Sen. Mae Beavers will moderate the debates.
(Aside: I don’t know if I’ve seen a better description for a gaggle of politicians on the stump than “Smiley Hollow.” Heh.)
If you, like me, were wondering why activist Steve Gawrys chose to challenge incumbent Rep. Charles Sargent in the GOP primary for the 61st House District, you could have listened to the Ralph Bristol show on 99.7 WTN Nashville. But in case you missed that, here’s a press release from the Gawrys campaign that may offer some insight into the decision.
BRENTWOOD, TN – Last Friday, Steve Gawrys, Candidate for the 61st District House Seat appeared on the Ralph Bristol Show on 99.7 WTN Nashville. Bristol gave his listeners an opportunity to get to know the Williamson County entrepreneur, a candidate in the August 7, 2014 Republican Primary against nine-term incumbent Charles Sargent.
“Ralph gave me an opportunity to introduce myself to his listeners,” said Gawrys. “He told me prior to the interview that Williamson County is one of his largest listener bases.” Bristol first asked Gawrys about his background. “I have lived in North Williamson for twenty years with my wife Kim and our four children. I employ hundreds of people in my district and I understand the pressure that big government places upon job creators.”
When asked what had attracted him to the policy arena, Gawrys related his frustration with government and decided to volunteer his time at the Tenth Amendment Center, an organization dedicated to pushing back against federal overreach. He was able to work with legislators on 2nd Amendment bills and legislation against Medicaid expansion. He has since entered law school in order to better advocate for conservative legislation.
Bristol offered that Gawrys’ opponent, Rep. Charles Sargent, was a very influential member of the Tennessee House. He asked Steve why he was in the Republican primary. Gawrys said, “Charles Sargent sponsored the bill to establish the ObamaCare State Exchanges in Tennessee (HB2839).” Gawrys related the damage this legislation is doing to his and hundreds of other businesses in District 61 and how Republicans should not be sponsoring or supporting Obamacare.
When asked about the issues currently being debated on Capitol Hill, Gawrys indicated his opposition to the Death Tax and Hall Income Tax. He also attacked Common Core as a “big-government, top-down” education program. When asked about the debate over “wine in grocery stores”, Gawrys was clear that he believed in free markets but wanted to make sure that stores relegated to selling wine and liquor could also compete in the marketplace by selling other items.
CLICK HERE for more information about the candidates and to see a map of the district.
It’s not exactly breaking news, but it’s now official that two incumbent House members in Upper East Tennessee (Far East Tennessee? What’s the preferred nomenclature?) will see challenges in next year’s Republican primary.
Clayton Stout is running against freshman Rep. Micah Van Huss in House District 6; and Phil Carriger is running against incumbent Rep. Matthew Hill in House District 7.
Carriger and Stout both have experience serving on the Johnson City Commission.
Ballot access scores symbolic victory
Voters in part of Shelby County went to the polls in a special election that was called after the late Rep. Lois DeBerry passed away. Democratic Party nominee Raumesh Akbari, an attorney, won handily over Jim Tomasik, the Libertarian Party chairman, according to uncertified election results.
This is the first House of Representatives election of which I am aware that featured a Democrat, a Libertarian identified as such on the ballot, and no Republican. The district very heavily favors Democratic candidates.
Tomasik initially had been labeled as Independent, but sued in federal court to receive the Libertarian billing. He lost the election, but some observers would say that today’s election was a win for minor parties in their ongoing quest for ballot recognition.
Akbari will face a re-election bid in 2014, when all 99 seats in the House are up for election.
While it seems like there’s been some kind of voting, early or otherwise, happening in Shelby County on most days over the past several weeks, today is finally the day when House District 91 voters decide between Democratic Party nominee Raumesh Akbari and Libertarian Party candidate Jim Tomasik in the special election. (CLICK HERE to see who’s running, and reach their websites and Facebook pages.)
Additionally, voters citywide will choose whether to add a half-cent to their local sales tax, with proceeds aimed at funding the Pre-Kindergarten program.