House Republicans’ former consultant Josh Thomas has left the building, and there are reports that veteran political adviser Chip Saltsman has put in for the job. Andy Sher has more.
Ever since the 2010 Republican primary in Tennessee’s Third Congressional District, a contentious cloud has hovered after a staffer for one candidate sued the campaign manager of another. Now it appears that at least one corner of that cloud has lifted.
Mark Winslow alleged in a lawsuit that Chip Saltsman, a former state party chair who at the time was campaign manager for Chuck Fleischmann, had illegitimately obtained confidential documents related to Winslow’s employment at the party when his candidate boss, Robin Smith, was the party boss.
The documents were used in a campaign ad that attacked Smith.
Later, Winslow added the Tennessee Republican Party to the suit. That component of the legal battle has, according to the statement below, been resolved; but there is no indication at this time that the suit against Saltsman and Fleischmann has been dropped or otherwise affected.
Here’s the press release:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney released the following statement regarding a lawsuit that was filed against the Party:
“The Tennessee Republican Party has reached an agreement with Mark Winslow to resolve the issues raised in his lawsuit against the Party. Upon my election as Chairman in 2009 I decided to hire a staff of my own choosing. Because Mark had an employment agreement through the end of the year we negotiated a severance agreement that included a confidentiality clause. Documents from his confidential personnel file later became public and were used in political advertising. Mark contends that these documents were misused and neither I nor the Party would have or did authorize their release. Mark has been a loyal Republican and a valued member of the State Executive Committee. I am pleased we have reached an amicable resolution of this unfortunate matter and look forward to Mark’s continuing good work for the Party and our principles. I encourage all of my fellow Republicans to join me in putting this episode behind us.”
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann’s office did not immediately return a request for a response.
Tracy tries to make it a Dunn deal: A day before the re-elected incumbent (U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais) was sworn into office for his second congressional term, state Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville officially announced his candidacy for the Fourth District seat. More from Cara Kumari.
Related: All known potential #TN04 candidates are listed here.
Winslow v. Saltsman, Fleischmann, and the Tennessee GOP: Mark Winslow, as the Tennessean points out, is a former state party employee. But he’s also the current State Executive Committeeman for District 19, and he has added his party to the lawsuit that alleges defamation, claiming that party officials surreptitiously availed Chip Saltsman of Winslow’s confidential records.
One of these guys needs to get rights to a clip of Sofia Vergara yelling “Manny!“ Chris Anderson and Karl Epperson, two of the District 7 candidates challenging Chattanooga City Councilman Manny Rico, each described to the Chamber of Commerce why he would be a better representative than the incumbent. Rico defended. More from James Harrison.
My, how time flies. Two years ago this month, a new blog was added to Chattarati.com called, simply enough, the “TN03 Election Blog.” Its solitary purpose: to track the candidates and issues in the election of a new U.S. Representative for Tennessee’s Third District, which former Congressman Zach Wamp resigned in order to run for governor.
But really, not that much time has passed. Only one year ago this month, on August 5th, the corner of 7th and Market Streets in Chattanooga exploded with celebration as Chuck Fleischmann squeaked past a double handful of other Republican candidates to win the primary, while just down the street at the Sports Barn, hope turned to anxiety to stinging dejection as the Robin Smith campaign team watched the returns come in.
Make no mistake: that night, revenge was sworn. Specifics were likely not determined, nor even a general plan per se; but the seed was planted. Smith had given the local party twenty years of sweat equity, and, it would seem, some felt that this congressional seat was to have been her dividend.
Because I clearly hate myself, I am going to try writing a weekly digest that highlights key moments in our elected officials’ public lives. If you have an idea for a catchy series title, provide it below.
In the state House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads) introduced a bill that would change the rules and prohibit last-minute floor amendments, even though when Democrats controlled the Legislature, Republicans—including Majority Leader Gerald McCormick—had a lot of fun introducing such surprises. Tom Humphrey explains.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Germantown) championed a new state law that prohibits the Memphis City Schools system from immediately dissolving if a referendum scheduled for March 8 passes. Fellow Shelby County Senators Beverly Marrero and Jim Kyle, both Democrats, argued against it. Kyle shrewdly (if unsuccessfully) used the typically Republican argument for more local control over local matters. Norris countered that the Memphis school system is “a special special school district” and that the state has an overriding responsibility to make sure adequate education is provided. From the Memphis Flyer:
The bill, a response to the ongoing controversy over school-system merger and/or special school districts in Shelby County would restructure public-school education in the county and allow a merger of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools in such a way [that might create] one or more special school districts.
Governor Bill Haslam created a little distance from some of his fellow Republicans in the General Assembly by suggesting that if immigration reform laws are too harsh, they might prevent international businesses from choosing Tennessee. Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) said that he will work with the governor to address some of these concerns.
U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann invoked Mark Winslow‘s favorite British prime minister during a floor speech on behalf of small businesses. Meanwhile, Fleischmann’s chief of staff, Chip Saltsman, was quoted in a Politico article on the backlash suffered by former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum after Santorum made some admittedly gauche remarks about potential 2012 rival and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “’One thing they don’t like in a Republican primary is attacking other Republicans,’ (Saltsman) said. ‘That’s not the best way to make a name for yourself.’” Is he perhaps citing a lesson learned?
Fleischmann also granted this blog an exclusive interview last week, the results of which are posted here.
U.S. Senator Bob Corker kept all of his committee assignments, which are Banking, Energy, Foreign Relations, and the Special Committee on Aging, of which he is the ranking Republican.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander will make another attempt for the party’s whip (my hair back and forth?) position in the Senate, following the announcement that Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) will retire. Side note: some Arizona Democrats are pushing for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to run for the open seat. Um, what? The courageous lady is amazingly recovering from being shot in the head. She ordered toast with breakfast. One step at a time, please.