It’s just a minor detail, I suppose, but I couldn’t get out of any activists was which races would be targeted, or who would be running for any of them. I was told that some announcements would be coming later in the year. But here is what I did capture from the 2013 Kefauver Dinner in Chattanooga.
At their most recent Kefauver Dinner, Hamilton County Democrats were ecstatic that relations with local and state trade union leaders had been improved. Activist Jane Bowen had been seen as chiefly instrumental in “bringing Labor in,” as one unnamed party official put it.
Last week, the AFL-CIO at the state level announced that it will no longer be giving contributions to state or local Democratic Party organizations, nor to legislative caucuses.
Instead, the group will select individual candidates, some of whom could, in theory anyway, be Republicans.
Anecdotal observations suggest that many rank-and-file union members are at odds with national Democrats on gun control. The WPLN report adds immigration and environmental policy as areas where alignment may be in flux.
Question for Democrats: is there perhaps a “blessing in disguise” in shedding a divisive stigma along with losing the funding?
Question for Republicans: since organized labor is a traditional enemy, how comfortable are you with the implied changes?
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 Nooga.com 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 Andraé 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.
What do you know? They’re acting like they’re having an actual congressional race in the 9th District Memphis. (HT: @Kontji)
Blogging is dead. Long live blogging! There is a new conservative voice on the scene, subtitled “Political Commentary from Fly-Over Country.” Oscar Brock is a Republican State Executive Committee member and served as former party chair Robin Smith’s congressional campaign treasurer in 2010. He is also a regional coordinator for the Romney/Ryan campaign.
Will the joke that keeps on giving, start taking away? Opinions vary on how offensive the joke actually is, but most agree that it was a stupid move on Paul Smith’s part to include it on an official meeting agenda. The Chattanooga Times editorial page is as incredulous as I am about any connection between printing the joke and comments made previously by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin about rape. What??
The list of candidates for Chattanooga City Council keeps growing. It’s still very quiet over here in my part of town, though.
U.S Rep. Chuck Fleischmann’s office sent the following:
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann made the following statement after the Supreme Court upheld part of Arizona’s S.B 1070 law, while striking down other provisions.
“The Supreme Court decision today underscores the need for the federal government to step up and enforce our nation’s laws. The very fact that Arizona saw the need for S.B. 1070 is the result of the Obama Administration’s failure to secure our border. While the Supreme Court did strike down parts of the law, they upheld the law’s core provision. The State of Arizona has to live with the consequences of illegal immigration daily, so I am not surprised that they saw the need for this action. It is my hope that the Obama Administration will finally step up and start enforcing federal immigration law,” Fleischmann said.
Passed in response to the Obama administration’s lax enforcement of federal immigration law, S.B. 1070 allows Arizona law enforcement to ask about immigration status during a lawful stop if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is here illegally. Although the Supreme Court struck down some provisions, this part of the law was upheld.
The Hamilton County Democratic Party issued a statement as well:
Today’s Supreme Court decision striking down most of the provisions of
Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070 is also a civil rights victory for the growing
Hamilton County Latino population, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman
Paul Smith said today—and a warning to far-right Tennessee legislators not to
attempt to pass similar legislation.
“The President and the administration won their case when they argued
immigration matters come strictly under federal jurisdiction,” Smith said. “We
agree with reports that conclude this ruling is ‘likely to have widespread
implications for other states that have or are considering similar laws.’”
In deciding Arizona v. U.S. (11-182), the Court struck down provisions including:
•Authorizing police to arrest immigrants without warrant where “probable cause”
exists that they committed any public offense making them removable from the
•Making it a state crime for “unauthorized immigrants” to fail to carry registration
papers and other government identification.
•Forbidding those not authorized for employment in the United States to apply,
solicit or perform work. That would include immigrants standing in a parking lot
who “gesture or nod” their willingness to be employed. (Source: www.cnn.com)
The 2010 U.S. Census shows that Hamilton County had, at the time of the
census, 14,993 residents of Hispanic origin. And although the ongoing economic
downturn has caused some immigrants to return to their countries of origin,
many more have stayed. Of those that are undocumented workers, Smith noted,
a frequent right-wing criticism is that they “take” from federal, state and local
programs. “But a national 2011 study by the Institute for Taxation and Economic
Policy showed that in 2010, undocumented immigrants paid a total of $11.2
billion dollars in taxes. Of that, $8.4 billion was in state taxes and $1.6 billion was
in property taxes. These people are, in fact, contributing a great deal.”
Importantly, the Court’s decision helps defend the rights of all people in
the country legally to be protected from illegal search and seizures, said
Smith. “While we wish the entire law had been declared unconstitutional, we
believe this is a victory. The Democratic Party stands squarely behind the rights
of all citizens, no matter the color of their skin.”