State Primary EndorsementsAll of the election talk in recent days and months in the blogosphere-even here in Tennessee-has rightly centered on the Presidential Election. It is the big news everywhere, and unlike some other State Republican Parties, the Tennessee GOP is doing its job-promoting conservative values while managing to successfully give a not-so-popular Republican nominee a substantial lead here.
There are other elections going on, most notably a State Primary along with local elections for county offices in most jurisdictions throughout Tennessee scheduled for Thursday, August 7th. With early voting scheduled to begin Friday, July 18th, it is time to roll out my endorsements in primaries and local races (note: In some cases, I've chosen not to make an endorsement in an uncontested primary, but do intend to endorse a candidate for that race in November):
United States House of Representatives-First District:
David Davis (R)
It is no secret that I did not support David Davis in the 2006 primary, and if Vance Cheek Jr., Richard Venable, or perhaps Richard Roberts were running this time around, I might be inclined to give my endorsement to them (I certainly would for Vance, who I consider a friend, or Richard Venable-Roberts is a bit more iffy). Those men are intelligent, however, and they know that when someone is doing their job, you don't punish them for doing it, or engage in quixotic attempts to dislodge that person by formulating three or four-way primaries.
The only person running with a chance to win is Johnson City Mayor Dr. Phil Roe. Roe's actual platform is not substantially different from Davis, and every major conservative group from Tennessee Right to Life to the NRA has weighed in with support for Davis because Davis had a record of support for conservative causes long before he entered Congress. Indeed, it seems that Dr. Roe, while certainly well-meaning, has as his primary motivation for running that "I want to be Congressman." There is nothing inherently wrong with that at all, but public service should not be about what the candidates and elected officials want, but about the best interests of the people they are supposed to represent. Phil Roe's spiel about how he will "never" take money from lobbyists simply doesn't come across as sincere-practically speaking, once you get into Congress, it is terribly difficult to retain your seat without donations from lobbyists. His commercials lampooning Davis for taking oil lobbying money sound almost as though Roe is anti-capitalist. We know he isn't, he is just trying to use the gas crisis to gain a political advantage-he too believes in drilling for more oil.
The only thing David Davis is truly guilty of is that he almost seems as though he is taking his likely victory for granted. Phil Roe's people really appear to be working the district a lot harder than Davis' crew. If Roe upsets Davis, it will likely be because David Davis rested on his laurels.
Tennessee State Senate-4th District
Mike Faulk (R)
I know Mike is unopposed in the Primary, but I urge people to get out and show their support in substantial numbers. If Mike gets a lot of primary support for an unopposed candidate, it is liable to cause the Democrats (who are backing Mike Williams, don't be fooled) to put their money elsewhere and for the lobbyists who might be inclined to support Williams to back down if they think they are wasting their money on a loser.
On top of all of that, a large number of unopposed votes could give Faulk an unstoppable personal momentum in his race against Borat in November.
Tennessee House of Representatives-17th District
Frank Niceley (R)
The same principle which applies to Mike Faulk's race applies to Frank Niceley's. Frank isn't really facing serious opposition either now or in November, but there is an independent running against Frank in the fall, so let's seal things up for Frank so Don Quixote doesn't get any traction.
On a personal note, like most people who live around here, both Nicole and I love Frank. Every time his name is mentioned, one of us always says "ain't Frank great," or exclaims "I just love Frank." There is a real reason for this-Frank Niceley gives a damn about us and about all of his constituents. I know Democrats who will vote straight D down the ticket, but will gladly cross to vote for Frank Niceley. Even when I haven't agreed with Frank about something, he makes me want to trust his judgment about whatever it might be because I know Frank is in public life because he gives a flying flip-and yes, he also enjoys the Legislature. When someone enjoys what they do, they are far more likely to do it right.
Frank has been and is a mentor of mine. I am very proud to support him.
Tennessee House of Representatives-18th District
Stacey Campfield (R)
There are three people who were members of the last General Assembly for whom I would gladly march through Hell if asked: Frank Niceley (see above), Bill Dunn, and Stacey Campfield.
I no longer live anywhere near the 18th District, but I will still do whatever I can to make sure that Stacey stays in elective office. He has managed to survive two terrible smear campaigns (Primary and General Election) during the last election to win re-election convincingly. Now, he has two other primary opponents and another attempt to smear his good Irish name. I was over and around Stacey's district this past Sunday, and I saw Campfield signs everywhere. This is a man who routinely begins his campaigns with no money and almost always ends them with considerably less money than his opponents, but he has won and won soundly. Why is this?
Because Stacey doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He doesn't just say "I am pro-life," but he has used his position in the Legislature to bring attention to the fruitless slaughter of the unborn that happens in Tennessee and all over America each and every day. He doesn't just say "I am for the Second Amendment," he lives it and breathes it. His constituents know most of all that he is the most responsive Representative in the Legislature-and that is why he has the highest personal popularity rating of any elected Republican in the House.
If you live in the 18th, please return Stacey Campfield to Nashville on August 7th (there is no opposition in November) by a massive majority.
Jefferson County Constable-3rd County District
Glen is unopposed, too-but I fully support him. He is a veteran of the fire department here in White Pine, and the fact that he is willing to sacrifice his time and money to serve as our constable says a ton about the kind of person Glen is-and he has already happily gotten me out of several jams.
Jefferson County Tax Referendum
To raise the Jefferson County Sales Tax by 1/2 cent to retire school indebtedness.
VOTE NO (AGAINST)
Let me be perfectly clear-I am not opposed to retiring the debts of our schools-and in principle, I would have no problem supporting such a paltry tax increase to go toward that purpose.
The problem isn't the idea, it is the who (the School Board) and the very notion that there can be such a thing as a temporary tax.
The Jefferson County School Board can't be fiscally responsible with the tax money they now have, and are still paying on contracts for superintendents that they fired. How much of that money could be used for debt retirement, or putting more computers in our schools?
If the County wants this passed at some point in the future, they need first to get their own educational house in order, the school board needs to learn how to properly spend the funds they already receive, and then we can talk about this 1/2 cent increase...because we all know that like the wheel tax that was supposed to go away, this won't either.