published Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Business group mostly backs GOP candidates

NASHVILLE -- The National Federation of Independent Business's Tennessee chapter has endorsed mostly Republicans running in state Senate and House races this fall.

The group, which is comprised of smaller businesses, is only endorsing Republicans in Senate contests, including two races in Southeast Tennessee, according to a NFIB news release.

Chattanooga Republican Todd Gardenhire, a financial adviser, picked up the NFIB's endorsement in his Senate District 10 contest with Democrat AndraƩ McGary, a Chattanooga city councilman. The district includes portions of Hamilton and Bradley counties.

In the open Senate District 16 contest, the NFIB endorsed Janice Bowling, of Tullahoma, over Democrat Jim Lewis, of Kimball, a pharmacist. The seven-county district is comprised of Marion, Sequatchie, Grundy, Franklin, Coffee, Warren and Van Buren counties.

"NFIB supports candidates who understand how important it is to reduce burdens on small business," said Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee. "These candidates have consistently supported or pledged to support a lower tax environment and to improve our unemployment and workers' comp systems."

The group endorsed all Southeast Tennessee House Republican incumbents. Of 72 House contests statewide, the NFIB endorsed just four Democratic candidates, all incumbents. Among them was Rep. Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta, in House District 43. Curtiss faces Republican Robert Dunham, of Sparta, in the district, which includes all of White and Grundy counties and a large portion of Warren County.

The group did not make endorsements in many heavily Democratic districts including Chattanooga's House District 28, in which Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, faces Republican Johnny Horne.

The election is Nov. 6.

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