State lobby group, labor union endorse Haslam

State lobby group, labor union endorse Haslam

October 3rd, 2010 by Staff Report in Politics Local

Republican Bill Haslam last week managed to pull off endorsements for his gubernatorial campaign from a leading state lobby group as well as a Middle Tennessee labor union.

The National Federation of Independent Business endorsed the Knoxville mayor in his race with Democrat Mike McWherter. NFIB Tennessee Director Jim Brown said the group intends to "make clear to our members that they need to get out and get their friends out."

The Southeast Laborers' District Council endorsement raised some eyebrows, given labor's traditional support of Democrats. The union, which has about 3,000 members, cited Haslam's "ability to be an effective advocate for the working men and women of Tennessee and the strong support Haslam has among LIUNA members."

LIUNA is the acronym for Laborers' International Union of North America.

'Nancy's boy' Davis?

A Tennessee Republican Party news release last week charged that 4th Congressional District Democrat Lincoln Davis is not the "independent conservative" he seeks to portray himself as but "a Nancy's Boy" - a supporter of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"It is telling Democrat Lincoln Davis hides behind slick television ads touting his so-called conservative credentials at home, but toes the line for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats 94.9 percent of the time in Washington," GOP Chairman Chris Devaney said, arguing voters will cast ballots for Republican Scott DesJarlais, of Jasper.

The reference caught the attention of some observers. According to, "nancy boy" is derogatory slang for a gay man.

So did the GOP intend it in that sense? Oh, no, said GOP spokeswoman Kim Ketchel, who noted the reference was Pelosi and was in no way intended as a double entendre.

Romney endorses Fleischmann, DesJarlais

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a 2008 GOP presidential hopeful who may run again in 2012, has endorsed Tennessee 3rd Congressional District Republican candidate Chuck Fleischmann as well as DesJarlais.

Romney praised Republican candidates for their conservative views, asserting that "too many of our elected officials are more focused on growing the size of government than enacting pro-growth policies that will put people back to work."

But Romney's endorsement of Fleischmann doesn't impress Chattanooga Tea Party President Mark West, who declared he is backing independent candidate Savas Kyriakidis.

West accused Fleischmann of "snubbing any and every debate and forum that is offered to him," and said the Chattanooga attorney amounts to just a status-quo candidate.

West said Kyriakidis "will be a stalwart defender of the Constitution and will champion those principles for which our founders fought and died."

Kyriakidis, a law school graduate, owns and runs the Acropolis Four Stars Grill restaurant and is a major in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Another debate about debates

GOP nominee Fleischmann, who is refusing to debate his Democratic rival John Wolfe and independent candidates, isn't the only candidate refusing to face his opponents.

In Tennessee's 8th Congressional District, Republican nominee Stephen Fincher won't debate Democrat Roy Herron. And Tea Party activist Donn Janes, running as an independent in the 8th, can't even get an invitation to debates that are canceled.

But hope springs eternal for College Democrats at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. They are holding a 3rd Congressional District forum Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. in the University Center's Raccoon Mountain Room.

Jonathan "Taylor" Thomas, president of the Hamilton County Young Democrats, said Wolfe, Tea Party independent Mark DeVol and independent Mo Kiah have accepted the invite.

"Despite our best efforts," Thomas said in e-mail, "at this moment we have yet to receive a confirmation from [Fleischmann's] campaign. Only time will tell if he will be represented or not."

Graves touts Keown, Scott

Newly elected U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., is urging his supporters to contribute to the campaigns of three "young guns" he called "fantastic conservatives."

Graves, who is running unopposed in November, sent an e-mail to supporters whom he called "freedom fighters," asking them to support Martha Roby in Alabama's 2nd District, Austin Scott in Georgia's 8th District and Mike Keown in Georgia's 2nd District.

Scott faces incumbent Democrat Jim Marshall; Keown faces incumbent Democratic Sanford Bishop; and Roby will faces incumbent Democrat Bobby Bright.

Compiled by staff writers Andy Sher, Dave Flessner and Andy Johns.