Democratic U.S. Senate candidates disagree over debate - and more Tennessee campaign news

Democratic U.S. Senate candidates disagree over debate - and more Tennessee campaign news

July 8th, 2014 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Terry Adams, a Knoxville attorney, introduces himself at a news conference in Nashville on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Terry Adams, a Knoxville...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidates disagree over debate

U.S. Senate candidate Terry Adams is criticizing Democratic primary rival Gordon Ball over Ball's rejection of a debate.

"I'm very disappointed in Ball," Adams said Monday in a news release. "He puts an ad on TV that says the Democratic Party has no backbone but then refuses to debate the issues. It is clear that is Ball who has no backbone."

Ball was quoted this week by the Knoxville News Sentinel saying that any Democratic candidate debate needed to be held before early voting on July 18, should be televised statewide and should also include lesser-known candidates Larry Crim and Gary Davis.

A multimillionaire, Ball is already up with television ads asking "whatever happened to the Democratic Party" in Tennessee. It also states "some say the Democratic Party has lost it's backbone." In it, the attorney says he's made a "career out of fighting for every day families" and pledges to do the same if elected.

The dust up over the debate in the Democratic primary mirrors an identical one in the GOP Senate primary where incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has indicated he won't debate fellow Republicans Joe Carr and George Flinn.

The primary election is Aug. 7.

Right to life backs Rep. Chuck Fleischmann

The National Right to Life Committee has endorsed Republican U.S. Chuck Fleischmann as the Chattanooga lawmaker seeks a third term, according to a Fleischmann news release.

The group, which backed the congressman in 2012, thanked Fleischmann for his 100 percent pro-life voting record and his co-sponsoring the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

"All voters who are concerned with the right to life and with the protection of the most vulnerable members of the human family should vote to return you to Congress," the campaign quoted the NRLC's letter saying.

"There is nothing more important than giving a voice to the voiceless, and standing up for the sanctity of human life," said Fleischmann, who faces challenger Weston Wamp of Chattanooga in the GOP primary.

Joe Carr ad attacks Sen. Lamar Alexander

GOP hopeful Joe Carr is out with a new television spot slamming Alexander in the GOP primary.

"Washington isn't listening and neither is Lamar," says an announcer says in the 30-second commercial. "Lamar's record - run against the tea party, voted for bank bailouts and amnesty for illegal aliens. Lamar Alexander is listening to Washington, not Tennessee conservatives."

The ad then describes Carr, a state representative from Lascassas, as a "conservative who listens" and a "constitutional conservative" who "will eliminate wasteful spending, oppose bailouts and stop amnesty.

"Vote Carr not Lamar," the narrator concludes.

GOP candidate George Flinn criticizes border security

Fresh off his visit last week to the U.S. border with Mexico, another Tennessee Republican Senate hopeful, George Flinn, says it's "evident our southern border is open" and that the federal government "has failed" in protecting it.

In his news release, Flinn said he visited the town of McAllen, Texas, to gain "first-hand knowledge of the illegal immigration crisis occurring." He said he saw a "national security crisis" unfolding and he demanded the border be "sealed."

"Tennesseans deserve a senator that will gain knowledge on important issues and stand-up and speak out on them," Flinn said. "We have not heard a word from Lamar Alexander on the crisis at the border, despite the fact that it affects each and everyone of us. This is a national security issue and we should be treating it as such."

Danny Page complains over museum

Danny Page, an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate, has filed two more complaints against Alexander, whom he accuses of "colluding" with the Tennessee State Museum to boost the federal lawmaker's candidacy.

The latest complaints were filed with the Senate Ethics Committee and the Tennessee Ethics Commission, Page said.

Last month, Page filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, citing 2013 news reports that Alexander supporters sought to set up a traveling exhibition on Alexander during the 2014 election year.

State museum officials later backed off the planned exhibit of Alexander, a former governor, U.S. Education Secretary and two-time GOP presidential candidate. The exhibition , which was to be paid for out of privately raised funds, was delayed until 2015.

An Alexander spokesman, Brian Reisinger, has previously called Page's statements a "silly political stretch" and also stated said the "complaint is about a traveling exhibit that never traveled."

Page is one of several independent candidates running in the Nov. 4 general election.

Business group backs Ron Travis

The National Federation of Independent Business' political arm has endorsed incumbent state Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, in Travis' 31st House District race with former Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City.

Jim Brown, the NFIB's state director, said Travis "has consistently voted to reduce burdens on small businesses and stood with them time and again in the 108th Tennessee General Assembly."

Brown noted Travis' support for many small business initiatives and his "100 percent" NFIB voting record. Travis said the endorsement shows "I've followed through on my pledge to help small businesses help grow our economy by getting government out of their way."

Compiled by Andy Sher of the Nashville Bureau.