Political Notebook: Fleischmann to head annual GOP dinner

Political Notebook: Fleischmann to head annual GOP dinner

May 28th, 2018 by Staff Reports in Politics State

In this Aug. 23, 2017, staff file photo, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., speaks during the annual Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce Meeting at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Photo by Erin O. Smith /Times Free Press.

Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is chairing the Tennessee Republican Party's annual Statemen's Dinner on June 8, a high-visibility role for the Ooltewah congressman.

The dinner is the state GOP's main fundraiser and the chairman is involved "in securing our speaker as well as working with Chairman Goldman to ensure the dinner's success as a fundraiser," party spokeswoman Candice Dawkins said.

That includes helping persuade as many Republican stalwarts as possible to buy up the $250-per- person tickets and larger donors to buy up entire tables. Fleischmann also introduces the keynote speaker whom he played a role in recruiting.

This year's speaker is U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House majority whip who is viewed as a potential candidate for speaker if a bid by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to replace retiring Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Minn., falters, CNBC reported.

Nearly a year ago, Fleischmann and Scalise were at a Republican congressional baseball team practice in suburban Virginia field. A gunman opened fire, almost fatally wounding Scalise. Four other attendees were wounded, as well.

Fleischmann wasn't hit. Capitol Police engaged the shooter who was killed. Scalise, meanwhile, hovered on the edge of death for weeks.

This year's GOP fundraiser shifts from Nashville's downtown Music City Center, where it's been held for several years, back to the Opryland Hotel. Perhaps it simply wouldn't do to hold the event at the Music City Center, considering the massive structure was a project of former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean who is running in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Major Republicans running in the increasingly fractious GOP primary to succeed a term-limited Republican Gov. Bill Haslam are U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin, businessman and former state economic development chief Randy Boyd, state House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville and Franklin businessman Bill Lee.


U.S. Sen. Jones headlining state Democrats' annual fundraiser

Fielding major candidates for the first time in years in both the open U.S. Senate and governor's contests, Tennessee Democrats are holding their annual fundraiser June 16 in Lebanon's Wilson County Expo Center.

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., is heading the event and Democrats are hoping for a little magic to wear off on them. The former prosecutor upended Alabama politics in last December's special election, defeating controversial Republican Roy Moore in the contest to replace former Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, who left to become U.S. Attorney General.

Bredesen, Dean and state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley, who is running for governor, are all expected there.

For decades, if not more, state Democrats' main fundraiser was known as the Jackson Day Dinner in honor of President Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, who founded the Democratic Party.

In recent years, however, Democrats have transitioned the name to the "Three Star Dinner," alluding to the three stars in the Tennessee flag that represent the state's three grand divisions. Individual tickets are $150. Table sponsorships vary.


Trump raising cash for Blackburn

President Donald Trump will be in Tennessee on Tuesday as he headlines a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who is running to succeed Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

The president also will hold a rally in downtown Nashville.

The pricey fundraiser has a menu of options. Plunking down $44,000 per couple gets you into a private roundtable with the president, a photo with Trump for the trophy wall and entry into the general reception.

For $10,800, a couple can go for the camera shot and hit the reception. Those on modest budgets can attend the general reception for $2,700 per couple.

Blackburn has Trump's full-throated support in the contest where the Brentwood congressman is expected to face former Tennessee governor and Democrat Phil Bredesen.

It's unclear whether Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, will attend the event. The senator has had his differences with Trump and offered lukewarm support for Blackburn.

Corker and Bredesen are friends and in various roles worked together to help secure the Tennessee Titans team coming to Nashville in the 1990s as well as assisting in persuading Volkswagen in 2008 to choose to locate its lone U.S. auto assembly plant in Chattanooga.

Compiled by staff writer Andy Sher. Contact him at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.

This story has been corrected to show that U.S. Sen. Doug Jones is a Democrat.