The August elections will see the election of local offices throughout Tennessee, but this will also be the date for state primaries throughout Tennessee. In this piece, I will discuss several of the contested state representative primary races across Tennessee.
Tennessee House District 2 – This Republican Primary dust up features incumbent Tony Shipley and a strong challenger, Bud Hulsey. Shipley barely won his previous primary and is again facing a tough challenger.
On most legislation, I don’t have a big problem with Tony Shipley, but there are at least two major areas where I do. Shipley was a sponsor of the legislation that opened Tennessee up to “no refusal” checkpoints where your rights are terminated and a police officer can force you to give a blood sample. Shipley also supports changing the Tennessee Constitution to remove your right to elect certain judges. This is simply an attempt to codify the unconstitutional move Tennessee made years ago with “retention elections.” If this is a good idea, how long before legislators decide you don’t need to elect them but simply vote to retain them?
I must admit, I am not sure where Bud Hulsey stands on many issues. That’s not a good thing since I have spent the better part of an hour scouring the web for some information. Hulsey does talk a bit about “smaller government” but doesn’t every Republican? I hope he doesn’t hope to win simply on name instead of where he stands. Those types of politicians rarely accomplish any good.
One who will be on the ballot in November as an independent will definitely be for smaller government. His name is J.R. Enfield.
Tennessee House District 3 – This race is a rematch from 2012. Timothy Hill is the incumbent and Kevin Parsons is the challenger. In looking at this race, there are two things that I have noticed. Kevin Parsons is going after Timothy Hill hard. The other is Kevin Parsons really doesn’t say much about what he will do. He says he is for this and for that, but Parsons does not give any specifics.
Back to the negativity in the race, if you go to Parsons’s website, you will notice a newsfeed. All that is in the newsfeed is negative stuff about his opponent. The first story is about his opponent’s use of campaign funds to purchase a mattress. While this sounds strange, a campaign can use campaign funds as they see fit for the campaign. According to the Timothy Hill campaign, this purchase was to make it easier for a staffer on the campaign so that the staffer did not have to travel back and forth so much. This is simply a non-story without more information that we don’t have.
Looking at more information, the posting date for more stories is recent. This makes the news stories seem recent. They are not. These seem to be nothing more than recycled attacks that are years old and are common knowledge.
Tennessee House District 4 – This is an interesting race in that it features Judy Veeneman, the sister of outgoing state representative, Kent Williams (famous or infamous for his vote or hijacking of the Tennessee Speaker of the House vote a few years back).
John Holsclaw Jr. seems to be another candidate who speaks in generalities (while telling you nothing). His campaign facebook page merely says he wants to represent needs in Nashville, return state funding to Carter and Unicoi Counties, support education, and promote new jobs.
Like her or not, Veeneman says where she stands. She says she is against Common Core and against vouchers. She believes we have a right to bear arms but it may not be a good idea.
Tennessee House District 5 – This is my home district. This one has gotten very interesting to say the least in the last week or so, as well. It features a rematch of 2012 with Ted Hensley challenging David Hawk. A quick look at 2012 would tell you that Hawk is vulnerable as he got under 40% of the vote, which is never a good thing for an incumbent.
If I were managing a campaign for an incumbent, there are a few things I would advise my candidate about. One is don’t debate if you feel you are the front runner by a comfortable margin or if you think it will open you up to a problem. Yes it may hurt and show weakness, but you can probably weather that more than a bad debate performance.
If I were managing a campaign for a challenger I would advise to hit the frontrunner hard and often on issues important to the campaign. Hammer home whatever issue that is.
Hawk has refused to debate. He was probably the frontrunner, but possibly by a thin margin where not debating could have hurt.
Hensley attacked, but it was seen as a personal attack. That is difficult to do and can easily backfire. It may have backfired, but I think more importantly, it gave Hawk a cover to refuse to debate because the campaign has become about personal attacks.
It will definitely be interesting to see where this one goes in the coming weeks across the finish line.
Tennessee House District 6 – This is formerly my home district and the district house seat I ran for back in 2006. Micah Van Huss is the incumbent who is challenged b Clayton Stout.
In looking at Clayton Stout, many of his answers to issues are great answers. He does seem a bit weak on two in particular. He doesn’t like that Van Huss was able to get rid of forced annexation of property. He also thinks Tennessee’s gun laws are where they need to be. I believe that Tennessee’s gun laws are still too restrictive.
I ask any readers who reside in the 6th District to vote re-elect Micah Van Huss.
Tennessee House District 7 – This is also formerly my home district. This is the district I grew up in and the one where I first cast a vote.
This race features three candidates but is expected to come down to Matthew Hill, the incumbent, and Phil Carriger, the challenger.
Matthew Hill is one of the most dedicated conservatives in the Tennessee House.
Carriger is soft on guns. Also when asked about raising the gas tax in Tennessee, he skirted the issue entirely.
I ask any readers who reside in the 7th District to vote to re-elect Matthew Hill.
Tennessee House District 61 – This is interesting in that it is shaping to be a battle over guns and a committee chaired by the incumbent.
Steve Gawrys looks to be the real deal while incumbent Charles Sargent was touting his NRA rating as his reason to be re-elected. That NRA rating has since been lowered.
I ask any readers who reside in the 61st District to vote for Steve Gawrys.