Ramsey: Signs Pointing Toward GOP Supermajority in Senate

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Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey
says that come Election Day, Republicans will enjoy a supermajority in the Tennessee Senate — meaning that the GOP will not need any Democratic support to pass legislation.

“I do think we’re going to have the supermajority,” Ramsey told TNReport. “There are six seats we’re playing in, and none of us as incumbent Republicans have serious opposition. This is the first time I’ve ever run without an opponent.”

Republicans need to win two more seats to snag the supermajority, or 22 of the 33 seats.

And if money talks, Ramsey may be right. GOP candidates for state Senate have a massive financial lead going into the final days of their campaigns, according to campaign finance reports released by the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance.

The reports released this week show Republican Senate candidates with a more than 2-to-1 lead in terms of cash on hand. And when you add up the total amount of money raised in contested races, Republicans have outraised Democrats $1.8 million to $861,000 since Jan. 1, records show.

You can search all of the filings by clicking here.

Perhaps more telling is the amount of money spent in the past two months, which is what the most recent campaign finance reports show.

Of the six key races that Ramsey spoke of, Republicans have spent $384,041 and Democrats have spent $253,451, according to those filings.

That’s money that goes for newspaper and radio ads, campaign workers, mailings, food and gas to fill up the gas tank.

In only one of those races did the Democrat outspend his opponent. That was the race in Senate District 24, a West Tennessee district that spans from Obion County to Benton County.

In that race, Democrat Brad Thompson spent $111,372 over the past two months. His Republican opponent John Stevens spent $62,932 over that same period.

Most of the six races, though, more closely resemble the contest in Senate District 20, a district that surrounds downtown Nashville like a letter “C” spanning from Belle Meade to Goodlettsville. Republican Steve Dickerson plowed $54,941 into the race over the past two months. His opponent, Democrat Phillip North, spent $28,028 over that same period.

“I do think there will be significant gains,” Ramsey said. “Somewhere between two (Senate seats) to five or six.”

This is not the first time that Ramsey has been talking about a possible supermajority. Check out what he told the Nashville Scene and

Other Senate seats identified as being in play include:

Press Releases

Forrester: Gotto’s Support for School Vouchers ‘Punishes Our Children’

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; October 4, 2012:  

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Rep. Jim Gotto’s support for private school vouchers could break the backbone of the middle class: Tennessee’s public schools.

“Jim Gotto’s support of private school vouchers amounts to a tax break for wealthy Tennesseans and it’s paid for by diverting millions away from the schools our working and middle class families rely on,” said Chip Forrester, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party. “Instead of handing out vouchers of false hope that fail to even cover the cost of tuition at many private academies, we should renew our commitment to student achievement by strengthening the schools we have, keeping class sizes small and empowering great teachers.”

Currently school districts in Tennessee get a set amount of funding for each student enrolled. In general terms, a new voucher program could provide parents with a coupon worth around $7,000 to spend on tuition at a private school — though the private schools could still reject their child’s application. One of Gov. Bill Haslam’s top education deputies says the trouble is many private schools in Tennessee cost double or triple the value of the voucher, leaving poor and working families a choice only on paper.

“Gotto’s support for private school vouchers looks like virtual schools 2.0, another multi-million dollar waste of our tax dollars that punishes our children and rewards special interests,” Forrester said. “If we want our children prepared to compete for the jobs of the future, we cannot afford to waste one more dollar on unaccountable schemes that defraud taxpayers and shortchange our children’s future.”

In June of this year Gotto accepted a $1500 contribution from Students First, an education reform group that pushes for school voucher programs in a number of states.

Featured Transparency and Elections

‘Easily Avoidable’ Errors Cost 3K Shelby Co. Residents Their Votes: State Review

Some 3,000 Memphis area voters’ ballots in the Aug. 2 primary were not counted because of “poor judgement and mistakes” by the Shelby County Election Commission, the state Comptroller’s office concluded in a report released today.

The review found that those Memphis voters were given the wrong ballots because election officials were slow to redraw district and precinct lines, as is required every decade to reflect population changes and ensure the districts represent roughly the same number of people. Oversight of the election administrator by the county elections board was nonexistent, and staff failed to quickly identify and correct inaccuracies, which were “easily avoidable and detectible.”

There was no pattern to the errors, the comptroller’s office found.

“Our review identified no discernible evidence of intentional misconduct or other actions intended to affect or influence the election process or election outcomes in Shelby County,” reads the report from Rene Brison, assistant director of the Division of Investigations for the Comptroller’s office, which audits state and local government agencies.

Still, the office failed to live up to its core mission.

“The primary responsibility of the SCEC is to conduct elections in Shelby County, yet SCEC has demonstrated an inability to conduct elections without significant inaccuracies, including those identified in the 2012 elections,” according to the report. The review was conducted at the request of Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

State elections coordinator Mark Goins called the errors “unacceptable.” Election results for Shelby County were certified Aug 20.

The redistricting errors in Memphis add to problems for voters this year, most notably in Nashville, where several high-ranking Democrats complained that their voting machines pulled up Republican primary ballots by default.

The Comptroller’s office has been looking into those issues for weeks, said spokesman Blake Fontenay, but does not expect to issue a formal report.

“We have been working with Davidson County officials to determine what went wrong and how similar problems can be avoided in the future,” he said.

The machines were programmed wrong, according to local election officials. The Davidson County Election Commission has decided against using the machines for the November election.


Press Releases

TN Senate Dems Demand Hearing on Voter Problems Prior to Early Voting Start

Press release from the Tennessee State Senate Democrat Caucus; September 25, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – Democratic legislative leaders have renewed calls for a hearing on voting irregularities before early voting begins for the November elections.

That election was fraught with issues. While Davidson County has decided not to use the electronic poll books again, other issues remain unresolved by state elections officials.

Voters are still coming forward with issues. Some received the wrong ballot, and others were falsely told they were at the wrong precinct. County and state officials disagree over who is ultimately responsible for elections.

“It could all happen again,” the letter states. “It is critical we hold a hearing on these issues before early voting begins.”

The letter calls for on State and Local Committee Chairman Sen. Ken Yager to hold a hearing on the issue. It was sent Monday by the Democratic members of that committee, Sens. Thelma Harper, Joe Haynes and Lowe Finney.

“Our state has put considerable effort into fighting voter fraud, a problem that barely exists,” the letter states. “Now we have irregularities in our largest cities that could open a door to election fraud, and it is time we act. We must do our part to return integrity to our elections.”

Read the complete letter here.

Press Releases

Hagerty Takes Leave to Campaign for Romney

Press release from the Department of Economic & Community Development; Sept. 10, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Bill Hagerty will take a temporary leave of absence to volunteer as a member of the Romney/Ryan presidential readiness team in Washington, D.C.

Hagerty’s unpaid leave will run from Monday, September 17 through Tuesday, November 6. Despite the scheduled time away, he will be in Nashville October 18 and 19 to oversee the Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development.

The presidential readiness team is led by former Gov. Mike Leavitt of Utah. Hagerty served in a similar role for the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

“Bill’s background makes him a logical choice to serve in this role,” Haslam said. “He will do a great job.”

Deputy to the Governor Claude Ramsey will assume oversight of the department during Hagerty’s leave of absence.

“Creating and growing Tennessee jobs is a top priority for our administration, and I appreciate Claude for his willingness to serve in this capacity in the upcoming weeks,” Haslam continued. “His experience will be an asset to the department as we continue to focus on new jobs in Tennessee.”

Hagerty will return to the department on Wednesday, November 7.

Press Releases

TFA Seeks to Help Duvall Unseat Jones in District 59

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; August 21, 2012: 

TFA has invested a lot of time working this year to start pruning the “Tree of Liberty” which seems to be infested with legislators and elected officials who have their priorities placed with issues other than the Constitution and the protection of the rights of citizens. One of the first to be pruned, with emphasis, was Republican House Caucus leader Debra Maggart. Her astounding defeat is a testament to the resolve of Tennessee’s firearms owners and constitutionally based citizens that those such as her must be purged from the halls of government. However, this is not simply a task to remove legislators but also involves changing the powers within government.

For this reason, it was with welcome excitement that we have started seeing news reports that Rep. Judd Matheny has announced moves to challenge Beth Harwell for the speaker’s office. It is critical when we as firearms owners and constitutional conservatives consider any request for assistance or support of candidates that we be mindful to ask and extract a commitment of where that individual candidate will be on the issue of who they will support for Speaker of the House. That issue and their position on that issue cannot be passed off with an “I do not know yet”. If any candidate cannot at this time commit without qualification to whom he or she would support or oppose as Speaker of the House must be questioned as to whether they have sufficient resolve to make that decision if elected.

Demand of any candidate who seeks your support or vote that they commit without qualification to who he or she will support for Speaker. If you have a candidate who can vote in the caucus for the “wrong” candidate, then consider whether you really want to support them and risk that they will support the “wrong” candidate for any leadership position or whether it would be better to either abstain from support or go one step further and consider their opposition in November.

TFA Life Member Buford Tune is hosting an event this Saturday for Robert Duvall. He has invited all TFA members to this event.


As you know, every day we face challenges from many of our elected officials, regardless of Party, to our 2nd Amendment Rights.

I have a very close and dear friend , Councilman Robert Duvall, who has been an outspoken supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Robert is now running for the State Legislature, House District 59, to unseat a person who has never met or voted for a “Right To Bear Arms” bill that was liked or supported, and from a personal point of view NOT stood up for our rights at all to protect ourselves. Also, she has voted consistently to raise taxes or for no tax relief for Tennessee citizens and businesses.

I am inviting you to a small gathering at my business to meet Robert Duvall and hopefully you will assist us in our efforts to send Robert to the State House of Representatives to represent the PEOPLE. To unseat an 18-year very LIBERAL incumbent will take not only “boots on the street”, but $$.

Saturday, August 25th
Time: 10:30 A.M. until 1:00 P.M.
Location: 1645 A Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville, Tennessee
Refreshments will be served.

Buford Tune

Press Releases

TFA: Demand General Assembly Take Accountability for Maggart ‘Lies, Bullying’

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; July 27, 2012: 

This is the entire body of message that went to all legislators in Tennessee this morning. Call your legislators now and reinforce this message. Demand that they speak out publicly against Maggart’s lies and bullying. DO NOT let them tell you that they want to “stay out of it” – they are elected officials and sometimes that means demanding publicly ethical conduct of their peers.

The Tennessee Firearms Association has taken a position on Debra Maggart and focused our attention and resources on her as an example of what is wrong with the General Assembly.

All legislators have some, and in some instances for those who have publicly endorsed her a significant degree of, accountability for the actions of Debra Maggart. She is a selected leader of the Republican caucus. She is a legislator and is subject to ethics charges. She is causing great concern to arise regarding whether the entire legislature is nothing but a cesspool of people more concerned about being re-elected than representing the people with the honor and truthfulness of a steward. It is your opportunity and obligation to demonstrate to the people of this state that you do not stand with or condone lying and unethical legislators and that you will speak the truth to condemn misconduct of those in public office.

TFA is demanding that each legislator take action to stop Debra Maggart. She is engaged in inappropriate and unethical conduct in her campaign. She needs to be told to immediately stop and apologize. That demand needs to be made public so that there is no question who stood for truth and who stands with or even silently tolerates a liar. There is no setting on the sidelines as a spectator for an elected official who lies and abuses her position of power. You either condemn this action or your inaction signals your willing acceptance of it.

Each legislator has the ability to bring ethics charges against Debra Maggart.

Each legislator has the ability to stand up and publicly renounce the intentional lies and misrepresentations of Debra Maggart.

Each legislator has the ability to tell the lobbyists that they do not have to submit to Debra Maggart’s demands for support in her campaign or risk retaliation.

Each legislator’s actions or inactions will be measured in the public dialogue.

So, what are the problems that demand your involvement – NOW?

1. Debra Maggart is using her legislative telephone number on her campaign advertising. It can be inferred that by doing so she is using her legislative office phone services, office supplies and state paid staff in her re-election campaign. This may be a criminal violation and if not it should be. This certainly should be an ethics violation and should be prosecuted with an ethics complaint of the most harsh degree. This absolutely is wrong and she should be publicly chastised by her legislative peers for her gross misconduct.

This is what she is using as a campaign footer:
© Debra Young Maggart | State Representative 45th District
112 La Bar Dr. Hendersonville, TN 37075 | 615-741-3893
Paid for by Debra Maggart for State Representative; Debra Maggart, Treasurer
This email was sent to To ensure that you continue receiving our emails, please add us to your address book or safe list.
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Is Debra also using her legislative budget to pay for this email service? Who knows. However, are you willing as elected officials to be accountable to your constituents for letting another legislator use state paid resources – including staff – in her re-election campaign? Your actions – including your silence – will answer that question in the next few days.

2. Debra Maggart is intentionally lying to the public about the candidate disclosure form. It is an intentional misrepresentation by Maggart and should be condemned.

The facts are simple. Candidates for office must fill out a disclosure form (the state SS-8004). One question on the form asks:

Bankruptcy – List any adjudication of bankruptcy or discharge received in any United States district court within five (5) years of the date of this report.

Lt. Col. Rogers answered “none” to that question. That was truthful and accurate answer.

Rogers and her husband did file bankruptcy following a failed business effort after retiring from the military. The Rogers chapter 7 bankruptcy according to the Court’s records, was opened on 3/2/05. They were discharged on 6/15/05 but the court appointed bankruptcy trustee did not conclude the administration of the estate and close it until 7/28/08. Those are specific and federally defined terms.

Rogers’ discharge is indisputably on March 2, 2005. Roger’s disclosure form is dated 3/19/12. Therefore, the relevant window regarding the bankruptcy question would be 3/19/07. Roger’s discharge was almost 2 years prior and clearly outside the five year window designated on the form so a “none” response was truthful and accurate.

Apparently, the state did not consider bankruptcies older than 5 years to be relevant because it specifically created the five year window . The question clearly requires the disclosure of any “discharge” which is a specific legal event under federal law not the date the estate was “closed”.

The date of a “discharge” is critical under 11 USC Secs 524 and 727 because it is that specific event and date which determines the rights and obligations of future creditors. The termination of prior claims as to the individuals granted the discharge and many other matters. The date a bankruptcy estate is closed has nothing to do with a discharge or even whether a discharge is ever granted.

TFA has the bankruptcy file and will email it to you if necessary to resolve the disagreement on the facts. is one of the few news agencies that has actually reported on this story. Other news agencies have reported that Maggart was “shopping” the story but after looking into it they concluded it was not a factually reliable story. TNReport issued this story on July 9.

In it, they asked a Nashville bankruptcy attorney, Ed Rothschild to review the matter for them. This is the quote from the story:

But a Nashville bankruptcy attorney questioned whether the chain of events in Rogers’ case met the five-year test.
The late closing of the case had nothing to do with the actual ruling and liquidation, which was finished by 2005, says Edgar Rothschild, who was not involved in the case and reviewed the documents at the request of TNReport.
“I see nothing unusual about the fact that it was opened in 2005 and not closed until 2008,” he said. “The fact that the trustee took so long moving his paperwork along and disposing of the assets had nothing to do with the debtors. There is nothing in the report which indicated that the debtors did anything questionable.”

The fact is clear that what Debra Maggart is using as her primary negative attack on Lt. Col. Rogers is intentionally and knowingly false. Perhaps, it is perhaps possible that Maggart is too illiterate to know the difference – but let her make that excuse. In either event, she apparently hopes that the citizens will not learn or know the truth until its too late to make a difference.

Maggart has tried to make a big issue out of this. In response, the Rogers campaign has already asked elected members of the General Assembly to “sanction their own”. It is sad that apparently none of you have publicly done so at this point. That is sad because your silence turns your back on and thereby condones intentional lies by Maggart. Are you willing to tolerate that kind of deceitful and unethical misconduct?

3. Debra Maggart has taken on the NRA and is now lying about her record. Debra Maggart has put out a campaign ad that claims:

– Debra Maggart has consistently been given an A+ rating by the NRA—the highest rating possible on gun rights.

While Debra claims – as do most of you – that the NRA is the leading entity for giving endorsements on 2nd Amendment issues, Debra misleads the public by claiming she has an “A+” rating when in fact she received a “D” from the NRA this year. That is a clear and undeniable lie. Are you willing to tolerate that kind of deceitful and unethical misconduct regarding what is normally a cherished NRA endorsement?

4. Debra Maggart is falsely claiming that Lt. Col. Rogers is running a “negative campaign”. While it is true that the NRA and the TFA are negative on Maggart, Lt. Col. Rogers is not attacking Maggart other than discussing specific votes and specific bills.

5. Debra Maggart is misusing her campaign funds. In the Summer of 2011, Maggart and 14 other members of the TN General Assembly made a trip to China (

Debra Maggart apparently saw fit to reimburse herself for luggage for that trip from her Campaign Finance Account. If you go to you can enter the last name of a candidate and access the candidate’s campaign finance reports. If you access Rep. Maggart’s “Early Mid Year Supplemental (2011)” report you will find an entry for the reimbursement of a $431.54 “Travel Expense” she paid to Mori Luggage in Nashville. The entry is dated 2/28/2011. Tennessee statutes prohibit the use of campaign funds for the personal use of a candidate.

Also of interest in that same report is an entry for the purchase of $2,084.15 in furniture from C.W. Sanderson, Kenton, TN. The entry indicates the reimbursement to Rep. Maggart is for “Legislative Office Furniture.” Since the State of Tennessee provides furniture for her Nashville office one must assume the purchase was for her “home office.”

That report also includes two entries to Home Depot for “Legislative Office Paint” and several entries for “Office Supplies.” All these entries should be viewed with the understanding that the State of Tennessee provides a $1,000 a month to you as members of the General Assembly to offset expenses involved in maintaining an office in their home district.

Debra Maggart is trying to twist the arms of legislators to support her campaign. Do not fall for it. Debra Maggart and perhaps others have made their bed by selling out constitutional rights and getting in bed with Federal Express and its conspirators. When her campaign reports are filed, those who support her with money will be on public record.

TFA is asking you now to stand up and be good stewards. Do not allow your inaction on these issues to signal to the public that you condone Debra Maggart’s conduct. Hold her accountable for her actions. Hold her accountable openly and in the public square and discourse.

Press Releases

Gresham Challenger Wants Debate

Press release from the Meryl Rice Campaign for District 36; August 16, 2012: 

WHITEVILLE – Senate Candidate Meryl Rice is calling on Senator Delores Gresham today to join her in a public forum for a debate of their issues that are affecting the citizens of District 26.

“The people of this district deserve to have the best information available to them when they prepare to go to the polls in November;” said Rice, “seeing us face-to-face is the best way for voters to make a decision about who would represent them best in Nashville.”

So far, the Hardeman County Journal and the Hardeman County Business and Professional Women have both offered to host debates between the candidates, but Rice says that she is ready to debate wherever the opportunity presents itself.

“I believe that the issues are on my side,” she continued, “and I would love to have an opportunity to prove to the people of this district that Senator Gresham is out of touch with the needs of the people she is supposed to be representing.”

Gresham, the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, has presided over some of the most controversial measures in the recent General Assembly, including the overhaul of collective bargaining for teachers, the implementation of a new complicated teacher evaluation system, sending state dollars to an out of state company to operate a virtual school, and an attempt to cut Lottery Scholarships in half for over 5,000 Tennessee students.

Rice has spent her thirty-nine year career working as a human service professional. Her last full-time employment was as the Director of Crisis Services for Quinco Mental Health Centers. She has also worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Professional Counseling Services.

The election for District 26 will take place on November 6th. Due to the once a decade redistricting process, District 26 is now comprised of Chester, Decatur, Haywood, Hardeman, Hardin, Henderson, Fayette, and McNairy Counties.

Meryl Rice is a candidate for Tennessee Senate District 26. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern Mississippi. Rice and her husband Randall live on a small farm in Whiteville where they operate a small business; they have three children and five grandchildren. For more information, please call- (731) 609-3236 or email at

Press Releases

Evans Grateful for Chance to Serve Again, Requests Return of Signs for Future Use

Press release from State Rep. Joshua Evans, R-Greenbrier; August 6, 2012: 

By an overwhelming margin the good people of Robertson County have given me the opportunity to continue serving them, and I am very grateful. I thank God for the opportunity to go back to work representing you–today it’s time to get back to work.

Victory is always the result of a team effort, not just about the candidate. So I want to thank those who served on my campaign team and everyone who volunteered their time and energy knocking on doors, making calls, and other activities to help me. My staff, Rob, Brett, Kelsey & Matt have done an amazing job all summer. As always, my parents are an integral part of everything thing I do and I am thankful to my Mom and Dad.

I am so impressed that in the face of daily lies and misleading attacks, the people of Robertson County saw through the lack of integrity that was the basis of my opponent’s campaign. I expected no less of the good people of our community. Each of you who have helped, contributed, worked, prayed or voted for me, have left an impression upon me, and I am grateful.

Thank you Robertson County!

Joshua G. Evans
State Representative


Our team worked hard over the last few days to quickly reclaim all of our signs so that we will have them to use again in the future and to restore the cleanliness and beauty of our communities. To the best of our records, we have reclaimed all of the signs on our lists. If you still have a sign, big or little, or come accross a sign anywhere in the county, or have any other campaign magnets or other materials you need to get back to us, please send me a message and let me know where to get them, or bring them by The UPS Store in Springfield. If you drive by and see an Evans sign, pick it up for us please. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Press Releases

TNGOP Lauds Primary Winners

Statement from the Tennessee Republican Party; August 3, 2012: 

NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney tonight congratulated Republican primary winners across Tennessee and noted the higher than expected turnout in GOP primaries throughout Tennessee is an indication of the success Republicans will have in the general election on November 6th.

“I want to congratulate all of the Republican primary winners across Tennessee and sincerely thank all Republican candidates who participated in this year’s primaries,” said Devaney. “Tennessee Democrats will have another tough fight on their hands as they go up against our Republican nominees, and higher than expected voter turnout in Republican primaries across the state is yet another indication of the struggles Democrats are going to have in the general election.

“Voters continue to reject the big-government, big-spending policies of the Democrat party and at the same time are gravitating toward Republicans’ message of lower taxes, less spending, and economic growth,” continued Devaney. “Tennesseans want more conservative leadership and that’s exactly what Republican candidates across the state are offering. We will leave no stone unturned and look forward to an extremely successful general election in November.”