Monday, July 31, 2006


More to come on Early Voting

I am working on compiling the Early Voting statistics from the major counties in the state. I have several of them, but I won't have all of them until later today. Once I am through gathering the data, I will post it here.


Election Day Forecast

Thursday's Election Day Forecast:

Memphis - Partly Cloudy, 96 degrees, 20% chance of rain

Jackson - Partly Cloudy, 94 degrees, 20% chance of rain

Nashville - Partly Cloudy, 96 degrees, 20% chance of rain

Chattanooga - Partly Cloudy, 97 degrees, 20% chance of rain

Knoxville - Isolated Thunderstorms, 94 degrees, 30% chance of rain

Tri-Cities - Isolated Thunderstorms, 91 degrees, 30% chance of rain

Bottom line - if you are working a poll in Tennessee Thursday, please come prepared with plenty of fluids and sunscreen.


Saturday in the 1st District

I want to thank the Sullivan County and Washington County Republicans for serving as such gracious hosts this Saturday. It was good to get back to the 1st District, and I realize just how much I miss it when I am away for a few weeks.

The Sullivan County Republican Picnic, which was held at Sullivan Central High School in the early afternoon, was not well attended. This was probably due to the light rain that was falling at the time (although the event was held inside Central's cafeteria), which certainly didn't inspire many people to want to be out-and-about for that portion of the weekend.

Nearly everyone in attendance was either a candidate or worked for one of the candidates. Richard Roberts estimated to me that perhaps only three of the attendees hadn't yet voted, and he was probably not that far off in his estimate.

Nearly every candidate running for the 1st District was there (Vance Cheek, David Davis, Richard Venable, Dan Smith, Larry Waters, Phil Roe, Peggy Barnett), as well as Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary. (Bob Corker didn't think that Sullivan or Washington County was important enough to attend their festivities, which is odd since little else was going on Saturday around the state.) Jim Bryson was also in attendance, his campaign having started to focus on raising his name ID in East Tennessee.

One man that everyone wanted to congratulate was the 1st District's newest "Statesman," Danny Price, who was honored at the Tennessee Republican Party's Statesmen's Dinner last weekend. Danny is one of the great guys in Tennessee politics, and everyone who knows him is better for it.

The weather was certainly better an hour later at Washington County's picnic, which was held in Johnson City. In fact, it might have cleared up too much as the pavilion was stifling. (I don't know what it is about that structure, but this is the third event I have attended in it over the years and the conditions have been brutal each time.)

Not every candidate attended this event, though. Vance Cheek, David Davis, Dan Smith, and Phil Roe were there for the 1st District candidates (with Larry Waters sending a representative to attend on his behalf), and only Ed Bryant attended amongst the Senate candidates. Van Hilleary and Bob Corker had locals stump on their behalf, which provided some entertainment. Van's poor rep, who was asked to speak at a last minute's notice, said that Van needed to be with his pregnant wife and couldn't be too far away. That's funny, since Sullivan County is farther away from Meredith than Washington County, and Van had been in Sullivan County only an hour previous. Bob's representative then asked for everyone to look at Bob's record, which is exactly what Ed and Van have been asking people to do for months now. Funny stuff.

The food was great, and I had a wonderful time speaking to so many people, including Vance Cheek's lovely wife, Jody.

One thing that I am hesitant to comment on are some of the allegations that are being tossed around behind the scenes amongst the campaigns. Unfortunately, it seems that one of the campaigns has chosen to partake in some rather vicious rumor-mongering, as well as some quite illegal sign vandalism. (The allegations that I was presented with were not the same ones that came out of Bristol this morning that cost Phil Roe several expensive signs, but I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't related to this whole mess.)

I don't want to pour gasoline on the fire by spreading the rumors on this forum, but I do want to send a message to that particular campaign - cool it. Your actions are unbecoming to your candidate and his message. The time you are wasting by hurting others or their campaign materials could be better spent knocking on doors or phone banking.

All in all, it is was a great day. It's a bit of a shame that more people don't come out and spend meaningful time with candidates; our voting numbers would be up if they did. You learn a lot about people by meeting them and hearing their stories. I certainly feel that way about Vance Cheek after this weekend.

Y'all should try it some time if you get the opportunity.


Ford's Ex-Wife Jailed

Apparently, even once being married to the Ford family means that you have to spend so much time in criminal court and/or the penal system.

Sad stuff.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Bad Day for a Rain Out

With several outdoor events planned for East Tennessee today (the Tomato Festival and GOP picnics in Sullivan and Washington Counties being amongst them), one would certainly hope that our long string of sunny days would continue.

Alas, on Friday at 5:00, the skies opened up over Knoxville and the rain began.

I haven't heard of any cancellations or the like, but I did decide to skip out on the Tomato Festival when the rain was coming down in buckets here in Knoxville. I'm watching the Doppler to see if it will be worth the trip to Sullivan and Washington Counties. I am starting to believe that it might be. It's a decent drive by yourself, but seeing my friends from the 1st District (and just maybe grabbing some Ridgewood BBQ) would make it worth the effort.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Bryant Receives Endorsement from Gun Owners of America

I have been informed that Gun Owners of America, in a letter from the Gun Owners of America Politiical Victory Fund Vice President Tim Macy, has endorsed Ed Bryant in both the GOP primary and the General Election against Harold Ford, Jr. in November.

This is an outstanding development. Ed also has a lifetime "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, which is in direct opposition to Harold Ford, Jr.'s lifetime "F" rating on gun issues.

Meanwhile, Bob Corker has nothing but words to show that he is tough on protecting the Second Amendment rights of citizens. He has no voting record. He has no long history of supporting the NRA. I have never heard of his activism on keeping firearms available to law-abiding citizens. In fact, with the exception of a brief, "I support the Second Amendment," in his stump speeches, I have never heard Bob Corker even say anything else about the Second Amendment, what the Second Amendment means to him, how he interprets the right to bear arms, and what sort of gun control bills he would vote for, Bob Corker having already admitted in the Memphis debate to be a great compromiser on conservative positions.

I salute the Gun Owners of America for getting involved in this race with this endorsement. It's a shame that all organizations don't have such guts. Of course, those organizations may be left with two candidates for the general election, neither having a strong record on their particular issue. That's why it is even more important to endorse during the primaries, and I am glad that GOA realizes that fact, too.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Vance Cheek: Down the Stretch

Below is a press release from Vance Cheek, Jr., a candidate for the 1st District Congressional seat who has been endorsed by this website.


Two days left of early voting to Stop Illegal Immigration and Secure our Borders NOW!

Dear Neighbors,

There are two days left of early voting, before next Thursday's Primary Election day, to elect a candidate who will fight to secure our borders - now - not later.

As the only candidate running for Congress who served as a judge, I can go to work immediately to crack down on illegal immigration and secure our borders.

Our nation is at war. Terrorists have the ability to cross the border along with illegal immigrants, making our nation unsafe. We have also stuggled in many areas with job losses. We must stop illegal immigration now.

Some claim there are economic benefits of illegal immigration, but the costs are clear. One study estimated illegal immigrants use $2,700 a year more in services than they pay in taxes, creating a total fiscal burden of nearly $10.4 billion on the federal budget in 2002 and that doesn’t even take into account the cost to state or local government. Our taxpayers should not have to shoulder this burden.

It is my hope that stopping illegal immigration will help save taxpayer money and help get government spending under control. We must require that employees are legally in our country before they begin work.We must build a more secure border, use all of the modern tools at our disposal and deploy National Guard troops along the border to ensure we remain safe.
Having served as a Mayor with distinction in of one of our largest communities in East Tennessee, I will go to work to secure our borders with the type of new ideas that marked my tenure as Mayor.

During my time as Mayor, local media and folks called me the "Mayor in a wheelchair." I wore that label with distinction. I can promise you that in Washington, DC I will not be forgotten. I will stand out as I stand up in the fight for our East Tennessee values!

I would appreciate your vote during the next two days of early voting, or one week from today on primary election day.


Vance W. Cheek, Jr.
Republican candidate for Congress

To learn where you can vote today or Friday, go to:


To contact Vance with a question or learn more, visit the full website at:


Line of the Day

From the comments section:

"Huddleston and Hornback: covering the local Republican political circuit, like the dew that covers Dixie."

- Brian Hornback, Knox County GOP Chairman

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


More Letters to the Editor from Chattanooga

Seems like several Chattanooga-area Tennesseans are supporting Ed Bryant for Senate. Check out these letters from the Chattanooga Times-Free Press and the Chattanoogan.


GOP, nation need Bryant in Senate

Many Republicans are only looking at the August primary at this time.

It is my belief and many of my West Tennessee friends that Republicans must look toward the November election when considering whom to vote for in the Senate race.

In the last 40 years we have elected five Republican senators: Sens. Baker, 1966; Brock, 1970; Frist and Thompson, 1994; and Alexander, 2002.

The last senator elected from West Tennessee was Kenneth D. McKellar, who retired in January 1953.

As everyone should know, Harold Ford Jr. will be the Democratic nominee in the November election.

There is only one way a Republican candidate will defeat Ford. That is with the help of West Tennessee.

Ford has a strong base in West Tennessee, but my friends tell me that independents and conservative Democrats would be willing to vote for a Republican candidate if he was from West Tennessee.

Ed Bryant is the only Republican candidate from West Tennessee. He is highly qualified and has the experience.

For the sake of our Grand Old Party, President Bush and our nation, please vote for Ed Bryant in the August Republican primary.

Cleveland, Tenn.

Why Did Bob Corker Go Negative?

Bob Corker, who "always keeps his word," stated that he would not "go negative" in this campaign. He said his father had instilled in him the principle that "if you have to run another man down to get ahead, then maybe you need to pursue something else."

But I guess when your popularity is slipping everywhere, including Hamilton County, you just toss your principles right out the window and kick in as much cash as it takes to get ahead.

Bob Corker went one better though with his latest ad (that by the way you won't see posted on his website). In this ad, he told an out and out lie. I guess his dad didn't get around to the lesson about telling the truth.

But don't take my word for it take it from Jack Mc Elroy, the editor of the Knoxville Sentinel who endorsed Bob Corker for U.S. Senate. Mr McElroy says that Bob Corker's latest attack ad stating that both Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary voted to give themselves a pay raise is a lie, not a streach, a lie.

When Corker's campaign manger Ben Mitchell tried to retort saying that "the accusation is 100% true," Mr. Mc Elroy fired back, "No, it's not. Only by the most twisted manipulation of facts - and certainly not with a straight face - can that assertion be made."

The question to ask yourself at the end of the day is why would a campaign that touts the largest base of grassroots support in the history of Tennessee, a large lead in the polls and the most electable candidate resort to tactics that smack of fright and panic?

I, for one, am tired of the hypocrisy and have been for quite sometime.

Monica Jacks
Concerned Chattanoogan

A true conservative? Choose Bryant

I read with interest your July 20 editorial regarding the need for conservative state legislators, and I couldn't agree more.

Equally important is the need for conservative legislators in the United States Senate.

Unfortunately you have chosen to support a candidate for the Senate whose conservatism is in question.

Ed Bryant has a conservative track record. Ed Bryant has the better chance of winning over Rep. Harold Ford.

If the people of Tennessee want a true conservative to represent them in the United States Senate, they should vote for Ed Bryant.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Allegations of Sexual Misconduct at Powell High School?

As this story continues to unfold, it seems to get more and more strange.

Now we have an assistant principal, a UT football signee, and the principal of Powell High School in this mess, as well as several unnamed students.

In one sick way, I almost hope there is something to this story, because none of these people will be the same just on the weight of the allegations. Allegations against school personnel are brutal in their long-lasting effects. You can see that here, as Assistant Principal Kim Kallenberg and Principal Diane Psihogios have been placed on administrative leave and will never be assigned to Powell High School again.

Lee Smith, who signed on to play football with UT in February, will probably survive these allegations, as long as he wasn't the recipient of any improper grade changes. As of now, there is no such evidence.

This sort of thing seems to happen too often these days. Just from an initial view (and keeping in mind that it is very early in the development of this story), it doesn't seem to have happened in this case at all.


Updated Early Voting Numbers

These are some of the updated numbers of early voters through Tuesday.

Anderson - 3605
Davidson - 5874
Hamilton - 9551
Knox - 10888
Madison - 5091
Rhea - 2345
Rutherford - 4650
Sevier - 1469
Shelby - 42448
Sullivan - 4496
Washington - 3229
Williamson - 1508

These numbers are quite perplexing, to tell the truth. Turnout thus far is unbelievably light, even in the home counties of the U.S. Senate nominees. Also, the 1st District totals are a trickle of what was expected (Sevier County with less than 1,500 early voters thus far?!).

Either everyone is waiting to go to the polls on Election Day, or this might be one of the lowest primary turnouts we have ever seen.

MORE: Several bloggers jumped on this story. You can get more from:

Terry Frank (on Anderson County's low numbers)
Volunteer Voters (who is surprised as I was)
Tennessee Politics Blog (actual mathematical analysis)
Michael Silence (comparison to 2002)
Cup of Joe Powell (on how low turnout helps incumbents)
Forward With Ford (on the numbers showing Ed Bryant's strength)
Brian's Blog (breakdown of Knox County numbers)

If you want more information on the subject, you might need to seek professional help, because you're turning into a political wonk.


Haslam's Connections to Drug Smugglers?

Terry Frank, who does some of the best investigative blogging out there, is beginning to show the connection between the recently arrested Scott West and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam.

West was recently the focus of an FBI sting in Knoxville's Market Square. The FBI alleges that West, his brother, and others in Colorado and Arizona were part of nationwide marijuana trafficking.

Interesting stuff. Anyone familiar with how the political power works in Knoxville has to wonder what people knew and what they didn't know.

UPDATE: For clarification's sake, I am not saying nor insinuating that Bill Haslam is even remotely connected to the FBI allegations against Mr. West. More than likely, Haslam was as shocked as the rest of us when the FBI raided Market Square. However, many people in the City of Knoxville government may have to explain their connections to Mr. West at some time. That's all I am speculating - no more, no less.


South Knox Candidate Reception

I received the following from a member of the South Knoxville Republican Club:

You are invited to a reception in support of:

Frank Nicely, Candidate for the Tennessee Legislature
Larry Clark, Candidate for Knox County Commission
Paul Pinkston, Candidate for Knox County Commission
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
5:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.
Howard Pinkston/Bonny Kate Library
Hosted by your neighbors in the South Knox Community.
For more details, call 577-4802.
I plan on attending this reception, as you will never meet a nicer group of Republican candidates than Nicely, Clark, and Pinkston. The VOLConWife has a prior political engagement, but I do plan on attending. For a map to the reception, click here.


Bob Corker on WNOX this morning

Dear readers, unleash your questions about raising taxes, abortion flip-flops, the hiring of illegal aliens to build his financial empire, missing e-mails, the personal profits he sustained as a result of spending Chattanooga's government funds, and how millions and millions of dollars can't buy courage on Hallerin Hilton Hill's guest host, Bob Corker, from 8:00 until 10:00 Tuesday morning on WNOX.

Here's your chance to ask the questions that Bob doesn't want to answer in a debate*, so make 'em count!

The numbers to call in to the show are (865) 656-8255 in the Knoxville area and (800) 951-8255 across the nation.

Keep it clean, but don't let Bob stick with the rhetorical answers that he gave at the Knoxville and Memphis debates.

* Assuming that the call screeners let you through, which they tend to when HHH is there.


Jim Bryson Can't Be Liking This...

I heard GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Bryson guest hosting on WNOX Monday morning for the vacationing Hallerin Hilton Hill. Bryson did a fine job, to tell the truth, as one angry caller after another blistered him with questions regarding education, health care, and complaints from those very people who were taking a government handout as to why one social program or another had been cut by the General Assembly.

I think Bryson did a good job, and putting him before the people, exposing him to a sometimes hostile radio audience was one of the most effective things his campaign has done to date.

What can't be too pleasing to Bryson are these comments from his campaign director, former Tennessee Governor Winfield Dunn, in Monday's Jackson Sun:


"West Tennessee is a vast agricultural area that drew on human resources, and it gave us a population somewhat distinct from the rest of the state," Dunn said. "Middle Tennessee folks had the courage to come over the mountains and settle, giving them a different historical base off of which it evolved," he said.

East Tennessee? He uses an old maxim to describe the area.

"They won't do anything you tell them to do," he said, "but they will do anything you ask them to do."


Ugh. Yes, Mr. Dunn, we're just a bunch of whores.

Thanks for reminding me why East Tennessee never embraced you, Mr. Dunn. You simply don't understand East Tennesseans - a political reality that I am constantly reminded of when speaking to those from the other Grand Divisions of Tennessee who think one can campaign in Mosheim like you can in Memphis.

Those remarks just keep reminding me of why Jimmy Quillen despised Winfield Dunn - for his lack of respect or understanding of the "Mountain Empire." Quillen even quietly torpedoed Dunn's re-election bid in 1986, working behind the scenes for Democratic nominee Ned Ray McWherter. (Tom Humphreys of the KNS has a short summary of the particulars of the feud.)

In my opinion, Bryson needs to let Dunn work West Tennessee and keep him out of any statewide headlines. East Tennessee is what stands between him and the Governor's Mansion (assuming that he is indeed the GOP nominee, which isn't a guarantee given that he has little to no name ID anywhere east of Nashville and is hurt by the logistics of a lengthy ballot that has Mark Albertini at the top, which I believe to be worth 4 points for Albertini and other political pundits believe to be worth more than that).

East Tennessee can be fertile ground for Bryson, but he has an uphill climb if people are reminded of why he has people with an anti-East Tennessee bias in high positions of his campaign. The only reason that Bredesen polls high in East Tennessee is because the voters of the region have been shielded from the daily scandals of this administration due to a lack of a significant news source east of Chattanooga.

Bryson can make this race against Bredesen competitive, but he can't do it without East Tennessee. With the region, he might just make the November elections interesting. Without East Tennessee, he faces a double-digit loss.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Vacation from Hell

When everyone asks why I always vacation in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, at my parents' condo in Shipyard Plantation, I will always point to this blow-by-blow of the Fleser's cruise experience.

There's something to be said for driving to your destination, staying in a condo on the golf course and minutes from the beach, and relaxing on your vacation. Others say that it gets old. Well, it hasn't yet.

(Hat Tip: Michael Silence.)


Getting the Blood Pumping

Ron Higgins has an excellent column in the Commercial Appeal that should serve as the sounding of the trumpet for college football fans.

A highly recommended read.


Vance Cheek - On His Faith

The Kingsport Times-News has a story today on the faith of the 1st Congressional District's candidates. I know I am a bit biased after my endorsement for this race, but I appreciated the candid response by Vance Cheek, Jr.:

Republican Vance Cheek Jr., Johnson City's former mayor, also wasn't judgmental about Davis' TV ad.

"I do not believe that anybody has a copyright or trademark on being a Christian or conservative," Cheek noted. "If a candidate is into labels and wants to use that, that is their business."

Cheek, who gets around on a motorized cart, stressed his faith has lifted him up in dealing with a bone condition called osteogenesis imperfecta.

"I have literally been written off many, many times healthwise, particularly as a child," Cheek related. "I think it's great that I have a larger purpose in life win, lose or draw (in the congressional campaign). I have believed in John 9, verses 1 through 3 when Christ has brought to him a blind man and they ask him ‘Who sinned to make this man blind - his father or mother?' Christ said ‘Neither sinned. He was this way.' And then of course he is healed by the mud Christ puts on his eyes and told to go forward. I've always felt I did know my purpose in life."


If anyone can decipher Richard Roberts' comments in that story, please feel free to translate in the comments section of this post.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Around the Horn

Congratulations to former University of Tennessee tight end and Elizabethton, Tennessee native Jason Witten for signing a six-year contract extension with the Dallas Cowboys. Everyone around these parts knew that the Cowboys got the steal of the draft in 2003, and now the rest of the NFL knows it, too. In only 3 seasons in Dallas, Jason has made the Pro Bowl twice, and his 87 catches in 2004 ranks fifth all-time for catches in a season by a tight end. Jason's new contract is for six-years and nearly $28 million. Again, congratulations, Jason!

More great news coming out of the sports world, with American Floyd Landis blistering today's time trial to claim the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. His performance on Saturday almost assures a win of the event, which is set to conclude on Sunday. Hopefully, the allegations of doping that have plagued Lance Armstrong won't envelope Landis, too.

I have been around a few of the counties in the area investigating sign stealing by the Bob Corker for Senate campaign. I suppose I should have brought the matter up with Mr. Corker himself in Knox County on Thursday night, but it slipped my mind at the time. In talking with both GOP and Democratic personnel across Tennessee, I have never experienced so many instances of sign theft or vandalism as in this primary. Even the Democrats are aghast at how fractious the GOP primary has been.

I have decided not to attend the Tennessee Statesmen's Dinner tonight in Nashville. Frankly, as I told Knox County GOP Chairman Brian Hornback earlier today, I am a bit fed up with the GOP establishment right now, and I would more than likely say some things tonight that I might regret saying tomorrow.

Writing of Mr. Hornback, he was certainly busy this morning. You can read all about it over at Brian's Blog. Of particular interest, Brian spotted Democratic nominee for Knox County Chancellor Jim Andrews in some rather poor campaigning behavior. As I pointed out earlier, I am uncomfortable with judges that can't seem to follow the rules themselves. VOLuntarilyConservative has endorsed Mr. Andrews' opponent, Mike Moyers, for the Chancellor's position. Unfortunately, it appears upon first inspection today the Mr. Moyers is also the victim of deliberate sign loss over the past 24 hours.

Ed Bryant was in Kingsport Friday evening at FunFest. Hank Hayes has the write-up in today's Kingsport Times-News. Ed is also in Kingsport to open up a campaign office there, giving him more of an office presence in the pivotal 1st District than the other two candidates in the Senate race. Ed also showed more of the humor he has brought to the campaign trail over this campaign:

"For somebody who touts himself as the front-runner, for them to go hard negative and use a black-and-white ugly photograph of me that my mother doesn't even like, and then to put $1.7 million into the race of personal money which he said he would not do when he started this campaign, shows to me that he is not a front-runner," Bryant said of Corker's TV ad.

Finally, the Knoxville News-Sentinel had a story today on former Governor Don Sundquist and his continued financial dealings with political interests in the state. (Of course, his support of Bob Corker was all over the story if you looked hard enough.) The headline dealt with Don Sundquist and his keeping his "financial finger in GOP politics." That's quite appropriate, since many Tennessee conservatives have been giving Sundquist the finger for nearly a decade.

MORE: Terry Frank has some thoughts on the Sundquist-Corker connections here and here.


Da Bears!

Tickets went on sale this afternoon for my beloved Chicago Bears' home schedule. The VOLConWife and I have been planning a New Year's trip to my former stomping grounds, but it was dependent on my acquiring tickets to the Bears game against the Green Bay Packers on December 31st in Soldier Field.

I love my Comcast high-speed connection.

I had to have been one of the first people into the Internet queue, as I got tickets in the South Endzone (where I used to have half-season tickets) on the 14th row. Needless to say, I am ecstatic!

Bears/Packers tickets are nearly impossible to find anyway, but with this likely being Brett Favre's final game, it could be one of the toughest tickets to find in Chicago this year. From what I could tell, the game was sold out in under 10 minutes, and the season appears to be sold out in about 15 minutes.

I haven't been back to Chicago in several years, and the last time I was at Soldier Field, the renovations hadn't even started. I have been told that I won't like the new layout if I liked the old one (and I loved the old one), but I want to see for myself.

Not to mention trips to Giordano's (much better than Pizzeria Uno, my friends), Iron Mike's (great calamari, and I got to speak with the legendary "Iron" Mike Ditka my last time there), and Mother's (Division Street should be fun on New Year's Eve). This could be one fantastic trip!
By the way, gentleman - you know a woman loves you if she hates the cold and is still willing to leave the South for a few days to sit in a Chicago winter day just because you want to.

That's love.

MORE: Just to show how excited I am to have Bears tickets, I thought I would share a YouTube montage of Bears defensive highlights from last year. Enjoy!


Press Release: Vance Cheek on Out-of-control Government Spending

I received the following press release from Vance Cheek, Jr. Vance has been endorsed by this website.


Stop Out-of-Control Government Spending
We must Secure our Future.

Congressional spending is out-of-control.

One study estimates upwards of $29 billion in excess spending in the last budget.

Vance supports Congressman Jenkins’ efforts to pass a constitutional balanced budget amendment.

As Mayor, Vance W. Cheek, Jr. always passed balanced budgets and never voted for a tax increase. He will be our strongest voice against out-of-control spending in Congress.

Taxpayers cannot afford to pay more, especially with high gas and health care prices. Vance Cheek will help eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in our budget so we can lower taxes.

Vance also knows job creation is critical to East Tennessee, to secure our children's future. That's why Vance created job growth centers such as the Medical Technology Corridor as Mayor and he will do the same for us as our next Congressman.


To volunteer click here: Vance Cheek Volunteer Form; request signs, bumper stickers and volunteer

To donate click here: Donate to Vance's Campaign


To read more about Vance's background, visit Vance's website at www.vancecheekcom

Friday, July 21, 2006


Accentuating the Positive - Last Night's GOP Events in Knox County

The VOLConWife and I had a fun and productive evening Thursday, an evening that saw us attend two GOP events on opposite ends of Knox County.

First, we proudly voted at the Early Voting location in South Knoxville off of Chapman Highway. I was dismayed to see that a great deal of sign vandalism has been occurring at that site, with signs for Ed Bryant, Andy Jackson, and Ralph McGill drawing the most attention from the vandals. As those three candidates are true conservatives, I am not at all convinced that this was random. Signs that were replaced at 5:30 P.M. were destroyed by 10:30 P.M. that same night. Given the low-traffic area of this voting location, I suspect that either someone within the location or one of the few businesses in that area is selectively committing the vandalism. In any case, it's ridiculous behavior.

We were able to vote on the new machines, and they worked quite well. The only problem I had was with the difficulty in write-in votes. I wrote myself in as the Republican nominee for the 15th House seat, attorney Tim Elrod in for one of the judgeships, and Steve Hall for Knox County Mayor. I have been told that these votes will not be counted under Election Committee policy. If that is the case, I suspect I will file a suit against the Election Committee to make sure that they are doing their job - ensuring fair elections and counting the votes to declare a winner.

I wish I had brought a camera to commemorate Angela Huddleston - the VOLConWife - casting her first vote for herself in an election.

The election personnel stated that voting had been heaviest Thursday at that location, but even then, only a shade over 100 people had voted. In running numbers from the 2002 primary and comparing them to this early voting period, it appears that voting turnout will be light. Blount County also looks to have light turnout so far. This could mean big lines on Election Day if people are waiting until August 3rd, or it could mean that turnout will simply not be high and less than 600,000 voters will vote in this GOP primary. I think 560,000 votes might be a bit optimistic as of today.

We then attended the South Knox GOP's Cookout at Gary Underwood Park. We met with several wonderful people from South Knox, including several of elected officials. Commissioner Larry Clark (9th District) and Tennessee Representative Frank Nicely (17th District) - both of whom have been endorsed by this site - were both very kind in word and deed. Watermelon, hot dogs, and Sprite - and then it was on to the next event.

There were a few more people (as in a factor of 20) at the Republican Rally in the far reaches of North Knox County. All three U.S. Senate candidates (Ed Bryant, Bob Corker, and Van Hilleary) were in attendance, as were Jim Bryson (Governor), Mark Albertini (Governor), Ralph McGill (U.S. House), Stacey Campfield (TN House), Gary Drinnen (TN House), Mike Moyers (Chancellor), Andy Jackson (General Sessions Judge), R. Larry Smith (Commissioner), Mike Ragsdale (Mayor), Brian Hornback (County GOP Chair), and several others.

There was apparently some good BBQ at the event, but I never saw it since I got caught up in one political conversation after another. (The VOLConWife was able to commandeer a Mayfield "Brown Cow" and a Coke, but, alas, no BBQ.) I certainly enjoyed my (separate) conversations with Stacey Campfield and Gary Drinnen.

Bob Corker worked the "money" at the event, which seems a bit silly given his own financial investment in buying this election. Bob even came over to myself, the VOLConWife, and another gentleman with an Ed Bryant sticker near the end of the event and asked that we support his campaign if he win's the primary, as he will do likewise if Ed wins. I was civil, shook his hand, and said, "Thank you, Bob." I didn't get his reaction to one of his chief supporters who, while debating one of the Ed Bryant supporters in attendance, stated that Bob Corker's pro-choice leanings were an advantage in both this race and potentially in the general election. Yeah, I bet Bob doesn't like his supporters saying such junk when he is trying like mad to look pro-life. With supporters like that...

I've written about other happenings after the event. I won't go into those again.

After all of that, the VOLConWife and I did some sign repair in South Knox County. Just another busy day in an election year.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Fun and Games Turns Into Sadness

I was so looking forward to writing tonight about the great time that the VOLConWife and I had at the South Knox Republican Cookout and the North Knox Republican Rally (yes, we made both), but that will have to wait.

As we walked to the car with Congressional candidate Ralph McGill, I received several calls saying that I might want to make my way to the corner of Emory Road and Maynardville Highway. We did, and it was a troubling site.

GOP Gubernatorial candidate Mark Albertini was in the back of a police cruiser while his car was being impounded.

I did notice that Mark was acting a bit strangely prior to leaving the rally. Through the grapevine, I heard that he was apparently attempting to campaign at the intersection as cars were stopped at the red light.

I was quite saddened by the scene. Mark Albertini is not the perfect candidate or a perfect man, but I had gone on record as saying that he would give Jim Bryson a run for his money in the primary because of Mark's incredible work ethic and his placement at the top of the ballot.

Recently, I was asked what was the worst thing that could happen to a candidate during Early Voting. Another political consultant said, "Running out of money." I shook my head and said, "Getting arrested." I wish I hadn't been so prophetic concerning Mr. Albertini.

It isn't every day that one gets to vote for or against a candidate and see that candidate apparently arrested that same night.

Tragic stuff. I guess it must officially be campaign season.


Corker in Trouble!

The signs are there - Bob Corker's campaign knows that trouble has come to town.

First, there was Corker's negative television ad, which made no sense on the heels of his paid-for poll results. For those who haven't seen the ad (which is not playing in several strategic markets such as the Tri-Cities), here it is.

University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Professor Robert Swansborough told the Nashville City Paper the following about Corker's negative ads: "Normally if somebody is comfortably ahead, they normally don't resort to negative ads."

Then comes the poll from The University of Tennessee poll released today that shows Ed Bryant within the margin of error, within striking distance.

In another move that smells of desperation today, Bob Corker announced that he was busting the "Millionaire's Amendment," loaning himself $1.74 million to help save his sinking poll numbers.

This level of panic by the Corker campaign coincides with what I have just witnessed in Blount County - a Corker duo planting yard signs on every public right-of-way (in violation of Blount County and City of Maryville ordinances in most cases). This is in contrast to the lack of campaign evidence from the Corker campaign in Knox and Blount Counties - outside of the efforts of Pilot gas station personnel.

Ed-mentum is for real, and it has Bob Corker running scared.


Free Supper with South Knox GOP

This comes from the South Knox Republican Club:

The South Knox Republican Club will have a cook-out on July 20 from 5:00 to 7:00. Everyone is welcome so come on out. We meet at the Optimist Club Building on Moore Road in the Gary Underwood Park. Curtis Anderson is the President.

The VOLConWife and I plan to be there, and all local GOP candidates have been invited to attend. Come on out and join us for hot dogs and watermelon!

UPDATE: Gary Drinnen, who is running against Stacey Campfield for his Tennessee House seat in the primary to be settled August 3rd, reminded me of another GOP event tonight. This one is in North Knox for the 7th and 8th Districts. The event is from 5:30 until 8:30 at Elizabeth Lane Farm, 6505 Emory Road. Nearly every GOP candidate on the August ballot is expected to be there, and - as is mandatory at all GOP functions this year - BBQ will be served.

I don't see why an enterprising person couldn't hit both events, which is what I may try to do.


UT Poll Shows Tight Race Between Bryant, Corker

An 11 point lead with +/- 7% margin of error and 22% of the electorate "undecided."

Normally, I haven't put too much stock in polls and have instead attacked their methodology. I still don't put too much weight on this poll, either, but the results are pretty close to where I think the race is right now.

I was asked yesterday where I think the candidates are running, and I put Corker at 35%, Ed at 30%, and Van at 15%, with 20% undecided. This poll from The University of Tennessee isn't far off of that estimation, with Corker at 37%, Bryant at 26%, and Hilleary at 15%.

Interestingly, I awoke this morning from a dream in which Van Hilleary had dropped out of the race. (Yes, when I do dream, it usually is about political matters.) He is now an undisputed third place in a three-horse race, and his poll numbers will continue to drop. Van did well to weather the storm through the debates, but it has come down to a head-to-head race between false prophet Bob Corker and true conservative Ed Bryant.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Georgia Primaries: Reed Sunk, McKinney Faces Run-Off

It appears that the voters of Georgia had enough of big money, scandals, and pompous powermongers.

**Source of Picture:

Ralph Reed, whose primary fight for the GOP nomination as Lieutenant Governor with conservative Casey Cagle had been one of the nastiest in America, conceded defeat last night. Cagle was a small-timer in Georgia politics until last night, a label that no longer applies after taking out one of the state's most prominent establishment Republicans that had been endorsed by none other than Rudy Guiliani and Sean Hannity.

Most political commentators believe Reed's loss to the upstart Cagle was predominantly a product of Cagle's success in linking Reed to the indicted Jack Abramoff. From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

But while Reed was getting his campaign off the ground, a U.S. Senate committee and federal prosecutors were probing deeper into the affairs of Abramoff, a Reed associate who pleaded guilty in January to bilking his Indian tribe clients of tens of millions of dollars, and of bribery of a public official.

A Senate Indian Affairs Committee, chaired by U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), concluded that Reed had been paid $5.3 million by two casino-owning Indian tribes, both Abramoff clients, to rally Christian voters against attempts by other tribes to establish competing casinos.

Reed repeatedly denied that he knew the money that financed his anti-gambling campaigns came from gambling revenue, although several e-mails showed that Abramoff informed Reed of the money's origins several times.

It should be noted that Van Hilleary also has these connections to Jack Abramoff and the casino-owning Indian tribes. One has to wonder if his poll numbers are suffering the same fate as Reed's did.

In the last three months of the race, Cagle's barrage against Reed began to pay off. Cagle rose in the polls and raised more than three times as much as Reed from contributors. Reed closed the financial gap with a $500,000 personal loan to his own campaign. By June 30, both men had raised roughly $2.5 million.

For the last six months of the campaign, Reed continually expressed regret for his association with Abramoff, and frustration that the media were not covering the important issues of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the surprise of the night was reserved for Cynthia McKinney, who has been drawn into a run-off with the virtually unknown Hank Johnson. McKinney, who has a substantial series of bizarre and irrational behavior, was nevertheless believed untouchable as a candidate due to her purporteded popularity within Georgia's 4th District.

With only 1,500 votes separating the two Democratic candidates, a run-off must be held on August 8th to decide the nominee.

Of course, this shows candidates what can happen when you play the roll of the frontrunner and refuse to debate your opponents, as McKinney did in this race. Voters don't like such pompous behavior, and it sometimes comes back to bite you on the posterior.

When all is said and done, McKinney will probably win re-election. I suspect that she'll find the votes to win the run-off, possibly with a call to Memphis to see how the Ford family seems to uncover those few votes that can put you over the top when faced with political death.

Is that what it has come down to for some Democrats? Get the dead to vote, or watch your political career die?

MORE: Donkey Cons has an extremely thorough analysis.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Election Year Math

The most difficult course that I took during my undergraduate education was Physical Chemistry under Dr. Thomas Huang. Physical Chemistry (or P-Chem, as it is routinely called) is the course chemistry majors take after two semesters of Organic Chemistry, and it is extremely math-oriented.

But that was a long time ago, and my math skills were better. Attorneys are known to be poor at math, and maybe it is that affliction which is making my understanding of this U.S. Senate race perplexing. Have I lost the math skills from my youth?

Someone work through this with me...

Bob Corker said in the Memphis debate that he had been pro-life for "7 or 8 years now."

It's 2006. That would mean that he had been pro-life, according to Bob, since 1998 or 1999.


But I have heard at least 1, 327 times - in every opening statement, Lincoln Day speech, TV ad, and picnic address - how Bob came to be pro-life after his mission trip to Haiti.

That trip was in 1982. Even Bob's website says that it was "over 20 years ago." Seems to me that it was 24 years ago, but my math may be off there.

In 1994, Bob Corker was on record as saying that abortion wasn't a process that should be regulated by the government. (That's a pro-choice statement, right out of the Planned Parenthood press releases.)

1999 or 1999.



Is it me, or do these numbers just not add up?

It could be just me, since - no matter how I manipulated the numbers - I couldn't make Van Hilleary's figures on his tainted Jack Abramoff money add up, either. But, then again, no one from Van's campaign has been able to explain that one to me, so maybe that figure isn't accurate.

So maybe it's not me. Maybe, when it comes to Bob Corker and Van Hilleary, the numbers just don't add up.

Monday, July 17, 2006


VOLuntarilyConservative Endorsement: Vance Cheek, Jr. for 1st District Congressional Seat

Vance Cheek, Jr.

Written by Rob Huddleston:

As I have mentioned on this site numerous times, I consider there to be no higher honor than serving the people of Tennessee's 1st District in the United States House of Representatives. It is the place of my birth, much of my education, and where my heart will always be.

Several fine men - a few of them friends - are striving to represent this great region through its honorable seat in Congress. For these reasons, making an endorsement in this race has been especially difficult.

However, it is an unpleasant exercise that must be done so that the wrong sort of person doesn't win the seat of Quillen and Jenkins. I am not talking about a Democrat taking the seat, as that possibility seems unfathomable. No, I write of a more pressing problem - the Republican in Name Only. It is apparent that there are two well-funded candidates in this race - Richard Venable and Richard Roberts - that fit that description. Both have decent shots at capturing the seat (Venable more than Roberts at this point), and as conservatives, we cannot allow for that to happen.

For that reason, VOLuntarilyConservative is endorsing Vance Cheek, Jr. as the Republican nominee for the 1st District's seat in the United States Congress. Vance has served the people of East Tennessee in several respects, including being the former mayor of Johnson City, Chairman of the Tennessee Claims Commission, local attorney, and adjunct professor at East Tennessee State University.

Vance has shown what kind of congressman he would be by taking time out of his busy campaign schedule to answer the VOLuntarilyConservative questionnaire that was sent to all candidates. Another conservative candidate, Representative David Davis, also returned the questionnaire, but all other candidates failed to respond in a timely fashion, which makes their claims of being able to provide constituent services at the same levels as Jimmy Quillen or Bill Jenkins ring hollow. (You can read Vance's answers here and David's here.)

One thing I want to be clear - David Davis is a fine man, a proven conservative, and has been endorsed by many wonderful people. In trying to make this decision, it has been down to two candidates for several weeks - Vance Cheek and David Davis. I have gone back and forth on the decision, and the others who assist me in making the endorsements on this site weighed in early and then left the decision up to me. What really sealed the deal for me - what showed me that Vance was the man who deserved this endorsement - were Vance's efforts to make himself available for questions and concerns that I had, as compared to reports from others that David Davis was not showing up for debates.

In looking at Vance Cheek's record (having balanced budgets and never voted for an increase in property taxes) and positions on the issues (being vehemently pro-life, supporting reforms that would boost our defenses against illegal immigration, and against eminent domain abuse by the different levels of government), it is in the best interests of the people of the 1st District to vote for Vance Cheek.

The two "RINO Richard's" in the race - Richard Venable and Richard Roberts - are attempting to buy the seat once held by Jimmy Quillen, B. Carroll Reece, and Bill Jenkins. It didn't take much time for Roberts to bust the "Millionaire's Amendment," meaning that he has given so much of his money to his campaign that other candidates are not as restricted in their fundraising. (To make a small donation to Vance's campaign so that he can combat these attempts to buy the 1st District, click here.)

Conservatives need to show these wealthy gentlemen that their votes are not for sale to non-conservative politicians. To do this, conservatives need to unite behind a proven fellow conservative to stand up for East Tennesseans in Washington, D.C.

We urge the citizens of the 1st District to vote for Vance Cheek, Jr. through early voting and on August 3rd.


3rd Round of 2006 Endorsements from VOLuntarilyConservative

To begin with, we will repeat the official policy of this website regarding endorsements:

Many pundits on the Republican side are lax to make endorsements in primaries because it makes good political sense to stay neutral until the general election. That being said and admitting that to be true, it will be the policy of this site to endorse candidates at all stages of the election process because it is as important that we choose the right candidate in the primary as in the general election. In all cases, conservative candidates are sought for endorsement, and those with a proven record of conservative activism will be favored over candidates that undergo campaign conversions for the purpose of being elected.

Below is a list of candidates that are officially being endorsed by VOLuntarilyConservative. Some of the races are not included because there is simply no preference at this time or because there is no anticipated opposition. Unlike with previous endorsement announcements, some races where we see fit not to endorse candidates will be specifically noted.

These endorsements are directly related to the August elections, for which early voting began on July 14th and runs through Thursday, July 29th. The decisions as to which candidate to endorse were made based on personal knowledge, website content (blog, campaign sites, and otherwise), and responses to questionnaires, including the Knoxville News-Sentinel's Voter Guide,, and VOLuntarilyConservative.

Endorsements are also generally listed in the order they will appear on the ballot in Knox County. When appropriate, some commentary may follow some endorsements.

So, without further adieu, VOLuntarilyConservative endorses the following candidates for office:

Governor - No Endorsement.

This may surprise some people, but there is some disappointment amongst us regarding Jim Bryson's various abstentions during the legislative session and some of the people he has invited into his campaign "inner circle." Meanwhile, there are many concerns about Mark Albertini. One of them, however, is not his work ethic. He has been a one-man campaign force over the past year. Because of this, a consensus could not be reached.

U.S. Senate - Ed Bryant.

A true conservative, Ed Bryant may be the only chance for Republicans to hold Senator Frist's seat in November.

U.S. House, 2nd District - Ralph McGill.

While few can fault Congressman Duncan's constituent services, he may be taking this primary campaign for granted. Mr. McGill has fought a good fight, trumpeting his conservative values as differences between himself and Congressman Duncan.

TN Senate, 5th District - No endorsement.

TN Senate, 7th District - No endorsement.

TN House, 14th District - Parkey Strader.

TN House, 15th District - No endorsement.

The Republicans have no candidate against Democrat Joe Armstrong, who, despite being caught up in the Tennessee Waltz scandal, will be re-elected. Feel free to write-in Rob Huddleston if you wish, as he lives in the gerrymandered 15th House District.

TN House, 16th District - Bill Dunn.

TN House, 17th District - Frank Niceley.

TN House, 18th District - Stacey Campfield.

Stacey is facing an uphill battle against the well-funded Gary Drinnen. Gary is a friend of VOLuntarilyConservative and admits to being a reader of this site. However, Stacey has been a consistent vote for conservatives in the Tennessee House, and we see no reason not to send him back to Nashville for another term. We join Representative Bill Dunn, Dick Armey, Tennessee Right to Life, and the National Rifle Association in their support of Stacey Campfield.

State Executive Committeewoman, 6th District - Angela Huddleston.

It isn't every election that one of our own runs for election. We give our uncompromised endorsement of Angela. The 6th District is fortunate to have people of Angela and Jamie Woodson's quality representing them in Nashville.

State Executive Committeeman, 7th District - Steven Buttry.

Steve and Cindy Buttry are two of the best people you can ever have on your side in a campaign. Any time you get to vote for one of them, you can do so with confidence.

Judicial Retention

We support the following judges in their retention votes:
William M. Barker
Michael Swiney
William C. Koch, Jr.
William B. Cain
David Farmer

Circuit Court Judge, Division Four - Bill Swann.

Chancellor, Division One - John F. Weaver.

Chancellor, Division Three - Mike Moyers.

Jim Andrews, the Democratic nominee, has plastered Knox County with signage, which could make this race closer than one would have thought. In our view, Moyers, through his experience as Knox County's Law Director, will make an excellent chancellor.

Criminal Court Judge, Division Two - Ray L. Jenkins.

Ken Irvine, the Democratic nominee, has run a campaign based solely on why Judge Jenkins - a Knoxville legal institution for decades - is no longer fit for the bench. Irvine has failed to provide reasoning as to why he should be elected to the bench. It appears to us that Jenkins runs an efficient court, and he should be allowed to continue in that capacity.

Knox County Mayor - No endorsement.

There are no conservatives in this race, so feel free to write-in whomever you choose.

Knox County Commissioner, 1st District, Seat A - Nick Della Volpe.

Knox County Commissioner, 3rd District, Seat A - Tony Norman.

Knox County Commissioner, 4th District, Seat A - John Schmid.

Knox County Commissioner, 6th District, Seat A - Chuck James.

Knox County Commissioner, 6th District, Seat B - Greg "Lumpy" Lambert.

Knox County Commissioner, 7th District, Seat A - No endorsement.

This is a turn from our previous endorsement in the May primary, at which time we endorsed R. Larry Smith. At that time, we were advised that Mr. Smith was not as he seemed. Since that time, we have confirmed certain behaviors that make it impossible to endorse Mr. Smith in this race. Mary Lou Horner, who suspended her campaign earlier, has backed write-in candidate Faith Tapp as an alternative to Smith. We do not have enough information to endorse Ms. Tapp, but we encourage voters to learn more about her to see if she deserves your vote.

Knox County Commissioner, 8th District, Seat A - Phil Ballard.

Knox County Commissioner, 9th District, Seat A - Larry Clark.

Steve McGill, the Democratic nominee, has plastered South Knoxville with signage, but the main theme of his campaign in newspaper interviews seems to be that Mr. Clark should be term-limited. As Clark did not protest Chancellor Weaver's decision nor campaign until it was for sure that he would be on the ballot, we find Mr. McGill's arguments moot. Mr. Clark has served South Knoxville well, and it would be our preference that he be allowed to do so for another term.

Knox County Commissioner, 9th District, Seat B - Paul Pinkston.

General Sessions Court Judge, Division IV - Andrew Jackson, VI.

Knox County Sheriff - Greg Cox.

Admittedly, we know little about Mr. Cox. However, the scandals that seem to constantly plague Tim Hutchison and the failures of Randy Tyree's campaigns (from failing to pay off debt from 1982 to failing to meet the deadlines related to this campaign) make Mr. Cox the only viable alternative. Hutchison's inability to show up at his own debate last week was the last straw.

Register of Deeds - Steve Hall.

School Board, Sixth District - H. Lee Martin.


More endorsements to come from outside of the Knoxville area to come...


AP Story on Memphis Debate

Here is the first AP story I have read on tonight's Memphis debate.

It pretty much tells it like it was - Corker has been pummeled at each and every debate this year.

Corker's lack of presence, lack of answers, lack of backbone (how do you not ask a question of your opponents if given the opportunity?), and lack of explanations at these debates are just one reason that he will lose a head-to-head race with Harold Ford, Jr. in November if Corker is the nominee.

Hilleary, once again, was quite good. Van was only poor during Steve Gill's radio debate, but he has shown considerable improvement for the televised debates. Van's closing statements are the same as in his 2002 failed gubernatorial bid, though; I would have hoped that he would have come up with something else.

Ed Bryant was outstanding, as he has been for each of the debates during this campaign. I obviously have high expectations for Ed and feel that his position as the only actual prosecutor in the race should translate into debate wins, and he has lived up to those expectations.

I'll be interested to read what Mick Wright has to say about the debates over at Blogging for Bryant.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Tonight's Memphis Debate

It appears that viewers outside of the Memphis viewing area will be able to watch tonight's U.S. Senate debate at WREG's website. The debate is set to start at 8:00 P.M. Eastern time.

Meanwhile, if you missed the second Knoxville debate, you can watch it in its entirety on WBIR's website.

These television stations are providing an important service by placing these debates on-line, a service made all the more important by Bob Corker's continued refusal for a statewide debate. It has become obvious that he does not want the "collar counties" of Nashville or the entire 1st Congressional District to see him exposed as a false conservative.

Watch the debates. Pass them along to your friends.

Make sure that everyone makes an informed choice in this primary election.

Friday, July 14, 2006


The Knoxville GOP Debate

I have a complete rundown of what happened last night at the GOP debate in Knoxville over at Blogging for Bryant.

Part 1

Part 2

Due to this coverage, the release of endorsements will be delayed until later today.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


U.S. Senate Debate in Knoxville Tonight

Those in the Knoxville area will want to remember the debate tonight. Rumor has it that Bob Corker will actually show for this one since it isn't being carried via television to all parts of Tennessee and is sponsored by entities that either support him because of their liberal tendencies (the League of Women Voters) or because he has bought their souls (the Knoxville News-Sentinel and WNOX). It's amazing that Corker was able to perform so poorly during the last Knoxville debate with the deck stacked so much in his favor, especially with the political geniuses at the Metro Pulse involved.

(Did everyone see that the Metro Pulse, on the heels of telling all of the Knoxville liberals who read their birdcage liner to vote on the wrong day, didn't know that Jimmy Duncan has primary opposition? That's quite amazing since Ralph McGill has campaigned for the primary and Duncan has chosen not to do so. It's just another example of the amateur hour that passes for liberal political knowledge here in Knoxville.)

In any case, I will be at West High School tonight for the 7:00 P.M. debate. If you can't attend, I hope you are able to tune in to WBIR to watch. With early voting beginning tomorrow, it should be quite a show.


Kentucky Mourning

Our heartfelt condolences are extended to our friend Congresswoman Anne Northup and her family on the sudden and unexpected death of her son, Joshua. (Several newspapers in the Commonwealth are carrying the story, but you can also find it at The Hill.)

Joshua was my age, and it appears that his death was caused by an undiagnosed heart condition.
Because of the composition of Anne's district, she has the unusual task of having to campaign nearly every election cycle. I can't imagine that will be easy - if even possible - in the months to come.

Our prayers are with you, Anne.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


What 11th Commandment?

Those who have read on Reagan know that his "11th Commandment" regarding speaking ill of other Republicans is widely misunderstood - especially by the media - and misapplied.

A case in point - The Nashville City Paper declares that the candidates for U.S. Senate have broken Reagan's 11th Commandment.

Of course, all of this is moot. Michael Reagan, the heir to the Reagan conservative throne, declared the 11th Commandment repealed less than two months ago.

So, my fellow conservatives, continue to drive the viral elements out of your party, or be prepared to move out of the party vessel if the infestation is too malignant.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


WaPost Article on Alliance Defense Fund

Thanks to a reader who pointed me to Monday's article in the Washington Post regarding the Alliance Defense Fund.

I should point out that I pre-date the reign of Jeff Ventrella at ADF. I was a Blackstone Fellow when this man was in charge.


Corker's Contribution to Tennessee

It seems that raising the taxes of his fellow Tennesseans isn't the only mark Bob Corker is leaving on the state. He is also attracting national attention for his cowardice.

This from Congressional Quarterly's update on select state elections:

Tennessee Senate: GOP debate canceled after Bob Corker declines to participate, the AP reports; afterward, man in chicken costume shows up at Corker campaign headquarters, according to WTVF-TV.

Gee, thanks, Bob. That's one of the high points in our statehood.

Thanks for showing Tennesseans what you really mean when your mama says, "Corkers always keep their word."

Apparently, it means that you will say and do anything to get yourself elected.

Whether it's buying media, buying endorsements, or trying to hide the real you from the voters of Tennessee, your acts do nothing to make the Republican Party stronger.

That leads to two hilarious quotes in today's Johnson City Press. The first involves growing the party.

After a few laughs, Corker reassured those in attendance that he was trying to run a campaign that would “grow” the Republican party.

“We’ve already knocked on 52,000 doors statewide and growing,” he said.

How does knocking on the doors of Republican walk lists "grow the Republican Party?" The only way you may grow the party, Mr. Corker, is through the same way that bovines help fields grow.

The next quote is even better.

“The reason I’m doing what I’m doing is because I believe this country is facing some of the most complex issues it has ever faced and I believe I have the fortitude and the backbone to face those issues head-on.”

HA! Yes, Mr. Corker, you have shown what "fortitude and backbone" you have by running away from Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary in Nashville and beyond. You have shown what "fortitude and backbone" you have by failing to release your tax returns besides numerous calls for you to do so. You have shown what "fortitude and backbone" you have by refusing to release records of your subcontractors so that you can keep your support of illegal immigration under the rug.

That's not the kind of backbone I want from my Senator. Tennessee deserves better than you, Mr. Corker.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Hobbs Endorses Bryant, Krumm, Johnson

Bill Hobbs has issued some endorsements.

It is my hope to do the same over the next two days.

Meanwhile, Volunteer Voters is reporting that Ed Bryant has been endorsed by Tom Tancredo's Team America PAC. Being endorsed by an organization that is close to Tancredo should put to rest the debate (if there really is one) over which Senate candidate is toughest on illegal immigration.

UPDATE: Blogging for Bryant has the lowdown on the Team America PAC endorsement.


Clem Letter Making the Rounds

I have received e-mails from across the state - from Bristol to Bartlett - from voters who have received the Chris Clem letter regarding the truth behind Bob Corker.

I know there was some concern that this letter may not reach voters in time, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Several Nashville mainstream sources have picked up on the letter, and now the grassroots seems to be carrying the water to parts underserved by biased media sources.

My suggestion - keep the e-mail going. Cut-and-paste it from here and send it to every registered Tennessee voter in your address book. You might want to include this from Sunday's Tennessean regarding remarks made by The Honorable Bill Dunn:

(Corker's) critics claim that he blocked an amendment to the state budget that year that would prohibit the use of state tax dollars on abortions.

"I remember he being mad and thinking I was playing politics with it," said the man who brought him the amendment, state Rep. Bill Dunn.

Corker's opposition surprised Dunn because he figured Sundquist would support such a measure just as he had on the federal level when he was in Congress, said Dunn, a Republican from Knoxville.

Corker's recollection is different.

"I told him I agreed very much with what he wanted to do, but I knew no way the amendment would pass at the 11th hour," Corker said. He suggested to Dunn that he try again the next year.

Bryant doesn't buy that explanation: "I'd like to respond that you're pro-life 24 hours a day, and if you're pro-life, very often the 11th hour is when you have to be strongest."

"Bob Corker's track record is pro-abortion," Harris said. "When he had opportunities to move forward pro-life protections and agendas, he did otherwise."

Tennessee Right to Life and others criticize Corker for saying he is 100 percent pro-life when he supports more exceptions for abortion than his opponents.

People need to know the real Bob Corker. He's not going to let a statewide audience see him exposed during a debate, so it's up to us to inform voters what kind of person he really is.


Weekend Warriors

Saturday was one heck of a day.

511 miles.

23 counties.*

2 Grand Divisions of the State of Tennessee.

Only 3 Van Hilleary signs.

The VOLConWife and I had a great time campaigning for our next U.S. Senator, Ed Bryant, on Saturday. We were able to meet up with Ben Cunningham (leader of Tennessee Tax Revolt), Brian Harris (President of Tennessee Right to Life), and dozens of other political leaders in our state.

The grassroots has been stimulated as we race towards Early Voting. Topics that seemed high on people's minds as we traveled from county to county were Ed's "Statesmen" TV ad, Ed's plans regarding illegal immigration, rumors out of D.C. that Hilleary would exit the race by the start of Early Voting, Bob Corker's lavish buying of key media sources and activists throughout the state, and Bob Corker's immature and unstatesmenlike reaction to being called a "chicken" for ducking out of the debates.

If you ever get the chance to make a campaign swing like this, I highly recommend it. You will instantly harness an appreciation for what a statewide candidate has to do every day of the campaign season.

By the way, does anyone know the relevance of the car pictured above?

*The 23 counties were: Knox, Anderson, Roane, Morgan, Cumberland, Putnam, White, DeKalb, Wilson, Rutherford, Williamson, Cannon, Warren, Grundy, Sequatchie, Bledsoe, Hamilton, Rhea, Meigs, McMinn, Monroe, Loudon, and Blount.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Update on the U.N.'s Assault on the Second Amendment

This report from the NRA-ILA:



With the "U.N. Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects" wrapping up today, here is a review of the past week's events.

Day Five, Friday, June 30: Non-governmental organizations (NGO's) made statements to the meeting. Mary Leigh Blek of the so-called "Million Mom March" made an emotional anti-gun speech to the delegates. Pro-gun groups also made presentations. Japan made an extensive presentation on gun destruction programs. Other countries continued to push the idea of international regulation of ammunition and additional U.N. meetings until at least 2012.

Day Six, Monday, July 3: Day six of the Conference saw innumerable speeches and very little action. The President of the Conference, Ambassador Kariyawasam, from Sri Lanka, released another draft version of the Conference report. The draft again pushes international regulation of ammunition and again proposes U.N. meetings on small arms up to and including 2012. After substantial pressure from NRA, the Conference did not meet on July 4!

Day Seven, Wednesday, July 5: The issue of U.N. regulation of civilian firearms raised its ugly head again on this day. The move was led by Mexico, Colombia, and, of all countries, Canada. Many observers were chagrined that the Canadian delegation would take such an anti-gun stand since there is a new Conservative government in Toronto. Canadian disarmament bureaucrats seemed to be running the delegation. The U.S. held firm on the issue of civilian firearms. The meeting bogged down with little or no resolution of major issues and temporarily adjourned at 6:00 p.m., with an arrangement to come back at 8:00 p.m., and work into the night.

Day Eight, Thursday, July 6: Diplomats continued to battle over key issues as the Conference entered its next to last day. Delegates again agreed to meet in an 8:00 p.m. evening session, with some saying that if agreement could not be reached, the Conference would be deadlocked. The concept of U.N. regulation of civilian firearms seems to refuse to die, even though the U.S. is adamantly holding the line on the issue. The last hours of the Conference were looked upon as the most dangerous time by NRA's team, which closely followed the evening's events.

Day Nine, Friday, July 7: With the Conference ending today, NRA will continue to closely monitor and report on all developments.

UPDATE: More from SayUncle regarding the same topic.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Metro Pulse: The Newspaper for Idiots

In reading the Tennessee Politics Blog, I was pointed to an editorial that stated that Bob Corker (yes, the same Bob Corker who is scared to debate Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary) won the first Knoxville debate.

That's hilarious. I don't see how even the most ardent Corker supporter could write that, but I guess I should take into consideration that this is the Metro Pulse we are talking about and they know liberals.

One thing is for certain - Barry Henderson, the Metro Pulse's senior political guru and one of the panelists at the debate, delivered what had to be one of the worst performances by a panelist in American debating history. I was confused as to if Henderson had never been to a debate, never seen a debate, or didn't know that he was attending a debate. His questions were as broad as a UT lineman's shoulders and so ignorant as to what was occurring in the nation and in this race that you almost had to assume that he had been living in another country for the past two years.

To show off all of the political knowledge concentrated in the editorial brain trust of the Metro Pulse, I give you a quote from the final paragraph of the epic editorial:

"If Bob Corker doesn't win the nomination, it will be because of some other, unforeseen issue that arises before the Aug. 7 primary election."

Uh, what?

August 7th?

Yeah, Barry and other Metro Pulse editors, tell all of your liberal brethren to get out and vote for Bob Corker on August 7th. Of course, by then, Ed Bryant will be the GOP nominee, his supporters having shown up to vote for the election on August 3rd.

Way to disenfranchise the liberal vote, Metro Pulse! You can expect a visit from Jesse Jackson any day now.

While you're at it, Metro Pulse, make sure to tell all of your liberal readers to make sure they vote Democratic on Election Day, December 7th. Vote late, vote often!


Dean: Marriage Outdated, Bigoted

From Family Research Council's briefing Thursday:

Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean today slammed the pro-marriage ruling of New York's Court of Appeals. Dean was "deeply disappointed" in the state's highest court, saying that the 4-2 opinion rested on "outdated and bigoted notions." Judge Robert Smith wrote for the majority in denying the appeal of a lesbian woman who, with her female partner, is raising an 11-year-old boy.

The case had been pressed by the ACLU and Lambda Legal, a homosexual advocacy group. Judge Smith's opinion was forthright: "We do not predict what people will think generations from now, but we believe the present generation should have a chance to decide the issue through its elected representatives."

This is the definition of judicial restraint. It's a textbook case of judges applying the law and deferring to the legislature in the making of any new law. New York has been a "progressive" state since it entered the Union. New York's high court was joined later today by Georgia's Supreme Court, which affirmed the voters' judgment upholding marriage as the union of one man and one woman. These developments are critical.

Just weeks ago, Dean said his party's platform affirmed traditional marriage. Now, he says that position is outdated and bigoted.


Clem KOs Corker

It has been the policy of this site not to link to TeamEgo, as much of what has come from there this year has been fabricated. However, on this occasion, there is a post from State Representative Chris Clem that cannot be overlooked.

Clem lays down the law on Bob Corker's past, including the following:

Corker has consistently used his influence in the past to oppose the conservative positions and the conservative candidates. If you don't believe this article then ask the nearest republican state legislator about Bob Corker. The few items I mentioned are only a few of the hundreds of stories that republicans in Nashville tell about Bob Corker's last 12 years of political involvement.

Clem concludes by encouraging all conservatives to support the Republican nominee because even "Corker is better than Harold Ford." At this point is where I depart from Rep. Clem. I don't see the difference Clem sees. Both Corker and Ford are proven to be adept as the art of being election year conservatives. Does having the "R" or the "D" after one's name matter that much to earn one's vote? I would gladly take John Breaux or Zell Miller over Lincoln Chafee and Olympia Snowe any day.

Also, it is easy to see why voters are becoming distrustful of Republican spinmeisters if conservatives who have done nothing but tell the citizenry how liberal Bob Corker is over the past 16 months turn around and support him in the general election. In my eyes, those people may not be much better than Corker and Ford, because they are being disingenuous to Tennessee voters.

I certainly hope that it doesn't come down to this, that conservatives unite behind Ed Bryant and look forward to a tough race with Harold Ford in the general election. In fact, with Ed's strong support in West Tennessee and surging support amongst the people of Northeast Tennessee, I am confident that this will all be moot come August 4th.

Some people will have to cross the bridge - whether or not to support the Republican nominee - but I don't believe it's going to the Bryant supporters.

MORE: In a post a few days back, A.C. at Volunteer Voters put out a position opposing mine, basically stating that conservatives were more loyal to the party than to their ideology at the end of the day. He's surely right on some counts, and I am surely right on others. The tipping point for a possible Corker general election campaign in November could be which one of us is more right than the other.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Van's Abramoff Connections Still Under Question

Van Hilleary put out a press release last week announcing that his PAC had paid off $18,500 of money taken from Jack Abramoff and his associates.



Now that's interesting. No matter how much I manipulate the figures, I just can't get the numbers to add up to $18,500.

Jay Bush is having the same problems over at Blogging for Bryant.

Anyone care to explain the math to me, because it appears that some money is unaccounted for that may have been paid to Van? I would love to know where that money came from.

Seriously. I would like for someone to explain this to me.

I might even provide my autographed Bob Corker Fraud Watch hardcopy from press guru Andrew Shulman as a reward for someone's hard work.

UPDATE: This may be only one of Van's worries. The scuttlebutt is that Van's Knoxville Field Representative quit the campaign a few weeks back and that Jennifer Coxe was furiously calling random UT College Republicans who had no previous connection to Van's campaign in an attempt to fill the vacancy.


Farragut Parade

Georgiana Vines has a nice write-up of the Town of Farragut's 4th of July Parade in today's Knoxville News-Sentinel. I marched in the parade with Ed Bryant and several of his supporters Tuesday morning, and it was a fun (and hot) experience.

There were a few items that Georgiana missed, though.

For starters, she mentions political candidates such as Jim Andrews throwing items at people on the parade route. Now that's interesting, because on the Town of Farragut's website, in the form that has to be submitted by every parade group that asks to participate (except for Bob Corker and Van Hilleary, of course, because they didn't even bother to register), the following can be read:

"Due to insurance regulations and children’s safety, PLEASE DO NOT THROW ANY ITEMS from your car or float. Throwing of objects, including candy, is STRICTLY PROHIBITED as it may cause a safety hazard. This is to avoid someone being hit or run over by a vehicle, etc. trying to pick up items in the road. Parade participants wishing to distribute items may have individuals walk alongside the entry and HAND OUT ITEMS to the crowd."

Apparently, some people believe that the rules don't apply to them. It is especially troubling considering that Andrews wants to be a judge, where his job would be to enforce the rules. It appears from the story that Mike Moyers, who is running against Andrews for the chancellor's position, obeyed the rules.

Andrews wasn't the only one to violate the rules, but he was the one caught in print. It just adds more doubt as to a candidacy that already was in trouble after his reactions to losing to Tim Hutchison last time around resurfaced during this campaign.

All in all, it was a fun morning, though. I certainly don't want to overshadow that. I have a few other fun stories that I would like to relay, and I will do so if time allows later on.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Independence Day

(My apologies for not posting this earlier today. I was walking with Ed Bryant and several of his supporters in Farragut's Independence Day Parade.)

We often see photographs of the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, D.C. That's all well and good, but it's my opinion that we don't see the photograph of "the real thing" nearly enough.

This from the Family Research Council:


What's So Glorious about the Glorious Fourth?

And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty
II Corinthians 3:17

Everyone should be a patriot. Whatever your country, whoever your people are, you should love your land and love your countrymen. And where does this love of country begin? That great English friend of liberty, Edmund Burke, said it began in the home. "We begin our public affections in our families No cold relation is a zealous citizen." So it's not surprising that we who stress the importance of the family in American life also foster the celebration of patriotism. Many countries have beautiful vistas, grand architecture, and stunning achievements to celebrate. As Christians in America, we have all that and more. We have liberty. The great contests of today are all about liberty. For some, liberty means they can burn a flag or put a virtual picture of an unclothed minor on the Internet. They think liberty means they can end a pregnancy or end a marriage--on demand. We hold to an older view of liberty. We believe that we are all created equal. And we believe that our Creator is the one who endows us with our natural rights. Today, that belief is challenged. In Europe, in Canada, and in America, a different view of human rights is advanced. This view says that our rights are those--and only those--that we as a human community can agree upon.

Thomas Jefferson did not agree with the modern thought of "rights". He said "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time." America's Founders agreed with Jefferson on this. And when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, he was not speaking only as one brilliant young delegate from Virginia. That document, he said, "was to be an _expression of the American mind." We should not be surprised that the author of the Declaration of Independence thought that religious liberty was the first of freedoms, the foundation for all other liberties. That's why, we believe, the First Congress put religious liberty first among the freedoms listed in the First Amendment. Jefferson went further. He said an attack on religious liberty was an attack on liberty itself.

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure, when we have removed their only firm basis--a conviction in the minds of the people that their liberties are the gifts of God, that they are not to be violated but with His wrath?

Daily, we see militant efforts in our schools, in our colleges and universities, in our public media, to remove that conviction from the minds of the people. When an outstanding young high school graduate has her microphone turned off because she might mention Jesus, we see this militant spirit at work. When members of Congress try to ban by law the mention of Jesus' name in our military, that same militant spirit is working its will. Attacking God, they also attack liberty. When we think of the Fourth of July, we remember holidays past. We remember our grandparents and aunts and uncles, many of them now gone to be with the Lord. We celebrate the joys of today and we look forward with hope to the prospects of future "Glorious Fourths." We pray that our family circle will be unbroken here and beyond. It should be a day of family picnics, trips to the lake, and blankets spread out for a concert of "Stars and Stripes Forever" followed by fireworks. Let us celebrate with baseball, hot dogs, apple pie. We should rejoice in the good things God has provided. We should also remember those brave young Americans who are serving around the world to keep us free. I pray that you and yours will have a glorious Fourth of July.

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