Kernell Leaves 'Dream Job' After 38 Years

Rep. Mike Kernell talks with the Memphis Daily News about his 38 years in the House, calling it "a dream job." Kernell lost in last week's primary to fellow Democratic incumbent G.A. Hardaway. “We just flat ran out of money,” Kernell said. The District 93 race was where local election officials first acknowledged voters received incorrect ballots. By some estimates several hundred votes were affected. But with Hardaway's unofficial margin exceeding 1,000 votes, Kernell said he is unlikely to challenge the result.

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Former Sen. Ford Out of Prison This Month

Former state senator John Ford should be released from prison later this month after more than four years behind bars, his brother, Edmund Ford Sr., said today. The Memphis Democrat reported to prison on April 28, 2008, following a bribery conviction. He is expected to be released to a halfway house in less than two weeks, his brother said. Read more in the Commercial Appeal

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Casada to Support Harwell for Speaker

Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, told the Associated Press that he won't make another run for Speaker of the House despite the defeat of seven Republican House incumbents in last week's primary races. "Beth's done a good job and I will be supporting Beth for speaker next year," Casada said. Casada was considered the favorite for the speakership after Republicans picked up 14 seats in the 99-member chamber in 2010. But Harwell, a former professor and state Republican Party chairwoman, won the caucus nomination in a secret ballot. The News Sentinel reports

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Commission Asks Legislators for All Correspondence on School Issue

Lawyers handling the Shelby County Commission's municipal school-district lawsuit have asked the entire Tennessee legislature for "all communications or letters," including e-mail, regarding the consolidation of the city and county schools and the creation of new municipal school districts. The request by lawyers from the Baker Donelson law firm includes communications from "any citizen, constituents, residents or anyone else," legislative administrators said today. The request is not a subpoena but legislative officials said they are complying and sent a letter Friday to all 132 members of the General Assembly and their aides asking them if they had anything they felt fell under the scope of the request. The Commercial Appeal has more

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Election a 'Mixed Bag' for Challengers

Thursday's state legislative primary results likely signal more infighting among Republicans in the next two-year legislative term, particularly between the GOP's pro-business and tea party wings in the House, the Commercial Appeal argues. The paper calls the results "a mixed bag" for more conservative challengers.  Read its election follow-up

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Mallicote May Contest Primary Results

Tennessee 2nd House District challenger Ben Mallicote said today he hasn’t ruled out contesting his narrow loss to incumbent state Rep. Tony Shipley in the Republican primary by 11 votes, the Times-News reports. Tennessee law does not permit a recount, only a “contest” which may only be filed by a candidate or the incumbent office holder, according to Sullivan County Elections Administrator Jason Booher.

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Gray to Face Williams; Phillip North is Nominee

Primary election coverage in Friday's issue of TBA Today contained two inaccuracies. Thomas Gray in the 4th District will face former Speaker and Independent candidate Kent Williams. The story also incorrectly identified Phillip North, Democratic nominee in the substantially redrawn Senate District 20 in Nashville. We regret the errors. Review the corrected results

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More Lawyers in House Assured; Senate Suffers from Retirements

With results in a couple of races still uncertain, one thing is clear about the next General Assembly: there will be more lawyers in the House. In the Senate, retirements left a big gap to fill.

In the House, there will be at least five lawyers and possibly as many as nine when the legislature returns in January. Four incumbents -- Craig Fitzhugh, Mike Stewart, Vance Dennis and John Mark Windle -- are expected to return after receiving their party's nod. Linda Elam is the only incumbent lawyer who did not qualify to return.

Mike Carter will represent Ooltewah after claiming the Republican nomination there and Jeremy Durham will represent a portion of Williamson. Neither face Democratic opposition. In the 4th District, Thomas Gray was unopposed in the Republican primary and has no Democratic opponent. He will, however, face former Speaker and Independent candidate Kent Williams in the general election.

One race between Steven Glaser and William Lambert will feature a faceoff between two lawyers assuring a sixth seat. Sevierville lawyer Andrew Farmer is the Republican nominee in the heavily Republican 3rd District.

In the Senate, three incumbent Republican lawyer lawmakers -- Doug Overbey, Ken Yager and Mark Norris -- should return, along with Democratic Leader Jim Kyle, after each won their party races. With the retirement of Mike Faulk, Andy Berke, Roy Herron and Joe Haynes, the number of lawyers in the upper chamber will decline by at least one. Lawyer candidates Tim Barnes, John Stephens and Phillip North all face what are expected to be hard fought fall campaigns to keep the body close to what it was in 2012.

Read complete legislative results and other election news now

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Five State Democrat Incumbents Lose

Among Democrats in the state House, at least four incumbents were unseated, mostly due to redistricting that pitted incumbents against each other. In Chattanooga, Rep. JoAnn Favors defeated Rep. Tommie Brown. In Memphis, Rep. John DeBerry defeated Rep. Jeanne Richardson and Rep. G.A. Hardaway defeated Rep. Mike Kernell. And in Nashville, Rep. Mary Pruitt defeated by Harold Love Jr. by just 40 votes. In the Senate, Jim Kyle defeated colleague Beverly Marrero. Humphrey on the Hill has a wrap-up

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Maggart, Other House GOP Incumbents Defeated

In the 24 races where Republican state lawmakers were facing challenges, at least seven incumbents were defeated. They included two members of the House leadership: Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart of Hendersonville, who was beaten by challenger Courtney Rogers, and Education Committee Chairman Richard Montgomery of Sevierville, who was narrowly defeated by Dale Carr. Other Republican incumbents defeated were Jim Cobb, of Spring City, who was bested by Dayton businessman Ron Travis; Linda Elam of Mt. Juliet, who lost to former Rep. Susan Lynn; Dale Ford of Jonesborough, who was defeated by James "Micah" Van Huss; Julia Hurley of Lenoir City, who was defeated by Kent Calfee of Kingston; and Don Miller of Morristown, who was defeated by Tilman Goins. Humphrey on the Hill has a wrap-up.

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Niceley Wins Faulk’s Senate Seat

Former State Rep. Frank Niceley prevailed over three others to capture the Republican nomination for the newly renumbered 8th Senatorial District. The seat is being vacated by State Sen. Mike Faulk, who opted not to seek re-election earlier this year. There is no Democratic candidate on the November general election ballot, which means Niceley should cruise to victory in November. The Rogersville Review and the Times News have more.

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Lawyers See Mixed Success in Legislative Races

Of the 25 lawyers running for 20 seats seats in the Tennessee General Assembly, several will be moving on to the fall general election. Here are results of how they fared in Thursday's primary elections.

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AG: OK to Deny Politicians Alternative Sentencing

A new Tennessee law that holds public officials more accountable for crimes related to their official position or duties is constitutional according to Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper. The law, passed by the legislature earlier this year makes elected or appointed officials ineligible for pre-trial diversion for offenses committed in their official capacity or duties of office. The opinion, requested by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, found that diversion would be considered “truly extraordinary relief” and not a “fundamental right.” The Times Free Press has more. Download the opinion

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Judicial Elections, Party Primaries on Thursday's Ballot

Voters in Tennessee will go to the polls Thursday to vote on judicial races and party primaries for general assembly seats. A report compiled by the Tennessee Bar Association shows that while the number of lawyers serving in the legislature has declined over the last several years, more lawyers are candidates this year than in the last two election cycles. See a list of the 25 lawyers running for election this year. In related news, the Secretary of State’s office recently announced that 326,876 Tennesseans voted early – shattering the previous participation record set in 2008. The office also reminds voters that they now must present an ID containing their name and photograph to cast a ballot. For information about polling places or voting requirements visit or call (877) 850-4959.

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Rogers Wants Apology for Maggart Campaign Tactic

In the race for State House District 45, Rep. Debra Maggart included opponent Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers' unlisted home number in campaign materials -- and that has Rogers calling for an apology after receiving a call claiming the devil is going to get her and her family. Maggart defends publicizing the number, saying it was used on campaign documents that were filed with the state and therefore public record. Maggart sent out an email titled, "Why is Courtney Rogers lying to you," defending her stance on gun rights and ending with a phone number for Rogers. WSMV has the story

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Hargett Calls for Investigation in Shelby Election

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett formally asked State Comptroller Justin Wilson on Friday to audit the administration of the Shelby County Election Commission and investigate election procedures and returns, where it is estimated that about 1,000 voters got the wrong ballot. State Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville and Tennessee Democratic Party chairman Chip Forrester of Nashville called separately Thursday for a state review of election results in the county, the Memphis Daily Journal reports. “This is not a witch hunt. This is not finger pointing,” Norris said. “We need to know the process works.” Forrester called for the review because he said Republican political leaders “have failed over and over again to protect our voting rights.”

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Record Early Voting Turnout; Problems Surface in Shelby

More than 220,000 Tennesseans have voted early or absentee by mail for the Aug. 2 election, but the Tennessee Democratic Party called for an investigation into early voting statewide amid evidence that more than 1,000 people in Shelby County were given the wrong ballots. A Memphis blogger and candidate for the Shelby County Election Commission turned up evidence this week that hundreds of voters in Shelby County were erroneously given ballots for a neighboring district.

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TBI Investigates Rhea County Voting Issues

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed Wednesday it has launched a probe into whether Rhea County election officials illegally stopped several individuals from voting in the 31st House District Republican primary. The county election administrator said she and other officials did nothing wrong when they blocked known Democrats from voting in the primary, suspecting an orchestrated campaign for crossover voting in the race. The TBI investigation comes at the request of District Attorney General Mike Taylor. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Tennessee law provides an "open primary" system but allows officials to exclude a voter if the person is “deemed not to be a ‘bona fide’ member of the party.”

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Candidate Won't Be Punished for Contempt if She Cooperates

Lou Ann Zelenik may not have to face a contempt of court citation if she testifies in a state senator's lawsuit before Aug. 8. The ruling came down Monday from Wilson County Judge C.K. Smith who said in the order he's "not inclined to punish" the Republican Congressional candidate if she were to give her deposition by the August date. Zelenik was accused last week of criminal contempt for not appearing for a July 12 court deposition. She was subpoenaed in an ongoing lawsuit brought by State Senator Mae Beavers and her husband Jerry against a Macon County newspaper. WKRN reports

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Zelenik Faces Contempt Charge

Republican congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik -– who is seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Diane Black -– is facing a contempt charge after not showing up for a deposition. Earlier this month, Zelenik was subpoenaed to give a deposition in a case involving State Rep. Mae Beavers and the Macon County Chronicle. The lawyer who issued the subpoena says Zelenik cancelled at the last minute, saying she was too busy campaigning. Zelenik’s lawyer, however, says the postponement was agreed upon. A hearing on the charges was set for September. WSMV reports

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Interim Judge Ends Tenure Early

Davidson County General Sessions Judge Mike Jameson has stepped down from the bench, taking an unpaid leave of absence through the Aug. 2 election to assist his former law partner Phillip North in his bid for the state Senate. Jameson lost to Rachel Bell in March primary, and although he pledged to serve through August, he now says his allegiance is with his former colleague. Read more in The Tennessean

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Additional Lawyer Candidates Identified

Following publication of a story in yesterday’s issue of TBA Today, two additional lawyers running for public office have been identified. They are state Sen. Tim Barnes of Adams, who is seeking reelection in the 22nd District, and Bristol lawyer Thomas M. Gray III, who is seeking the District 4 House seat currently occupied by Rep. Kent Williams. That brings to 24 the number of lawyers running for legislative office this year. See the full list

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TBA Report: More Lawyers Running for Legislature

A report compiled by the Tennessee Bar Association shows that while the number of lawyers serving in the legislature has declined over the last several years, more lawyers are candidates for the General Assembly this year than in the last two election cycles. The report shows that 25 lawyers are running for 20 seats. In two districts, lawyers are pitted against each other in the primary or will likely face off in the general election. It remains to be seen whether, with the retirement of several lawyer lawmakers, the actual number of lawyers in the General Assembly will increase. See a full list of candidates with links to learn more about their campaigns.

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More Lawyers Running for Legislature

A report compiled by the Tennessee Bar Association shows that while the number of lawyers serving in the legislature has declined over the last several years, more lawyers are candidates for the General Assembly this year than in the last two election cycles.

The report shows that 25 lawyers are running for 20 seats. In two districts, lawyers are pitted against each other in the primary or will likely face off in the general election. It remains to be seen whether, with the retirement of several lawyer lawmakers, the actual number of lawyers in the General Assembly will increase.

Tennessee State Senate

Office Sought Candidate Website
District 2 Doug Overbey
District 12 Ken Yager
District 16 Stevie Ray Roller  
District 16 Justin Walling
District 20 Phillip North
District 22 Tim Barnes
District 24 John Stevens
District 30 Jim Kyle
District 32 Mark Norris

Tennessee House of Representatives

Office Sought Candidate Website
District 2 Ben Mallicote
District 5 Duncan Cave
District 4 Thomas Gray
District 5 Bradley Mercer  
District 17 Andrew Farmer  
District 29 Mike Carter  
District 41 John Mark Windle  
District 44 William Lamberth
District 44 Steven Glaser  
District 52 Michael Stewart
District 57 Linda Elam
District 65 Jeremy Durham
District 65 Kenny Young
District 66 Lee Harrell  
District 71 Vance Dennis
District 82 Craig Fitzhugh

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Harwell’s COS Moving to Industry Job

Gregory Gleaves, chief of staff to Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell and former executive director of the Tennessee GOP, will leave government service next month to join the public relations firm of Hall Strategies. Beginning Aug. 6, Gleaves will lead the firm's campaign practice as director of grassroots campaigns. The Knoxville News Sentinel has more

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