Government Affairs Update

Follow the TBA's efforts to influence federal and state policy as it fulfills one of the core missions of the association – advocacy for the profession and for our system of justice.

Former Trump Delegate to Run for 2nd District Congressional Seat

A fourth Republican has thrown his hat into the ring to run for the 2nd district U.S. Congressional seat, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Ken Gross, a former delegate for President Donald Trump, will seek the GOP nomination in a crowded field that includes Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, State Rep. Jimmy Matlock and Knoxville businessman Brad Fullington, as well as Joshua Williams, who is running for the Democratic nomination. Gross said that if elected, he will “Make Congress Great Again.” The 2nd Congressional District seat is currently filled by U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan, who will not seek reelection.
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Former Ag Commissioner to Run for Congress

Former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture John Rose has announced he will seek Tennessee’s 6th district congressional seat, currently occupied by gubernatorial candidate Diane Black, the Nashville Post reports. Rose, a Cookeville native and graduate of Vanderbilt Law School, is the president of Boson Software, an information technology training company. He served as commissioner during the Sundquist administration, and also owns one of the state’s oldest working farms, located in Smith County. State Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, and Cookeville blogger Christopher B. Monday have also announced they are running in the Republican primary for Black's seat.
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Rep. Craig Fitzhugh to Run for Governor

Tennessee State House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley) announced his candidacy for governor yesterday, the Tennessean reports, setting the stage for a Democratic primary with former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. Fitzhugh is the CEO and chairman of a small bank chain in his hometown of Ripley. He has represented House District 82 for 23 years. He is politically tied to traditional Democratic constituencies like organized labor and teachers unions, separating him from the more business-centered Dean.
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Former State Sen. Albright Dies at 83

Former Republican state Sen. Ray Albright died on Monday, the Times Free Press reports. He was 83. He won a seat in the Tennessee House in 1968 on a promise to battle pollution, and was elected to the Senate in 1970. Thanks to his sponsorship of a bill that made Chattanooga State into a technical community college, a building on that campus bears his name. "You always knew [that] if Ray was committed to a bill you never had to look over your shoulder to see if he was still there. No matter how rough it got, he never flinched,” said Lt. Gov. Randy McNally.
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Knox Mayor Burchett, State Rep. Matlock to Seek Duncan Seat

After U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan announced this week that he will not seek reelection, Tennessee House Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City) and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett both announced they will run for the position, the Knoxville News Sentinel and WATE report. In announcing, Matlock highlighted his experience and conservative credentials in the General Assembly. Burchett has yet to make a public statement on his candidacy, but has pulled the necessarily paperwork to run.
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Appeals Court Hears Arguments on 2014 Constitutional Amendment Vote

A federal appeals court today heard arguments on whether a 2014 vote on a constitutional ballot initiative should be recounted or voided entirely, the Tennessean reports. The dispute is rooted in two interpretations of a single sentence added to the Tennessee constitution in 1953. That sentence mandates a different vote counting method than the simple majority vote required for candidates for office. The decision by the court could throw into question the abortion measure known as Amendment 1, as well as all abortion laws enacted in Tennessee since its passage three years ago removed the right to an abortion from the state’s constitution.
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U.S. Rep. Diane Black to Run for Governor

U.S. Rep. Diane Black announced her candidacy for governor today, the Tennessean reports. Black is from Sumner County and is currently in her fourth term representing Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. Black is considered a front-runner, as she has the highest name recognition of the leading Republican candidates. She will face off against entrepreneur Randy Boyd, businessman Bill Lee, Rep. Beth Harwell and Sen. Mae Beavers in the Republican primary in August 2018. The only Democrat to have officially announced plans to run is former Nashville mayor Karl Dean.
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Duncan Will Not Seek Re-election

Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., the longest-serving Tennessean in Congress, will not seek re-election next year, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. The move brings to a close the career of one of the state’s most enduring officeholders and ending a family political dynasty that has occupied the East Tennessee congressional seat for half a century. It also came just a few hours after Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said he would disclose his own political plans at an event on Saturday. Burchett is expected to run for Duncan’s seat.

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Nashville Doctor to Run for Harwell’s House Seat

Dermatologist Brent Moody has announced his candidacy for the Tennessee House seat in district 56 which is currently held by Speaker Beth Harwell, the Nashville Post reports. Moody is a skin cancer surgeon who currently serves as chair of the Tennessee Medical Association's PAC, but will step down from that position in order to run. He has named Bradley lawyer Austin McMullen as his treasurer.
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5 Emerge as Potential Candidates to Replace Harwell as Speaker

With Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell running for governor in 2018, five lawmakers have emerged as potential replacements for her as the leader of the House Republicans, The Tennessean reports. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga), Assistant Majority Leader David Hawk (R-Greeneville) and Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) have all confirmed that they will seek the gavel next year. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) has said he will consider the position, while Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City), who ran for speaker in 2016, said it’s too soon to make a decision.
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