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.

Andy Cole to Run for House District 82

Andy Cole, the Republican who challenged House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh in 2016, is again seeking to win the House District 82 seat, Humphrey on the Hill reports. Cole is a native of the district, which includes Crockett, Haywood and Lauderdale counties. Fitzhugh has held the seat since 1995 but is now seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of Tennessee.
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2nd Democrat Enters Race to Replace Blackburn

Hickman County native and U.S. Army Green Beret Matt Reel has announced his candidacy for the 7th district U.S. Congressional seat currently occupied by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, the Nashville Post reports. Keel will face former Amazing Race contestant Justin Kanew in the Democratic primary. State Sen. Mark Green, R-Ashland City, and songwriter Lee Thomas Miller are competing for the position on the Republican side. Blackburn is currently running for U.S. Senate.
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Maury County GOP Chair to Run for House District 64

Following the announcement that Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, will not seek reelection, Maury County Republican Chair Scott Cepicky announced he will run for the 64th House district seat, the Tennessee Star reports. In his announcement, Cepicky touted Butt’s endorsement of his campaign, and noted the “professional friendship” they share. Butt will retire from the House after six years in the seat.
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Sheila Butt to Retire from State House

Tennessee state House Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, announced this week that she will not run for reelection in 2018, The Columbia Daily Herald reports. Butt was first elected to the seat in 2010. She said that after her term is complete next year, she will devote her time to her ministry, called “Sisters, Servants and Soldiers.” Butt’s District 64 encompasses most of Maury County, but excludes downtown Columbia and a sliver of the western portion of the county. 
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Former Gov. Phil Bredesen to Run for U.S. Senate

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen will officially enter the race for the U.S. Senate seat that Sen. Bob Corker will be vacating after his term ends in 2018, The Tennessean reports. Bredesen is expected to make the official announcement tomorrow morning. He will first face a fellow Democrat, attorney and veteran James Mackler, in the Aug. 2 primary. If victorious, he will move on to the general election in November. Current candidates on the Republican side include U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher and Dr. Rolando Toyos.

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Former State House Rep. Spivey Enters Race for Senate District 14

A third Republican has thrown his hat into the ring for the Tennessee Senate District 14 special election, triggered by the resignation of Jim Tracy, Humphrey on the Hill reports. Former state Rep. Billy Spivey of Lewisburg today announced his campaign to serve a district that covers Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore and parts of Rutherford counties. Former state Rep. Joe Carr of Lascassas and Shane Reeves of Murfreesboro have already declared their candidacies. The primary election date is set for Jan. 25.

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Chattanooga Businessman to Run for Favors’ Seat

Following the retirement announcement of longtime House of Representatives member JoAnne Favors, Chattanooga businessman Brandon Woodruff has announced his plans to seek the seat in next year’s election, Nooga.com reports. Woodruff is the owner of Brainerd’s Scenic City T’s and is also a licensed sales producer for Allstate Insurance. Earlier this month, former Chattanooga city council member Yusuf Hakeem also declared his intentions to run for the District 28 seat.

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Special Election Dates Set for District 14 Senate Election

Gov. Bill Haslam has authorized a special election to fill the Tennessee State Senate seat recently vacated by Jim Tracy, who resigned to join the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office, The Tennessean reports. The primary for Senate District 14 will be held on Jan. 25, with the general election on March 13. Current candidates in the race include former state Rep. Joe Carr and Murfreesboro businessman Shane Reeves. The district includes Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore and parts of Rutherford Counties.

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Today First Day to Pick Up Petitions to Run in County Primaries

Today is the first day candidates for local office are eligible to pick up petitions to run in the May county primary elections. Petitions are available at county election commission offices. For a list of county election offices, visit the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website. For a calendar of important upcoming election dates, visit the TBA website.
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Tennessee Senate Candidates Respond to Roy Moore Allegations

With Republicans nationally, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step down amid sexual misconduct allegations, Tennessee’s GOP U.S. Senate candidates are speaking up in response. The Tennessean reports that U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, said that she cannot support Moore’s candidacy if the “extremely disturbing” allegations are true, but that “it’s up to the people of Alabama to ultimately decide." Former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher declined to directly address the case, only echoing Blackburn’s statement that it’s “up to Alabama voters.” Current Sen. Lamar Alexander has called for Moore to withdraw, and Sen. Bob Corker has also spoken out against Moore.
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