SPOTLIGHT

Previewing Tennessee’s Primaries

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) speaks to members of the media at the Capitol October 11, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. On the 11th day of a U.S. Government shutdown, President Barack Obama spoke with Speaker Boehner on the phone and they agreed that they should keep talking.
National Journal
Scott Bland
Aug. 6, 2014, 7:45 a.m.

In many ways, Kan­sas’s primary was a good ex­ample of the cycle as a whole. In­cum­bents like Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) struggled badly but still man­aged to win. Don’t be too sur­prised to see the same phe­nomen­on up and down Ten­ness­ee‘s bal­lot on Thursday — but we could see an­oth­er in­cum­bent (or even two) bite the dust.

— Rep. Scott Des­Jar­lais (R) in TN-04 is the Vo­lun­teer State’s most en­dangered in­cum­bent, but there’s still a chance he finds his way to re­nom­in­a­tion this week, based on three factors. Des­Jar­lais’s scan­dal broke at ex­actly the right time (nearly two years ago, between the 2012 primary and gen­er­al) to give it time to fade in people’s minds; he’s been ag­gress­ive about mak­ing amends; and out­side anti-abor­tion and oth­er con­ser­vat­ive groups haven’t got­ten in­volved. That said, much of the Ten­ness­ee GOP es­tab­lish­ment lined up be­hind state Sen. Jim Tracy (R), a big help to him des­pite Des­Jar­lais’s “ca­reer politi­cian” at­tacks.

— As TN-04 has got­ten late at­ten­tion, TN-03 has gone un­der the radar a bit. But as we’ve writ­ten be­fore, second-term Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R) has nev­er con­sol­id­ated the GOP base, win­ning just 39% in the 2012 GOP primary. We­st­on Wamp (R) has real flaws, but he’s been reas­on­ably well-fun­ded and sol­id on the trail, and Fleischmann’s neg­at­ive clos­ing cam­paign hit­ting Wamp on health care and im­mig­ra­tion (in­clud­ing a pho­toshopped mail­er show­ing Wamp burn­ing a pass­port) speaks for it­self.

— Then there’s the big fish: Sen. Lamar Al­ex­an­der (R), who has nev­er trailed in polls or faced well-fun­ded at­tacks this year and, like Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham (R) and oth­ers be­fore him, suc­cess­fully dis­suaded any tier-one chal­lengers from test­ing him. Still, Gra­ham, Roberts, and oth­ers have got­ten dragged un­der 60% (or in Roberts’s case, 50%) by flawed chal­lengers this year — though Al­ex­an­der’s in-state fa­vor­ab­il­ity has been bet­ter than most, too.

Thursday will be the second of three primary days this week, and in­cum­bents have tough battles in all of them.— Scott Bland

What We're Following See More »
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
2 days ago
THE LATEST
MOB RULE?
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
2 days ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Source:
BIG CHANGE FROM WHEN HE SELF-FINANCED
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Source:
QUESTIONS OVER IMMIGRATION POLICY
Trump Cancels Rallies
4 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Source:
‘STRATEGY AND MESSAGING’
Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
5 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”

Source:
×