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    Sumner County Democratic Party

    TNDP News April 12th

    April 12th, 2018 by Andrew Hoover

    News clips – April 12th, 2018




    Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Internet privacy bill gaining support after Facebook scandal

    In Washington, Arnold Community Council and Rep. Scott DesJarlais focus on Tennessee Aerospace and defense


    NBC News poll: 56% of Tennesseans approve of Trump’s job performance

    Plaza at Cordell Hull to be named after outgoing House Speaker Beth Harwell


    Tennessee governor’s race on pace to be most expensive in state history



    NBC News conducted the extensive surveys of the South in order to capture residents’ attitudes in the fast-changing region of the country.

    Overall, the polls found voters in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia to be optimistic about the economy, amenable to immigration, approving of same-sex marriage and open to paying higher taxes to fund education and infrastructure.

    At the same time, the polls found Southerners to be deeply distrustful of the federal government (only 2 percent said they “just about always” believe Washington will do what’s right), opposed to the removal of Confederate monuments from public areas, and committed to the GOP.


    While Trump’s hardline policies on illegal immigration may appeal to his base, Southerners are in line with the rest of the country on the question of whether undocumented immigrants in the U.S. should be offered a chance to apply for legal status.

    Seven-in-10 adults nationally and 69 percent in the South think migrants should be given a chance at attaining legal status, while 28 percent said they should be deported. And in the states polled individually —Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee at least six-in-10 adults said they favored giving migrants a chance to attain legal status before deportation.


    Less than three years after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, a majority of Southerners — 55 percent — say they support allowing homosexual couples to marry legally.

    That’s below the national rate of 64 percent, but nonetheless a drastic turnaround for a region that strongly opposed gay marriage not long ago.

    Still, other LGBT rights and “religious freedom” issues remain thornier.

    For instance, in Mississippi, 65 percent of adults think business owners should be allowed to refuse wedding services to same-sex couples if it violates the owners’ religious beliefs. Just 30 percent of Mississippians said vendors like caterers and florists should be required by law to provide those services.

    The Supreme Court is currently considering a case looking at that question.


    The polls also challenged conventional wisdom about taxes in conservative states.

    On the heels of teacher protests in conservative West Virginia and Oklahoma, the poll found that a majority of Southerners are willing to pay more in taxes to fund education and infrastructure.

    Interestingly, Southerners were actually slightly more willing to raise taxes on themselves than Americans overall, though the difference was within the margin of error.

    On education, 57 percent of Southerners — including as high as 60 percent in Mississippi — said they would pay higher taxes to improve public schools, compared to 55 percent of all Americans. The numbers were virtually identical when it came to taxes for infrastructure spending, with 62 percent of Mississippians agreeing.


    Across the board, Americans have a fairly dim view of the current state of race relations. Only 15 percent of Southerners, think race relations are improving.

    Meanwhile, a strong majority of Southerners — 61 percent — oppose removing Confederate monuments and statues from public spaces, while just 36 percent support their removal. That margin is even higher in some Deep South states, with 65 percent of Alabamians and Mississippians opposing removal.

    2018 MIDTERMS

    None of these findings, however, suggest the region is ready to throw off the GOP and return to its Democratic roots.

    Only a little more than a third of adults in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee — where Democrats are hoping to contest a Senate seat — said they would consider voting Democratic in this year’s midterm elections.

    Nationally, the picture was reversed. Americans overall said they were more likely to vote Democratic (44 percent) than Republican (38 percent) this year.


    In all the data, one state stood out: Georgia. The economically booming and rapidly diversifying state has long been on Democrats’ over-the-horizon wishlist, and the poll gives them some cause for hope.

    Unlike residents of other Deep South states, Georgians were split about evenly on whether they support Trump and whether they’d vote Democratic or Republican this year.

    Compared to residents in other Southern states, Georgians were more likely to trust the federal government, give undocumented immigrants a chance to stay, support LGBT rights, favor removing Confederate monuments from public places, and pay higher taxes to fund infrastructure and education.

    And while most Southerners were bullish about the economy, a whopping 74 percent of Georgians rated their state’s as good.

    Still, Georgians overwhelmingly approved of their Republican governor and senators, which could be a bad sign for Democrats hoping to win the governor’s mansion this year.


    About four months after his upset election in the deeply conservative state, Sen. Doug Jones remains popular.

    Fifty-two percent of Alabamians approve of Jones, while 40 percent disapprove — giving the Democrat nearly identical ratings to those of the state’s other senator, Republican Richard Shelby.

    Meanwhile, Gov. Kay Ivey, who took over after a sex-and-corruption scandal ousted the previous governor, is overwhelmingly popular, with 75 percent approving of Ivey, a Republican, and only 19 percent disapproving.


    Mississippians are far less optimistic about the state of their economy and government than the rest of the South.

    A plurality of Mississippians rate the economy as “very” or “fairly bad,” while only 36 percent think the Mississippi state government is doing a good job at maintaining roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Those numbers are higher in other Southern states.

    Nonetheless, Mississippians hold individual political leaders in high regard, with strong majorities approving of Gov. Phil Bryant (67 percent), Sen. Roger Wicker (61 percent) and Thad Cochran (59 percent), who resigned from the Senate this month, all Republicans.

    Wicker is also up for re-election, setting up an unusual “double-barreled” Senate race this year that Democrats hope they have an outside shot at contesting.


    Retiring Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican and frequent Trump critic, is barely above water in his home state. Forty-eight percent approve of him, while 47 percent disapprove.

    That’s notably weaker than the support enjoyed by his fellow Republicans, Sen. Lamar Alexander and Gov. Bill Haslam, whose approval ratings outstrip their disapproval ratings by double digits.

    Former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, is running to replace Corker, and was ahead in a recent poll, but his party affiliation will probably be a drag. Just a third of Tennesseans said they would vote for a Democratic candidate this year, while half said they would vote Republican; 14 percent said they wouldn’t vote at all.

    The NBC News|SurveyMonkey polls were conducted March 12-25, 2018, among a national sample of 15,238 adults (+/- 1.1); a regional sample of 4,132 adults who live in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia (+/- 2.4); a sample of 1,486 adults who live in Mississippi (+/-4.6); a sample of 1,498 adults who live in Alabama (+/- 4.5); a sample of 2,209 adults who live in Georgia (+/- 3.4); and a sample of 1,710 adults who live in Tennessee (+/- 4.1).


    Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Internet privacy bill gaining support after Facebook scandal


    U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn said Wednesday that support for her legislation to protect the privacy of internet users is growing in light of a massive privacy breach at Facebook.

    “People are ready to solve this issue and put something on the books, and I think they’re beginning to realize this is a good solution,” the Brentwood Republican said.

    Blackburn’s bill, which she is calling the Browser Act, would put in place consumer privacy protections for internet users.

    Social media websites such as Facebook would be prohibited from sharing a user’s sensitive personal data, such as financial and health information and web-browsing histories, without his or her permission.

    The Federal Trade Commission would be tasked with enforcing the privacy rules.

    Blackburn filed the bill last May, but it has been stuck in a House subcommittee ever since. But interest in the legislation has picked up since the data breach at Facebook, she said.

    At a congressional hearing Wednesday, Blackburn mentioned the legislation to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and asked if he’d be willing to support it. But Zuckerberg indicated he didn’t know much about the bill.

    “I’m not directly familiar with the details of what you just said,” he said.

    “Let’s get familiar with the details,” Blackburn shot back. “We need some rules and regulations. … The Browser Act is 13 pages, so you can easily become familiar with it.”

    Since 2012, Blackburn has received $10,500 in campaign contributions from Facebook employees directly and the political action committee funded by employees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    Congress is reviewing internet privacy after revelations that information from up to 87 million Facebook users was shared with Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm used by the Trump campaign in the 2016 election. The information was shared without users’ knowledge.

    Cambridge Analytica, a U.K. firm, uses the data it collects to create detailed personality profiles of voters to sway them with targeted messages.

    On Wednesday, Zuckerberg returned to Capitol Hill for the second day in a row to answer lawmakers’ questions about the scandal engulfing the social media giant.

    The 33-year-old billionaire told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that federal regulation of Facebook and other internet companies is “inevitable.” But he cautioned lawmakers to be careful that any legislation they craft does not create regulations that are impossible for small startup companies to follow.


    In Washington, Arnold Community Council and Rep. Scott DesJarlais focus on Tennessee Aerospace and defense


    The Arnold Air Force Base Community Council, a group of Tennessee Valley elected officials, military officers and business leaders, visited Congressman Scott DesJarlais in the capital yesterday to support national security programs and local economic development.

    Hypersonic research would help protect the U.S. against adversaries, Council President Bruce Shaw, a retired Air Force officer, said. “The effort would also employ more Tennesseans in high-tech jobs. Arnold Air Force Base is at the center of a nationwide network of military facilities and private companies on the cutting edge of science.”

    “We appreciate the Congressman’s focus on our issues.”

                Rep. DesJarlais (TN-04) is a House Armed Services Committee member. His congressional district lies at the heart of the Aerospace and Defense Technology Corridor including Arnold Air Force Base, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Redstone Arsenal and Fort Campbell. Other military facilities, research universities and related industries call the region home.

    Hypersonic vehicles operate at speeds too fast for adversaries to evade or counter. The technology is still young. Council members underscored the need for improved scientific education and regular federal funding to achieve success.

    At a reception last night that included Tennessee Valley Authority representatives, Rep. DesJarlais took charge of the Congressional Range and Test Center Caucus to create public awareness. “The work they do at Arnold Air Force Base is amazing. Across Middle Tennessee, the private and public sectors are working together to innovate aerospace. The next great invention could happen in our own backyard,” he said.

    “It’s my job in Congress to make sure Middle Tennessee remains a global leader.” The bipartisan caucus will educate members of Congress and propose legislative solutions. Rep. DesJarlais thanked its former chairman Rep. Diane Black (TN-06).


    NBC News poll: 56% of Tennesseans approve of Trump’s job performance

    The majority of Tennesseans approve of the job performance of both President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled state legislature, according to results of a poll released Thursday by NBC News and SurveyMonkey.

    The set of six polls focused on attitudes among residents in Southern states leading up to the 2018 midterms, though it wasn’t conducted specifically on registered voters.

    In addition to SurveyMonkey, which selected a sample of regional users to take the poll, NBC News also partnered with the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies, Vanderbilt University, the University of Mississippi and Mississippi Today to develop it.

    Here’s what the poll found.

    Trump’s approval rating higher in the South

    A majority of adults in Tennessee (56 percent) approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president. That compares with 57 percent in Mississippi, 55 percent in Alabama and 49 percent in Georgia.

    Among all Americans, 43 percent approve of his job performance, while 55 percent disapprove.

    Among Southern states, Tennessee legislature approval soars

    The majority of adults in Tennessee also approve of how the state legislature is doing. In the Volunteer State, that’s 58 percent, while of their respective state legislatures, 53 percent approve in Alabama, 57 percent in Georgia and 56 percent in Mississippi.

    Republicans control both houses in each of those states’ legislatures.

    Half of Tennesseans would vote Republican if midterms held today

    If the 2018 midterms were held today — or last month, rather, when the poll was conducted — half of the adults in Tennessee would vote for Republican candidates. The same goes for residents in Alabama and Mississippi.

    In Tennessee, 33 percent of adults say they would vote for a Democratic candidate in that midterm, while 36 percent would do so in Mississippi and 32 percent in Alabama.

    The South, specifically Tennessee, optimistic about economy

    Compared to 61 percent nationally, 71 percent of Tennesseans rate their state economy as good. In Georgia, 74 percent rated the state economy as such, and 61 percent did so in Alabama.

    In Mississippi, however, 49 percent of respondents rated the state’s economy as bad aginst 47 percent rating it as good.

    Tennessee rates state infrastructure poorly

    Tennesseans’ view of state infrastructure is less rosy.

    Based on the poll, 53 percent of adults believe the Tennessee state government is doing a poor job at maintaining roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

    A majority (55 percent) of Georgia residents, on the other hand, believe their state is doing well at maintaining infrastructure.

    Tennesseans willing to pay higher taxes to improve infrastructure, public schools

    The poll found that Tennessee residents are willing to pay more in taxes to improve lacking infrastructure. While 55 percent of Americans are willing to pay more to improve infrastructure, 58 percent in Tennessee said the same.

    When it comes to education, 59 percent of Tennesseans said they would pay higher taxes to improve public schools in the state.

    Majority in Tennessee favors chance for undocumented immigrants to receive legal status

    While 70 percent of Americans think most undocumented workers in the United States should receive a chance to apply for legal status, that number in Tennessee is 61 percent.

    In Alabama, 60 percent of residents say undocumented immigrants should have a chance at legal status, while 67 percent say so in Georgia and 63 percent in Mississippi.

    Tennessee split on same-sex marriage

    Just under half of Tennesseans — 49 percent — are opposed to same-sex marriage, while 47 percent in the state support it.

    That compares to 51 percent of Georgians supporting same-sex marriage and 45 percent there opposing it, while 52 percent oppose and 42 percent support it in Alabama.

    Plaza at Cordell Hull to be named after outgoing House Speaker Beth Harwell

    Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives voted Wednesday to name the public space by the Cordell Hull building after outgoing House Speaker Beth Harwell.

    Harwell, R-Nashville, is retiring from the legislature, and is currently a candidate for governor.

    The space, which is located beside the building above the legislative parking garage, will be officially called “Beth Harwell Plaza.”

    In addition to the announcement, the legislators gifted Harwell with a rocking chair and several members praised the Speaker’s service.


    Tennessee governor’s race on pace to be most expensive in state history

    With just 16 weeks until the August primary, Tennessee’s top-tier gubernatorial candidates have ramped up their fundraising efforts, which now total more than $33.5 million, according to an analysis of newly filed financial disclosures.

    At the same time, the candidates have collectively spent roughly $14.3 million on their effort to secure their respective party nominations.

    The totals, which include personal investments and loans from the candidates, once again indicate the campaign is well on its way to becoming the most expensive governor’s race in state history.


    Leading the way in terms of fundraising during the latest reporting period — which covers Jan. 16 and March 31 — was Randy Boyd. The Knoxville Republican netted $606,000 in contributions from donors. That total excludes a $2 million contribution he gave to his campaign.

    Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat, received the second-most in contributions from donors, totaling $548,400. Dean did not contribute or loan his campaign money during the latest reporting period.

    Williamson County businessman Bill Lee, who is also seeking the GOP nomination, received $317,100 from donors, while loaning another $3 million to his campaign.

    U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, brought in $294,200 in contributions from donors during the latest reporting period, while boosting her fundraising total by personally donating her campaign $3 million.

    House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, trailed the field of candidates in terms of fundraising, with each raising no money.

    That’s because sitting state lawmakers are prohibited from receiving campaign donations while the legislature is in session.

    The latest fundraising totals show $1.7 million was given to all the candidates from donors — excluding their personal contributions and loans.

    Overall, donors have given about $13.5 million to the five top-tier candidates since the race began. At the same time, the candidates have pumped $20 million into their own campaigns, through loans and personal contributions.

    Cash on hand

    The following is a summary of what each candidate has available to spend (in alphabetical order):

    • Black – $2 million
    • Boyd – $2.9 million
    • Dean – $2 million
    • Fitzhugh – $643,000
    • Harwell – $4.9 million
    • Lee – $6.3 million

    The amount that Harwell has available is the subject of some scrutiny, after she loaned her campaign $3.1 million last year.

    She previously provided the USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee with a tax summary that showed she had about $369,000 in income in 2016, resulting in a complaint being filed with campaign finance officials over the matter.

    Cumulatively, the candidates have $19 million available to spend on their campaigns, although not all of that money can be used for the August primary.


    The candidates spent between $38,000 and $3.7 million on their campaigns during the latest reporting period, for a cumulative total of $7.8 million.

    The flurry of campaign spending came as the top-tier candidates launched a bevy of ads in the early months of the year, including spots that aired around the Super Bowl.

    Boyd led the way, spending $3.7 million — including $1.7 million on TV ads alone — during the latest period. Black spent $2.9 million, followed by Lee’s $736,000 in expenditures.

    Dean’s campaign spent $330,000, Harwell spent $117,000 and Fitzhugh $38,700.

    Harwell is an officer of the political organization, which started in 2006. Until mid-December, Tennesseans for Good State Government was named Harwell PAC.

    Combined spending

    Since the race began, the five top-tier candidates have spent a combined $14.3 million on various campaign expenses.

    More than $20 million was spent on the 2010 race — which was the most expensive contest for governor in state history.

    Spending in that race was only dwarfed by the estimated $34 million spent in the 2006 U.S. Senate race between Bob Corker and Harold Ford Jr. The cost for this year’s open U.S. Senate seat is expected to rival the Corker-Ford election.

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