Monthly Archives: July, 2016

Make him spend it all, Congressman!

Starrett doubles down with Mummy and Daddy’s trust fund.

Also doubles down on his “employment” claim.

Exposing a candidate for being such a fraud can be really tiresome, but after this Thursday perhaps we won’t have to waste our incredibly valuable time focusing on the Dilettante from Del Rey, the Poser from Pacific Palisades, the Hoser from Hollywood, Mr. California, AKA Grant Starrett.

But the Trust Fund Baby Who Would Be Congressman keeps stepping in it, so we keep drawing our readers’ (both of ’em) attention to his running disaster of a campaign narrative.

Less than 24 hours after Rocky Top blew the whistle on Grant Starrett’s phony claims of employment, which included the complete absence of any company named Lion Real Estate filed with the Secretary of State, someone (we are assuming it was Grant) filed a company with the name Lion Real Estate with the SOS office. They used an attorney in Chattanooga and — here’s where it gets weird — the filer gave a mailing address for the company as somewhere in Astoria, NY (New York?!).  An alert Rocky Top Tipster ( looked up the address. There is someone named David J. Collins listed at that address and who, until fairly recently, lived in Chattanooga.  Here is a photo of that address:

Astoria photo

Yeah, that doesn’t look like anyplace we’ve every seen in Murfreesboro.  Dunlap, maybe, but not Murfreesboro.

Then yet another RTP tipster (these guys are everywhere) sent us this Facebook message exchange between a woman who must have been questioning Grant on his bogus resume.  We publish it here (with the woman’s name redacted) for your enjoyment:

Starrett facebook post

So here are a couple of highlights from this message from Grant:

  1.  He is asking the woman to go off-line and send him her “private message with your phone number.” — Isn’t this the sort of thing that got Jeremy Durham in so much trouble?
  2. He said he doesn’t have “any idea” who did this filing.  Why do we have a really hard time believing that?
  3. He said the Lion Real Estate that he works for is registered in Delaware.  Nice try there, Grant. Half the freaking corporations in  the country are registered in Delaware.  Why don’t you just admit Lion Real Estate’s headquarters and only real office is in Beverly hills, CA?
  4. Starrett has changed his job description yet AGAIN.  Old job title:  Exec. Vice President and Special Counsel.  New job title:  Director of Research.  What — did he get demoted?

Is all this just a coincidence?  Oh, puhleeeze.  This would be one of the greatest political coincidences since Ted Cruz’ father posed for a photo with Lee Harvey Oswald.

Once again, we will ask Mr. Starrett a very simple question:  What is the physical address of your “real estate office” in Murfreesboro?  Got a phone number? An email address? Hell, we’ll settle for an emery board or a ballpoint pen with the name and address printed on it.  Now that we know the ubiquitous Lion Real Estate has addresses in Beverly Hills and possibly Astoria, NY, it would be nice to know where you hung your shingle in Murfreesboro.  We’ll try not to hold our breath.

It was revealed just today that Starrett also doubled down on his personal contributions to his campaign, dumping another $200,000 from the ol’ family trust fund for the second time in three weeks.

They say money can’t buy you love.  Perhaps Grant Starrett is also about to learn it can’t buy you a congressional seat either.

You ain’t from here, boy.  And all the gold in California won’t change that fact.

The Obama 3

GOP Obama edited 3Front group — run by Obama operatives and directed by Haslam & Co. — has spent over $233,000 in handful of legislative races against conservative Republicans. 

It appears Haslam and his cronies have made good on his promise to punish Republicans who do not get in line with the governor’s liberal agenda.  That they are doing it through an Obama front group shows you just how slimy they truly are.

Rocky Top previously exposed the Portland, OR-based Stand for Children (SFC) independent expenditure committee as being a front group for Haslam, Harwell and other establishment types to funnel money into races against conservative Republicans they don’t like.  After their debacle LINK of the AdvanceTN PAC back in the 2014 primary, you would think they would have learned their lesson.  And you would be wrong.

This time around Haslam & Co. have merely readjusted their fig leaf and are using the Stand for Children PAC to do what they do not have the courage to do up front. They also have a regular PAC that has added cold hard cash to their effort. But further research by RTP reveals that their choices in front groups are particularly outrageous, considering who runs the Stand for Children.  Just how many Obama-crazies work for Stand for Children?  Below is a list of Obama connections by the senior staff of SFC, gleaned from their resumes posted on their website.  This removes all doubt about whether this is an Obama group that is being used by Haslam and his allies.

The Obama Connection at Stand for Children (from their websites):

  • Obama campaign aide, 2007-2008
  • Obama White House liaison 2009-2013
  • Memphis community organizers who worked for Obama election and re-election.
  • Camp Obama 2007-2012
  • Field Director for Obama 2012
  • Organizing for America 2013
  • Rock the Vote 2012
  • Common Cause field staff
  • Aide to Sen. John Kerry
  • Obama campaign staff 2012

Stand for Children is so in the tank for liberals and Obama that some of them probably have “Hope & Change” tattooed on their butts.

There is one, lonely Republican listed as working for Stand for Children and guess who his immediate past employer was:  Bill Haslam.

So that is why we present to you today the three candidates who have welcomed the hundreds of thousands of dollars from a liberal Obama PAC deigned to defeat their conservative Republican opponents in next week’s primary.  Not a single one of these faux Republicans have uttered a single word against the Obama PAC helping in their race.  Not one.  Silence is confirmation, eh?

William “Willie” Lockhart.

Lockhart has been the recipient of over $29,500 from the Obama/Haslam, SFC PACs.  Willie was recruited by his old boss Joe McCord, the clerk of the House and a Beth Harwell toady. Lockhart appears to be using the Grant Starrett tactic of moving into a district then running for office just months later.  The Obama PAC has paid for eleven mailers in the district (including 9 pieces that attack Rep. Judd Matheny).  Willie is being actively promoted by local Nissan/Toyota dealer, John Roberts, a reliable establishment political donor who has his nose so far up the governor’s bum it will have to be surgically removed when Haslam leaves office.

Beth Cox.

The Obama PAC is doing mailings for Cox, attacking Rep. Courtney Rogers, spending $54,600 to date. Rarely has there been a more shining example of an establishment suck- up than Beth Cox.  Cox farmed out her campaign to defeated/disgraced Rep. Debra “Mad Dog” Maggart, LINK who now works for a Democrat lobbying firm.  Her brain trust also includes Melissa Gay, a state executive committee member who attended last week’s convention as a Trump delegate, even though she openly opposed Trump in the primary. LINK

Christy Sigler.

Stand for Children has spent and astonishing $85,600 trying to win the open seat formerly held by Rep. Rick Womick. That amount is more than triple the amount raised by Sigler, their favored candidate.  Sigler is the daughter of establishment SEC member and Haslam ally Hobart Rice of Morristown.  At a Christmas party for the state executive committee last year, Hobart was heard to brag that Haslam told him he would spend $100,000 to get Sigler elected.

The Obama PAC reportedly placed over $47,000 in television and radio advertising alone in addition to mailings to promote Sigler and attack her opponent, Tim Rudd, who is a longtime ally of the retiring Rep. Rick Womick.

In addition to the above, The Haslam.Obama.SFC PAC has spent over $80,000 in polling, much of which is suspected to be notorious push polling meant to smear conservative Republicans. RTP has also learned that there are several other races where the Obama/Haslam PAC effort is trying to defeat conservative Republicans, although the pre-primary report has only some of the expenditures:

  • Charles Sargent vs. Steve Gawrys – mailings. Amount unknown.
  • Steve Dickerson vs. – $16,168 in mailings and cash contributions for Dickerson.
  • Ron Gant (Rep. Lee Wilburn’s old seat) — $8,138.
  • Sam Whitson vs. Jeremy Durham – even though Durham suspended/ended his campaign, that hasn’t kept Haslam/Obama PAC from continuing to spend over $25,700 in the race so far.  Talk about beating a dead horse.
  • $18,497 to Chad Keen, running in Jon Lundberg’s open seat.

This astonishing display of Haslam, Harwell, et al trying to bully conservatives into silence through a huge expenditure of money may indeed defeat some of these candidates.  But if it ends up like the butt-whippin’ the establishment received in the 2014 primary – where they ended up with a net loss of one seat for the hundreds of thousands they spent attacking conservatives — it could cost Harwell her job and Haslam his agenda.

The Grant Starrett Fairy Tale Continues…

tinkerbellLess than 24 hours after Rocky Top blew the whistle on Grant Starrett’s fake employment, Starrett appears to have filed a business with the Secretary of State with the name Lion Real Estate.

This morning radio host Michael DelGiorno revealed that Grant Starrett has tried to cover his lie, but only compounded it in the process.

[The pertinent documents are below.  Special thanks to yet another loyal RTP Tipster for the info.]

We always knew Grant was a carpet-bagging dilettante from California.  We also knew Grant graduated from Stanford University in California, and we thought you had to be smart to graduate from there.

But what Grant apparently did is so incredibly stupid on so many levels.  First, he actually seems to think that running out and filing the name of his fictitious company (Lion Real Estate of Murfreesboro, TN) would actually cover up the fact that he has been lying to the public and the news media for the last 17 months.  All this will do is draw attention to his lie.  Maybe they offer a graduate course at Stanford called “How not to be Unsmart” (apologies to Dan Quayle).  Grant should sign up for it next semester and use some of his family’s trust fund to pay for the tuition.

But the stupidity doesn’t in there.  Oh, no.  In making his filing, “Lion Real Estate” used a Chattanooga Law firm (instead of using a lawyer in the 4th District).  They also used a mailing address in Astoria, NY (not even in the state).

Come to think of it, isn’t Grant supposed to be the lawyer for Lion Real Estate?  Weren’t they paying him with a big campaign contribution – er – salary to be their Special Legal Counsel?  Have you reported the $45,000 you got  “working” for a fictitious company all during your campaign to the Federal Election Commission yet?  Don’t you think you should?  But good luck with that —  I hear they don’t much care for backdated documents meant to cover a candidates’ ass after the fact.

And who’s doing your personal financial disclosures — Bob Corker?

You may have a few million dollars that Mummy and Daddy gave you to run for Congress, Grant, but you are definitely not ready for the big time.


starrett filing #1






Starret filing #2

Is that “LION” or is it “LYIN’ Real Estate,” Grant?

pants on fire 2After RTP exposed Grant Starrett earlier for having what appears to be a phony job, conservative radio host Michael DelGiorno today poured gasoline on Grant’s already-flaming pants.

If Starrett wants to put an end to the speculation that he is faking his resume, he can answer a couple of simple questions:

Let’s say we wanted to send a letter to you Grant, in your office and in your capacity as the “Special Counsel and Executive Vice President of Lion Real Estate in Murfreesboro, TN.”  Exactly WHERE would we send that letter, Grant?  What is the physical address of Lion Real Estate in Murfreesboro or anywhere else in Tennessee?  Your home address doesn’t count.

But hey, we’re not picky.  Maybe you could give us Lion Real Estate’s Murfreesboro phone number?  Or how about a Tennessee website?  Hell, we’ll even settle for an email address (just so long as it’s one you didn’t create since this morning).

The RTP crew has sent our tipsters all over Murfreesboro looking for real estate signs that say Lion Real Estate.  So far, no luck.  Does Lion Real Estate even OWN a piece of property in Murfreesboro, Grant?  RTP even had a Realtor buddy look up any listings for Lion Real Estate on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  He didn’t find jack squat either.

Yeah, It’s looking more and more like LYIN’ Real Estate is the proper name for Grant Starrett’s “employer.”

Time to change your pants, Grant.

Grant Starrett’s Employment is a Fairy Tale.

### Yet Another RTP Exclusive ###

tinkerbellStarrett claim to be a Murfreesboro “real estate executive” looks like a total fabrication.

  • Says he works for a “Murfreesboro real estate company.”

  • His “employment” is apparently a cover story created with the assistance of some of his father’s Beverly Hills business associates.

  • Has never worked in the 4th district or the state of Tennessee.

  • Media giving him a pass?

Grant Starrett is faking it.  He’s a phony.  He is making it up.  And he is doing so on the most basic part of his resume — his employment.  Starrett’s past and current professional employment is believed to be a gross exaggeration, if not an outright fiction, and RTP has the story:

Starrett has repeatedly said in interviews and publications that he is the “Vice President and Special Counsel” of something called “Lion Real Estate Group of Murfreesboro.”  Lion Real Estate of Murfreesboro is believed to be a phony company accompanied by a phony title designed to make it look like Starrett has actual employment that requires actual work.  RTP was tipped to the basics of this story, and our crew has been unable to find any physical or mailing address, website or phone listing for a “Lion Real Estate Group” or variant of the name in Murfreesboro or in the state of Tennessee.   We could not find any listing with the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office for any LLC or corporation listing, past, active or inactive, for any relevant company containing the name Lion Real Estate or Starrett.  An initial search has also failed to turn up any local tax filings or registration for Lion Real Estate.  There is no listing with the Tennessee Real Estate Commission for either Starrett or Lion Real Estate Group (although Tennessee allows attorneys to sell real estate without a real estate license, it does not appear Starrett has ever been involved in any real estate transactions, other than the purchase of his personal home in Murfreesboro a year ago).

In short, Starrett’s claim that he is some kind of “real estate executive” seems to be complete crap.

There is no record Starrett has ever had a “real” job.  Because of his thin resume, he feels compelled to take what are obviously internships (some reflected by his parents’ large political contributions) and conflate them to appear to be professional positions.  Other than a 5-month stint as a “coalitions coordinator” for the 2012 Mitt Romney campaign, Starrett has never had a full time job that lasted for more than 2-3 months, usually over the summer.  Within the exception of his current claimed employment, he has never worked for a private business of any kind.

This is not the first time Starrett has tried to invent a position and title out of whole cloth.  In January 2013, Starrett, along with another attorney named J. Ammon Smartt, organized Tennesseans for Judicial Accountability, a 501(c)4.  Starrett listed himself as President and Founder.  It was created to try to influence the 2014 state Supreme Court retention elections.  Other than an embarrassing interview with Phil Williams (see link), the organization did not appear to be a major player in the judicial recall effort.  Records show that Starrett was not paid for any work.  It disbanded in December of 2014.

There is a Lion Real Estate Group.  But it has an address on Wilshire Blvd., in Beverly Hills, CA (310-526-3103).  Founded in 2007, the company owns and manages apartment complexes in the LA area. The co-founder and owner of that company is Jeff Weller, who appears to have a previous business link to Starrett’s father.  The company’s message recording and office directory offers 13 extensions to various employees, including Weller, but no mention of Starrett.  Weller and his partner have both given the maximum contribution to Starrett.  It appears Starrett and his father’s California friends created a made-up position and a faux Tennessee company to provide Starrett the political cover he felt he needed to establish credibility and a link to the district he moved to just last year.  Although Lion Real Estate’s only office is in California, and Starrett says he is “vice-president and special counsel” of the company, he is not a member of the California Bar.

This raises another serious question.  In Starrett’s financial disclosure statements, he said he has collected around $45,000 over the last two years from Lion Real Estate (in addition to undisclosed sums from this parents private trust).   Since Weller and his partner have both maxed out in contributions to Starrett, are they funneling money to him illegally by paying him a salary for “pretend” work?  If Starrett cannot quickly provide proof of work for that income, it could be a violation of Federal campaign finance laws designed to prevent “laundering” of contributions by pretending to hire candidates and paying them salaries or consulting fees for no actual work.  Despite his “employment” by Lion Real Estate in California, Starrett is not a member of the California bar.

It's okay, Grant -- Kim Kardashian doesn't have a real job either.

It’s okay, Grant — Kim Kardashian doesn’t have a real job either.


“Mr. California’s” job credentials appear as fake as a Kardashian.  Of course, the Kardashians and Starrett did grow up in the same neighborhood, so ……







[Editor’s note:  Our excellent tipster who first brought this to our attention said he had tried to interest newspapers in the story, but that “nothing happened.”  Let’s see if a more enterprising journalist would like to ask some serious questions of Mr. Starrett.  To help him or her along, here are some links of interest:]

“Starrett works ‘at Lion Real Estate Group in Los Angeles’”

Secretary of State link to search registered companies:

Address and phone for Lion Real Estate Group in Los Angeles:

600 Wilshire Blvd #302, Los Angeles, CA 90017

(310) 526-3103  (note: Must call outside normal business hours to get directory recording)

Starrett Financial Disclosure statements:


[Note:  There is another Lion Real Estate company in Texas, but it appears to have no connection to the one California.]


“News of the Weird.”

Maggart and Gay running campaign against Rep. Rodgers?

Debra Maggart

RTP received a tip for what all intent and purposes appears to be from the email account of Beth Cox, the candidate recruited by the establishment GOP types (i.e., Haslam, Harwell) to run against conservative Rep. Courtney Rodgers in the August GOP primary.

But when we opened the attachments and read the contents we were dumbfounded.  Surely, we thought, this had to be someone hacking Cox’s email account.  Why would anyone in their right mind send this to Rocky Top and not expect the butt whippin’ we are about to deliver?  Of course, there could be other reasons why Beth Cox sent this to us:

  1. She was drunk.
  2. She thought it might impress Paul Goode.
  3. She meant to send her personal phone number to Jeremy Durham.
  4. She was drunk.

It begins with a suggestion from state GOP executive committee member, Melissa Gay.  It looks legit, but you readers of Rocky Top (both of you) decide for yourselves if Beth Cox really did send this to us:

beth cox screenshot

Regular readers of Rocky Top will remember Ms. Gay was at the center of the slimy state GOP effort to pack the delegation to the national convention with anti-Trump people (“Meet the Moles”). So the ever-helpful Melissa is seen here ghost-writing Facebook posts for candidate Cox. No word on whether her spin efforts ever made it into the que on Cox’s Facebook account.

But Ms. Gay has a bigger problem.  You see, there is a niggling little rule in the state GOP by-laws that staff and SEC members are not allowed to take part in contested GOP primaries.  We guess when Melissa took the oath of office to be an SEC member, she crossed her fingers behind her back and lied through her teeth that she would be neutral in party primaries.

Lyin’ Melissa just blew by all that with nary a care, probably because she knew chairman Ryan Haynes wouldn’t take any action against her.  After all, SEC state secretary Christi Cross got clean away with interfering in a primary (“Pissed to the Roots”). And Haynes has allowed the wife of the state’s political director to make a quick buck by working against incumbent conservative state GOP legislators (“On What Planet…?”)..  So abusing the rules is really no big deal to these guys.

Ah, but it doesn’t end there.  Oh, no.  Also in Beth Cox’s misguided email, was this little ditty:

maggert doc edited

Debra Maggart, who was trounced by Courtney Rodgers in the primary four years ago, just can’t give it up.  Maggart was unceremoniously thrown out of office by the voters when she was caught lying (do we detect a pattern here?) about supporting 2nd Amendment rights.  Now we see she is still trying to replay her political humiliation by writing press releases for Beth Cox to use against Rodgers.  Time to dust off the ol’ restraining order on Debra.

So there you have it.  A seething, bitter, rule-breaking, prevaricating cabal of three individuals who just can’t seem to get a life, or one of the best hacking jobs we’ve seen since Hillary got hacked?  We think you know the answer.

We just hope Beth Cox finds the “person” who “hacked” her account and “manufactured” damning emails from Debra Maggart and Melissa Gay.

If she can do that, she should volunteer to help O.J. find the real killer.

Starrett: card-carrying member of the “Whine & Brie” club.

Starrett Mr. California

Starrett can dish it, but proves he can’t take it.

After dumping all over Cong. Scott DesJarlais, Californian Grant Starrett squealed like a stuck pig when DesJarlais returned the favor.  Starrett pompously demanded both candidates “refrain from personal attacks and talk about the issues.”

After spending nearly a million dollars from his parents’ trust fund, the Starrett campaign has only been able to come up with 2 or 3 obscure votes that he has used as his entire justification for replacing DesJarlais.  Lacking traction with the voters, he rolled out a rather pitiful attempt to dissuade the DesJarlais camp from talking about the 5,000 lb. elephant in the room – you know, that Grant Starrett is a carpetbagging dilettante from California who has never even voted in a congressional election in the district he seeks to represent in Congress.

Starrett issued his proclamation, then immediately proceeded to attack DesJarlais personally.

So much for détente from the dilettante.

sarah palin

“Hey, Grant — Did ya lose something?”

News Flash for Grant:  Politics in Tennessee ain’t beanbag, surfer boy.  Maybe that is how they do it on the “Whine & Brie” circuit in your hometown of Beverly Hills, but around these parts you strap on your big girl panties and refrain from sticking out your lower lip whenever you discover there are some things your parents’ money can’t buy.

Like credibility.

The Mother of All Political Rumors

crystal ball 1

If we can tear ourselves away from the Republican National Convention for a moment, we need to realize the important election that is fast approaching.  We are, of course talking about the 2018 August primary, two years from next month.  2018?  That’s right, Rocky Top wants to take a moment to reflect on what we know is of the utmost concern to all you political hacks and politicians dripping with ambition.

Yep, that’s right—for all the drama of Crooked Hillary and The Donald this year, it is likely to pale in campaign comparison with what is shaping up to be a real slobber-knocker of an election in Tennessee in 2018.

RTP is going to take the lead on this — especially since no asked us to – and start the Way-Down-The-Road-Early-Political-Prognostication and begin speculating what happens next.

So get out those spread sheets, call a meeting at the water cooler and ante up for the office pool.  The 2018 political season begins in just over three months.

2018 Primary Palooza?

If a political harmonic convergence takes place, we could see the most number of open seats and hotly contested Republican primaries in Volunteer state history.  It all starts with the junior Senator from Chattanooga:

“Say, Bob. Is that a federal prosecutor hiding in that sand trap?”

Corker runs for governor or gets a tough primary opponentCorker’s finances continue to dog him and word from DC is they are about to get much worse.  There is already one Ethics complaint against him and there are rumors of more to come.  Even if Corker can parry the charges of insider trading, magically disappearing loans, sweetheart land deals, etc., etc. there are persistent rumors that he will be seriously challenged in the primary in 2018.  Even if Trump is elected president, Corker’s financial mess is likely to knock him out of a major cabinet position (the consensus among Trump insiders is that Corker’s withdrawal from the Veep sweepstakes was reportedly the result of Trump letting him save face after the vetting process revealed Bob had more baggage than a Samsonite dealer).  If Trump loses or by-passes Bob and/or the Republicans lose the Senate, Corker may conclude his political future lay elsewhere.  At that point Bob may grab his gubernatorials and run for governor. Why not cap his career with the job he first lusted after many years ago – Governor of Tennessee?

Haslam runs for Corker’s Senate seat – Ah yes, the ol’ switcheroo.  What’s an out-of-work billionaire do with his free time?  Why, run for the “most exclusive club in the world” — the U.S. Senate.  If Corker and Haslam delay their decisions to the last minute (say, late March), it will be difficult if not impossible for someone else to enter the race and plunk down the mega bucks and name ID they can bring to the table on short notice.  Think of what happened in 2002 when Fred Thompson decided to retire from the senate AND not run for governor.  That’s how Lamar got in the Senate (and, now that we think about it, how Phil Bredesen won the governorship).

Diane Black runs for Governor – that is a foregone conclusion that could only be disrupted by Diane losing to Joe Carr in two weeks.  Unconfirmed reports that Carr is leading have bounced around the convention floor this week and Diane and her supporter do seem a mite defensive for an incumbent who is outspending her opponent a gazillion-to-one.  If she loses, it will trigger a political earthquake for the establishment wing of the party.  If she wins, look for her to kick off her governor’s campaign faster than you can get a carry permit.

Marsha Blackburn runs for something – While Corker is looking forward to a Trump administration, he may want to look over his shoulder at the popular conservative.

There are lots of other potential candidates — who RTP will discuss in later posts — but the above gives you a taste of what we can expect.

Bonus Round:  The rumors about Lamar’s health have been rampant and so has the speculation that he will not serve out his full term, which ends in 2020.  That would open another U.S. Senate seat.  Who would fill that?  Anyone with a deep pocket (like maybe Randy Boyd?).

The campaign consultant Full Employment Act of 2018

Just think of it — 2018 could see two open U.S. Senate races, an open governor’s race, at least three or more open congressional seats and all 99 House seats and 17 Senate seats in the General Assembly.  They would all be running at the same time and all scrambling for the same pot of money (unless they can stroke a personal check), and most all of the races being decided in the August Republican primary.


The GOP Establishment – who have taken it on the chin in the state legislature of late, can sooth their wounds by manipulating the election calendar, swapping offices and titles by writing big checks, and secure their hold on the three statewide elected positions.  Or, they could lose their butts and watch helplessly as the Barbarians finally crash through the Gates.

Now for one more prediction.   

Here’s an interesting factoid for all you political junkies out there: Every single time the governor’s chair has been open since 1966, the office has switched parties.  Hard to believe?  Take a look:

1966  (D) Buford Ellington

1970  (R) Winfield Dunn

1974  (D) Ray Blanton

1978  (R) Lamar Alexander

1986  (D) Ned Ray McWherter

1994  (R) Don Sundquist

2002  (D) Phil Bredesen

2010  (R) Bill Haslam

2018           ?

Weird, huh?  44 years of the governorship switching party hands.  If it switches again in 2018, that would make the streak an astonishing 52 years.

Can it be done?  Can the Dems offer up an attractive candidate, with executive experience and with deep personal pockets to break through the onslaught of GOP candidates running for every office available and sucking on the same contribution teats as every other Republican candidate?  RTP can answer all those questions in just two words:

Karl Dean.

To close, let’s return to this year’s election and the exciting, informative presidential debate that is already underway.  Question of the day:

“Did Ted Cruz last night  deliver the longest political suicide note in U.S. history?


Code Busters



“Harwell stressed that the privacy of the victims who came forward should be respected and retaliation against those who did wouldn’t be tolerated.

“I ask that the privacy of the victims in this report be protected, said Harwell. “Anyone who politicizes this is doing a disservice to the victims.”

Oh really?  Would that include you, Madame Speaker?

McDaniel said some in the Ad Hoc committee worried about the safety and anonymity of those who came forward.

“We don’t want people to find try to find out who these people are because it would be unfair to them,” McDaniel said.  “We spent hours discussing how to avoid making these victims victims again.”

Yeah, well you apparently didn’t spend enough time on that, did you Sparky?

So let’s see if we have this straight:  Speaker Harwell, AG Slatery, Chairman Steve McDaniel were all aflutter about preserving the anonymity of the people interviewed.  If that was truly the case,


That’s right, all you need to identify almost every name in the report is the simple code:


Hell, we used tougher codes than that when we were passing notes in 5th grade to Susie Simpkins.

It is only a matter of time before someone starts releasing the names.  It won’t take long and frankly we are surprised it hasn’t already happened.

In what was already a totally f**ked-up investigation, the Speaker has somehow managed to screw it up even more.  Stupidity and/or incompetent conniving is the only way to describe it.  Certainly concern for the witnesses wasn’t the first thing on their minds.  Only Rep. Billy Spivey had the guts to point this out and refused to sign the letter unless anonymity was addressed.  In their rush to get the dirt out on Rep. Pants Candy in time for early voting, the Ad Hoc Committee and leadership blew right by Spivey’s concerns.

“Stupid, incompetent or conniving.”  It’s got to be one (or all) of the three, Madame Speaker.


The New “Advance TN PAC.”


Obama logo

Haslam using Obama-backed PAC to fund campaigns against conservative Republicans.

Head of “Stand for Children” is former Obama political campaign operative and Obama White House aide.

Haslam arranges $50,000 in donations from two of his friends to go to the Obama-affiliated PAC.

Dropping all pretense of being a conservative or a Republican, Gov. Bill Haslam has decided to engage in open warfare with the growing conservative wing in the legislature.  Incredibly, he is doing it with the help of the Obama political operation.

An organization closely affiliated with Barack Obama is now pumping tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars into contested Republic primaries, buying TV ads and mailings to attack conservatives.

The Stand for Children PAC, is run out of Portland, OR and has a Tennessee chapter. SFC’s national organization is a Who’s-Who of Obama campaign staff, liberal activists and far-left liberal ideologues.  Its Nashville director is Daniel O’Donnell, a former Obama for President political operative (2007-2008) and White House liaison (2009-2012).  6 of 8 of its staff are “community organizers” who backed Obama in 2008 and 2012 and are headquartered in Memphis.

The organization is linked to Haslam through its field director, Carter Lawrence, who spent years working for Haslam in both his political campaign and as an aide to the governor.  Lawrence’s “token Republican” role appears to be primarily window-dressing for Haslam and his cronies to use the SFC’s state PAC to defeat conservative Republican legislators in the August primary.

For several years the state PAC had carried a balance of only $5.  Then in late May it received $50,000 from John and Orrin Ingram, two of Haslam’s most loyal funders and who participated in his previous projects in 2014 that attacked Republicans.  In addition, another $36,000 came from the organization’s headquarters in that Portland, Oregon.

FEC reports also reveal that in 2012, the Stand for Children (SFC) federal PAC spent $30,000 in Memphis to support Barack Obama and Cong. Steve Cohen.  Since May of this year, the SFC-Haslam-Obama state PAC has dumped out over $53,000 for “polling and research” in Tennessee.  At least $15,000 went to the infamous MB Public Affairs in Sacramento, CA whose specialty is invasive “opposition research” to assess “candidate vulnerability” (i.e., dig up dirt on people).

RTP has received reports that in the race for Rep. Womick’s seat, SFC-Haslam-Obama PAC has recently bought $42,000 in TV ads for the establishment candidate, Christy Seigler, who has been trailing in the polls to the more conservative Tim Rudd.  In Rep. Charles Sargent’s race, the SFC-Haslam-Obama PAC has already paid for thousands of pieces of mail supporting the Harwell ally Sargent. In the Judd Matheny race, they have already paid for two mailings in support of House Clerk Joe McCord’s former intern (the one intern who may not have been sexually harassed by Jeremy Durham), whom McCord and Harwell recruited to run against Matheny.  In the race to fill retiring Rep. Billy Spivey’s seat, it is believed they are funneling money on behalf of Rick Tillis – an establishment candidate who was personally recruited by Speaker Harwell — in meetings held in her speaker’s office — even before Spivey announced his retirement.

While all of this is interesting, the bigger story is the goal of this massive effort to funnel money to select Republican candidates through an organization with blatant liberal and Democratic ties.

Donald Trump won 94 of Tennessee’s 95 counties in the GOP presidential primary, with the conservative Ted Cruz coming in second in most of those.  The establishment wing of the GOP bet on Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, etc. had their butts handed to them.

If the great unwashed masses of conservative Tennessee Republicans turn out in similar numbers in the competitive GOP August primaries as they did in the presidential primary, it would be a devastating blow to the Old Guard – one that could cost Beth Harwell her speakership.  The conservative wing of the GOP caucus has set much of the agenda the last couple of years (i.e., Hall Tax repeal, end of Common Core, defeat of Medicaid/Obamacare expansion, etc.) and has been steadily growing in numbers over the last couple of years. They may now be positioned to start winning leadership posts and taking control of not only the agenda, but the levers of power as well.  That is what has set the leadership and the establishment on edge and has prompted them to spend big to try and hold back the conservative tide, even allying themselves with Barack Obama to do it.

The Stand for Children-Haslam-Obama effort is just one of the more visible battles going on for the soul of the Republican Party.  There will be more.  Count on it.