In an exclusive statement to The Tennessee Star regarding the announcement by Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City) that he will be running for the 2nd Congressional District, Tennessee Conservative Union (TCU) Chairman Gary Loe said “Rep. Matlock’s voting record on taxation scores consistently among the most conservative legislators in Nashville.”
Loe’s statement praised Matlock’s service in the Tennessee House, saying he has “championed the TCU’s efforts to help taxpayers keep more of their hard earned income,” and pointed out that Matlock “voted against the governor’s gas tax increase this legislative session.”
In the statement Loe also praised “[t]he other announced candidate in the race, Knox County mayor Tim Burchett,” whom he called “a terrific friend to TCU.”
“In fact, TCU awarded our vaunted ‘Tax Ax’ award to then state Sen. Burchett in June 1999,” Loe said.
The TCU, founded in 1977 by Lloyd Daugherty who passed away two years ago, is one of the oldest and largest non-partisan conservative organizations in the state with an estimated 15,000 members.
Loe was appointed chairman on February 6, which is Ronald Reagan’s birthday, by the board of directors, and has been actively reintroducing the TCU through numerous speeches he has been delivering around the state since May. Loe is the owner of a television production company and was a Knoxville television news reporter.
In 2010 and 2012, Loe ran for the State House, with a decisive primary victory in 2012. Democrat Gloria Johnson defeated Loe in the general election by a slim 288 vote margin, with 1,084 votes going to an independent with the same name as a locally well-known developer and Republican, perhaps in a case of mistaken identity.
Loe out-raised his opponents without the thousands of dollars of support from Governor Bill Haslam and his family, the Haslam JOBS4TN PAC, current gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd and his wife Jenny, afforded to Eddie Smith (R-Knoxville), who beat Democrat Gloria Johnson in 2016 by just 151 votes. Smith went on to vote for Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act in 2017.
Loe’s full statement on the Matlock campaign can be read below:
“Rep. Matlock, over the past dozen years or so, has championed the Tennessee Conservative Union’s efforts to help taxpayers keep more of their hard earned income. He voted against the governor’s gas tax increase this legislative session.
And, Rep. Matlock’s voting record on taxation scores consistently among the most conservative legislators in Nashville. He’s been a friend to TCU, and has attended our annual Reagan Day dinners.
It’s very early in this congressional race, and TCU will first vet all the candidates before making an endorsement. TCU is watching very closely, and wants to make sure that the 2nd congressional district continues as a conservative seat in Washington.
This race could be a barn burner. The other announced candidate in the race, Knox County mayor Tim Burchett, is also a terrific friend to TCU. In fact, TCU awarded our vaunted “Tax Ax” award to then state Sen. Burchett in June 1999.
Mayor Burchett helped TCU successfully fight Tennessee state income tax legislation in 2000 and 2002.
Rep. Matlock’s strong showing in the House Speaker race last year against speaker Harwell-finishing only 10 votes out of the winner’s circle-proves he is well respected among Republican House caucus members. Rep. Matlock has a reputation for honesty, and does not appear to have a personal agenda in politics.
And, Rep. Matlock is a successful small business owner with thousands of voters driving around East Tennessee on Matlock tires, so that name recognition may help him in this race.”