A mailer sent by the Tennessee Education Association (TEA), a political and financial ally of the liberal activities of the National Education Association (NEA), announced the group has endorsed Murfreesboro businessman Shane Reeves in the 14th State Senate District special Republican primary election set for January 25.
Reeves faces former State Rep. Joe Carr (R-Lascassas) in the GOP primary. The winner will be the Republican candidate in the March 13 special general election.
Both the TEA and the NEA endorsed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential cycle.
“If the pro-abortion, anti-gun, pro-Hillary Clinton TEA/NEA is for Shane Reeves, that should tell Republican voters in the 14th District everything they need to know to vote against him and his not-so-secret liberal agenda,” conservative Republican Joe Carr said in a statement reacting to the endoesement, adding:
Just last week, the NRA gave Shane a high rating based on his response to their questionnaire. Maybe they should actually look at who is backing him as a better indication of where he stands on issues that matter to gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment.
If Shane is the so-called ‘conservative’ he claims to be, and supporter of President Trump he poses as, then he needs to immediately reject and rebuke the endorsement of the liberal teachers’ union and return any funds they have given to him and his campaign.
At the same time, Carr recognizes candidates cannot control who endorses them, saying:
I’m not sure what is more shameful, the fact that Shane has EARNED the endorsement of the liberal TEA/NEA or that he ACCEPTS it. Both speak loudly to who he is.
“The TEA/NEA post card supporting Shane Reeves concedes that the Republican primary winner WILL be the State Senator, completely dismissing the prospects of the Democrat candidate and not so subtly encouraging Democrats to vote in the Republican primary,” Carr said.
“Faced with the option of having a REAL conservative State Senator, like Joe Carr, represent the 14th District or a State Senator who poses as a ‘conservative’ but is aligned with the Democrats, like Shane Reeves, the TEA/NEA backs the closest thing to a Democrat they can find and pushes their voters to vote for him in the Republican Primary,” the former state representative noted.
The Reeves campaign hit back when contacted by The Tennessee Star for comment late Wednesday.
“After begging for the Teacher’s Education Association (TEA) endorsement and not receiving it, Joe sent out yet another one of his angry press releases bashing Shane Reeves for getting the endorsement,” a spokesperson for the Reeves campaign told The Star, adding:
THEN, today it was revealed that the state of Tennessee’s biggest union, the state employees union, not only endorsed Joe Carr but is bankrolling his campaign. Carr’s largest donation came from the union’s PAC, to the tune of $10,000.*
As a reminder, more than a decade ago the TSEA UNION led the charge in favor of the liberal and unwanted state income tax in Tennessee. Today, showing that they still prefer the same kind of old school career politicians that they supported back then, they threw their backing to perennial candidate Joe Carr.
Seems like Joe Carr would have thought twice before sending out this press release. Poor Joe, he just can’t keep from shooting himself in the foot, exposing his own hypocrisy, in his desperate attempt to get back on the public payroll.
The Carr campaign quickly counter-punched, taking the Reeves’ campaign assertion about his purported interest in securing a TEA endorsement head-on.
“FACT: Joe Carr NEVER “begged” for the TEA endorsement. Joe Carr NEVER met with TEA or their representatives, nor was he offered an endorsement by the TEA. Joe Carr NEVER asked for an endorsement from the TEA in any way. Had Carr been offered the endorsement he would have declined; had they issued an endorsement he would have rejected it because he does not support their liberal agenda,” the Carr campaign said in a statement released late Wednesday, adding:
FACT: The TEA lobbyist, Jim Wrye, is former state director of the Alabama DEMOCRATIC Party. The TEA/NEA gives over 90% of their contributions to DEMOCRATS. Their national PAC spent over $5.67 million dollars in the 2015-16 election cycle. According to open secrets.com all but $268 of that money was spent FOR Democrats or AGAINST Republicans.
FACT: The TEA/NEA funneled Tennessee teachers’ union dues into the Hillary Clinton campaign to defeat Donald Trump. Then Jim Wrye lied to the Tennessee legislature about it. https://tennesseewatchdog.org/hillary-clinton/
“Shane Reeves has a real problem with the truth, which may explain why he feels so comfortable getting support and encouragement from liberal Democrats like Jim Wrye who run the TEA/NEA,” Carr said in the statement.
“Birds of a feather actually do flock together,” Carr concluded.
Though the financial and volunteer resources from the TEA may be a welcome addition to the Reeves’ campaign, the endorsement could prove troublesome for the political newcomer.
As The Tennessee Star reported earlier this month, polling shows Republican primary voters are wary of candidates who accept support from groups like the TEA because of their long history of promoting extreme, leftist policies and politicians:
The Tennessee Star Poll was conducted by Triton Polling December 12-18, 2017 and included 1000 likely GOP Primary voters from across the state. Respondents were asked:
The Tennessee Education Association and National Education Association are unions that use Tennessee teachers’ dues to oppose the Second Amendment, support Planned Parenthood, and attempt to elect political candidates like Hillary Clinton. Would you be more likely or less likely to support a Republican candidate for the state house or senate who accepts money from these organizations?
Of those polled, 6.3% indicated that the TEA/NEA support would make them “more likely” to support a Republican candidate; 76.3% would be “less likely” to support such a candidate; and 17.3% were “not sure or didn’t know.” With such high opposition to TEA money and influence among likely GOP primary voters, Republican legislative candidates who have accepted financial support from TEA in the past can certainly expect their opponents to use that information in campaign attack ads in 2018.
For organizations like TEA, the political realities of Republican supermajorities in the state House and Senate has forced a shift from supporting Democrats exclusively, to include resources directed into both the Republican caucuses and individual campaigns. State Senate District 14 typifies this move.
Reeves and Carr are competing for the Republican nomination in the special election primary for the 14th State Senate District to replace former State Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), who resigned in November to take a job with the Trump administration’s Department of Agriculture. Early voting is currently underway through Saturday, January 20th.
The winner of the Republican primary will face off against Gayle Jordan, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, in the special general election slated for March 13 .
Editors Note: Both the Shane Reeves for State Senate Campaign and the Joe Carr for State Senate Campaign are Tennessee Star advertisers.