Phil Bredesen hopes Tennessee voters forget about his ties to liberal national Democrats as he runs for the U.S. Senate, POLITICO reported. Meanwhile, Nashville Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran, a Republican in name only, is backing the former governor as thanks for his help.
Phil Bredesen is trying to tell Tennesseans he will not help flip the Senate for the Democratic Party.
“It’s not pessimism but self-preservation that tinges Bredesen’s assessment of the Senate landscape,” POLITICO said. “An upset win in Tennessee could, in fact, put Bredesen’s party in the majority if Democrats were to run the table elsewhere, and the former governor’s path to victory depends on convincing voters that they wouldn’t be handing power to national Democrats and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.”
Trump won the state by 26 points in the 2016 election, and Democrats haven’t won a Senate race there since 1990. Early polls show Bredesen running close against U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07), but he needs independent and Republican support.
“If the question on the ballot were, ‘Do you want to send a Democrat or Republican to Washington?’ I would lose. If it’s, ‘Do you want to send Phil Bredesen or Marsha Blackburn to Washington?’ I think I can win that,” Bredesen told POLITICO.
Meanwhile, one could be pardoned for thinking the Predators are replacing Gnash with Bredesen as their mascot.
In April, during the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Predators introduced Bredesen on the ice as an honored guest at the taxpayer-subsidized Bridgestone Arena, The Tennessee Star reported, noting that “As mayor, and then later as governor, Bredesen helped funnel millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the Predators franchise.”
That was only one instance of the professional sports team turning the sports arena into a political arena.
Cigarran plans to hold a fundraiser for Bredesen at his home on Sept. 24, POLITICO said.
Cigarran, also the lead owner, contributed $5,400 to Bredesen’s campaign on March 31, 2018, according to Federal Election Commission records, The Star said.
Cigarran’s son, Chris, also an owner, donated $250 to Bredesen’s campaign on March 31.
While the Cigarrans made their contributions to Bredesen as individuals, the organization has pursued a political agenda of supporting progressive political candidates and policies, starting in December when the Predators announced their support for then-Mayor Megan Barry’s $9 billion transit tax plan. The plan, supported by former Mayors Bredesen and Karl Dean, as well as Mayor David Briley, was resoundingly defeated by voters in the May 1 transit plan referendum by a whopping 64 percent to 36 percent margin.
Officials at the National Hockey League failed to respond to repeated questions from The Star in May about their failure to penalize the Predators’ endorsement of Briley for his mayoral election.
(This from the official NHL website suggests such permission would be required — “All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises.”)
One issue that is noteworthy is that Metro Nashville, under Briley’s leadership, controls Bridgestone Arena.
The decision by the Predators to turn the franchise’s 20-year old brand into a partisan Democrat political action committee has alienated at least half, if not more, of its Middle Tennessee fan base.
Perhaps the Cigarrans and other Predators owners want to cover their bases as they have donated to Republican candidates in the past?
Four of the Predators’ 10-person ownership group have written checks, all to Republicans. Cigarran, and his wife, Connie, gave $61,000, including $41,000 to the Republican National Committee and $5,000 to Mitt Romney, The New York Times said.
Federal Election Commission records show Ciggaran gave $27,927 to Right to Rise, a SuperPac that supported Jeb Bush for President, The Washington Post said. The PAC was criticized for misleading statements about Bush’s record in Florida.
And despite spending over $100 million they clearly had little impact, The New York Times said.
Interviews with more than a dozen donors and advisers to the candidate revealed a complicated picture of dissatisfaction with the group and its chief strategist, Mike Murphy. Some donors worried about how the group spent money for such poor results.
Or perhaps Cigarran is only interested in supporting liberal Republicans.
Cigarran is a Never Trumper who supported Bob Corker and has worked against Blackburn, The Washington Examiner said.
Meanwhile, Cigarran is in the midst of a contentious lawsuit with fellow Preds owner David Freeman, the Nashville Scene said.
Freeman sued Cigarran and the club in Chancery Court, alleging that Cigarran had diluted Freeman’s share of the team down to almost nothing through a series of capital calls — infusions of cash from ownership — with other owners.
The lawsuit was dismissed as Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled that the court was superseded by the NHL’s constitution, which requires arbitration with the league. The presiding judge is now the NHL commissioner.