The Tennessee Star Report Talks to Club for Growth’s David McIntosh About Tennessee Senate Race and the Freshman Democrats Running to the Left


On Thursday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Gill chatted with long time friend, David McIntosh, chairman of Club for Growth, about Bill Haslam’s decision not to compete in Tennessee’s Senate race and who the front runners might be.

Towards the end of the show, McIntosh and Gill discussed how the new freshman Democrats have voted nearly one hundred percent of the time with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Gill: David McIntosh is the chairman of Club for Growth. Former Congressman from Indiana. Former candidate in Indiana is now heading up Club for Growth. And David, we wanted to talk about the new study that you all have done. And we’re going to talk about all these Democrats that ran claiming to be a new kind of Democrat have turned out to be exactly like the liberal whack jobs of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Nancy Pelosi.

They’re voting alike about 91 percent of the time. But before we get to the study. Breaking news this morning, Governor Bill Haslam deciding not to run for the US Senate. I know Club for Growth was interested in this race if Haslam ran. Are ya’ll still going to be interested with Haslam out? And how might Club for Growth play in Tennessee and other states this year?

McIntosh: Yes. It is breaking news and it’s a race we’re very interested in because it’s an opportunity for conservatives to see an upgrade in the United States Senate. We frankly were hoping Haslam would not run because he’s not that conservative. Didn’t have a very conservative record on economic issues and all the federal issues he was very sympathetic to dealing with global warming and having the government regulations increase and a whole array of things.

But he’s not running. So now the choice is going to be between the field but really hasn’t developed yet. We like Mark Green. He’s a new congressman who took Marsha Blackburn’s seat. He’s solid on all of our economic issues. We interviewed Manny Sethi who’s in the race. He’s also really good across the board conservative. So I think Tennesseans will have some great choices. We’re going to continue to monitor it and hope to be very active in the state with our PAC supporting them and our Super PAC helping with independent expenditures.

Gill: And talking about just issues themselves. Reminding people these are the issues that matter.

McIntosh: Right.

Gill: So find the candidates that actually reflect these issues not just in words but also in deeds. You’ve got some other congressman, Chuck Fleischmann over in the Chattanooga area whose name is being mentioned already. You’ve got David Kustoff congressman over in West Tennessee. Have ya’ll had much experience or relationship with them to date?

McIntosh: Um, we have we’ve followed all of them. And folks can go to our website. and see how they voted. We keep a scorecard that looks at every economic vote. Taxes, spending, regulation, corporate crony capitalism. And frankly, they haven’t done all that well. Fleischmann has a pretty good score but as you know has a difficulty on some of his personal issues. And the other members other than Mark Green really don’t score that well. They line up and vote for a lot of these big spending budget bills.

Gill: Yeah, when you get to be chairman or subcommittee chairman they tend to vote the establishment way rather than the taxpayer way. And have assembled a bit of a track record there. By the way folks, David McIntosh, Club for Growth. Longtime friend. We knew each other when he was in Congress. And always great to have you on with us.

McIntosh: Well you do such a great job.

Gill: Thank you. You’re also great friends not only with Mark Green but also Bill Hagerty, the Ambassador to Japan. I love Mark Green. I love Bill Hagerty. If they both run it’s going to be a tough choice. You know I usually don’t stay on the sidelines and probably won’t. (Chuckles)

McIntosh: Yeah.

Gill: But you’re good friends with both of them as well. Hagerty is kind of, he’s out on the sidelines. He can’t make any comments because he’s the Ambassador to Japan. But he could get in this race as well.

McIntosh: He could. And I know a lot of people, in particular, a lot of Haslam supporters are urging him to do that. Bill doesn’t have a record on voting on a lot of these issues and hasn’t yet come to interview with us at the Club for Growth. I know him personally. He’s a solid individual. You know somebody or anybody would be pleased to call a good friend. Upright. Great family man. But his political record is a little mixed on the moderate conservative has been real close to Romney when he ran.

Now he also supported Trump through the transition and President Trump made him Ambassador to Japan. He’s done a critical job over there without an Ambassador of North Korea he’s been a key diplomat in a very high stakes negotiation with North Korea. So as a Tennessean, he would be a favorite one that people would like. You’ve got a lot of good options and it will be interesting to see how it all sorts out.

Gill: Do you think President Trump puts his thumb on the scales? I mean, you know he’s done that in the past. He’s played in this election cycle trying to stop a primary as he did over in North Carolina against incumbent Senator Tillis who’s not a great Trump supporter. Do you think President Trump weighs in on this one?

McIntosh: You know, the person who asked him to do that a lot is Mitch McConnell because he wants to clear out the primary to save money for the general election. I think the President will wait a little bit to do that. But he could, in the end, put his thumb on the scale. A lot of it depends on the record of the individual and their support for him and his policies. And sort of the mood he’s in at the moment. Whoever wants to get involved.

Gill: He can make you or break you with a single Tweet.  We got about a minute left David. I apologize for letting the breaking news distract us. But you guys have done this report on all these new Democrats that went in claiming, “Oh, I’ll vote against Pelosi. I’ll vote different.” They voted exactly the same as the left wing whack jobs.

McIntosh: Exactly. Ninety-five percent with Pelosi. Ninety-two percent with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Over half of these new freshmen, the ones that made the majority, they defeated Republicans saying we’ll be different than the Democrats from Washington. Over half of them voted 100 percent of the time with Nancy Pelosi once they got here. And my point is that it’s an integrity issue. They said they’d do one thing when they were running and then as soon as they got to Washington they turned into a typical politician.

Which on the Democrat side means they’re running to the left.  The green new deal. Destroying everybody’s private insurance by replacing it with a Medicare program. You name it and they’re signing up for it. And now I think that gives the Republicans an opportunity to take back the house next cycle if they can stay unified and a leader that includes conservatives as well as moderates.

Gill: And Club for Growth will certainly be bringing that up in those congressional races. You’ve got a special election pair over in North Carolina September 10. So the election year starts this year but I know ya’ll will be bringing that up next year. And David we’ll talk to you a lot over the next year. Appreciate what you do my friend and we’ll catch up soon.

McIntosh: Absolutely Steve. Take care and keep up the great work!

Listen to the full segment here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “David McIntosh” by Ashbrook Center. Background Photo “The Club for Growth” by the Club for Growth. 




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2 Thoughts to “The Tennessee Star Report Talks to Club for Growth’s David McIntosh About Tennessee Senate Race and the Freshman Democrats Running to the Left”

  1. […] Thursday’s Tennessee Star Report, Club for Growth Chairman David McIntosh discussed a potential Hagerty candidacy with the […]

  2. CMinTN

    Have to say NO! to Fleischmann. Stuck us with Paul Rino as speaker, too beholden to Tom Donahue and the Chamber of Crony Commerce. He also is one of the main republican sellouts enabling the democrats to increase h1b visas to Indian and Chinese nationals at the expense of American STEM graduates…No thanks!
    He will not receive my vote next go round.