Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Davidson County Republican Party Vice Chair Bart Smith to the newsmaker line to discuss his role and the upcoming debate on Tuesday night for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District candidates.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by the most fascinating man in Middle Tennessee and politics, Mr. Bart Smith. Good morning, Bart.
Smith: Good morning. What an introduction. (Laughter)
Leahy: Tell the audience why you’re fascinating, what your background is, and the previous campaign that you ran.
Smith: Sure. I’m from the U.K. originally, you guys can’t tell. I was a campaign manager for the Conservative Party and I was a broker over at Lloyd’s in London and made my way over to the U.S. about 10 years ago. Somehow I managed to find my way to Tennessee, where I’m here in Nashville.
Leahy: And you managed a successful campaign for someone to run for Parliament, right?
Smith: That’s right – Lord Willetts, David Willetts. And he’s a conservative member of Parliament, and he was Margaret Thatcher’s researcher. So, back in the day.
Leahy: That’s quite a background. And now are you the vice chair of the Davidson County Republican Party?
Smith: That’s right, I’m the second vice chair of the Davidson County Republican Party. They needed somebody, I guess. So luckily I went into the role.
Leahy: Well, I can attest that you are a conscientious and hardworking vice chair of the Davidson County Republican Party and doing a great job. Now, we have a big event coming up tomorrow night.
It’s a Congressional District 5 debate. Tell us where it’s going to be and which candidates are going to be there, and who might be moderating this event.
Smith: That’s right. So we have our debate tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. And it’s at Rock the Bellz Event Center. That’s 768 Madison Square in Madison, Tennessee. So anyone listening can come along, it’s just $20. We would like people to buy online, but you can do it at the door.
And we have three of the Congressional District 5 candidates there. We have Mayor Andy Ogles leading the way. And we also have Timothy Lee, who’s an EMT, so a fascinating character.
And we also have Stuart Parks, who’s Tennessee’s very own, and fascinated by local history and very passionate about a number of issues.
So we have those three candidates there, and we have a very kind offer from you to be our moderator. So, Mr. Leahy, we’re very grateful.
Leahy: And also, the event sponsor is Magill’s world-famous GlockStore.
Smith: That’s right. And he’ll be there. So, Mr. Lenny Magill will be there just to give a few words and sign autographs. I know he’s a big guy for the shooting community.
Leahy: Yeah, it’s a great place, the GlockStore, 1930 Airlane Drive, here in Nashville. Have you been there, by the way?
Smith: Yeah, I have, it’s kind of like a Costco meets a gun store. It’s just so large. And I love the fact they have a 270-degree shooting range.
So forget the shooting in a straight line all the time. You guys can actually get your hands on some really cool courses. And they have some great instructors there, too.
Leahy: Yes, and I’ve gone through that training and I don’t know if you’ve ever, you’ve gone through the training, and this is hard to believe, but I’d never shot a gun in my life until I was over there for training.
Leahy: It’s great. I had a little competition with Crom Carmichael. He’s a little better shot than I am. So we were competing over the Tennessee Star Glock 19, and he won it. It’s his, but I’m going to try to win it back.
Smith: Better luck next time. I can practice. But that place is plush. It’s very swish.
Leahy: Very swish.
Smith: That’s right. There’s a new word for you.
Leahy: There you go. So now there’s also going to be a straw poll. Is that right?
Smith: That’s right. We’ll be taking a straw poll, so everyone listening, you can be part of the poll, and I’m sure, Michael, you’ll be announcing a result and how it went representing Davidson County.
Leahy: Now, if people want to get online, where do they go online?
Smith: You can search Eventbrite for Davidson County Republican Party and see the event pop up there. Or we’d encourage people just to go to Facebook, search for Davidson County Republican Party, and you can find it on our Facebook page. And there’s a link to that.
Leahy: And it’s interesting because we’re going to ask very specific questions on about six different issues.
Smith: That’s right.
Leahy: On the economy, education, immigration, the Second Amendment, foreign affairs, and then specific issues for the 5th district. And each candidate will have an opportunity to make a brief opening statement.
And then I’ll ask the questions of the candidates, they’ll get to respond, and then they each make a closing statement. Now, the straw poll, when will people be filling out the straw poll?
Smith: I think what we’ll do is, towards midway, we’ll be handing out the ballots, and then we’ll do it like that.
Leahy: Round them up that way.
Smith: That’s right. There’ll be quite a lot of hand-counting, so we’ll have to make sure it’s all good.
Leahy: Well, and the straw polls are interesting because, let’s see, they’ve had straw polls that have …
Smith: I was there for the one you did in Williamson County. Remember the Trump one?
Leahy: Was that Wilson County? And so there was a straw poll in Wilson County, and I think Andy Ogles won that one. And Wilson County did handle it. Natisha Brooks was in second place in that one.
And then in Marshall County, Andy Ogles won the straw poll. General Winstead was in second place in that one, as I recall. I don’t think there have been any other straw polls yet. So this will be very interesting to see which candidate ends up winning.
Now, the other – typically, when you looked at candidates, I know Jeff Beierlein had sent his regrets. He had previously, I guess, made a commitment to go to Washington, D.C. Jeff Beierlein is, of course, the former Black Hawk pilot. That’s right.
Smith: And he was going for a veterans event as well. Important that being a veteran himself, that he gets the support he needs because we need more veterans to be able to run for office.
And to his credit, all the money raised is going to help Republican candidates on the Davidson County school board and the judicial.
Leahy: Well, that’s good.
Smith: You’ll be helping Republicans. We need more Republicans in Davidson County on the ballot, so what better way to make that a reality and support the ones that we already have this year? And so his money, he said we keep the money that he’d be giving to take part. And I thought that was really kind of him.
– – –