Davidson County Republican Party Chair Candidate Lonnie Spivak Discusses Past Politics and How He Can Help Turn Things Around

Live from Music Row, Wednesday 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 Lonnie Spivak in studio to discuss his past involvement in politics and how his professional experience could help turn the Davidson County Republican Party around.

Leahy: In studio right now, Lonnie Spivak, my good friend for many years. Good morning, Lonnie.

Spivak: Good morning, Michael. I’m happy to be keeping Crom’s seat warm this morning.

Leahy: (Laughs) The original Crom Carmichael. Lonnie, you and I have been friends for many, many years. We met, oh, gosh, about 20 years ago, I think. And you were involved in the Tea Party movement back in 2009, and you ran for Congress here in 2010.

Spivak: It was one of the more exciting things I’ve done in my life. When I told my wife I wanted to run for Congress, she thought I was, like, going to tell her I wanted a divorce or something. It was just one of those moments when you’re like, I need to tell you something. She’s like, oh, my God. What?

Leahy: What is it? What is it? I’m running for Congress, dear. Are you a crazy man, she says? No. It was a fun event, a fun experience, wasn’t it?

Spivak: I really loved the campaigning aspect of the campaign running for Congress. I got to meet so many great people in the district. The hardest part is it is for every candidate, is to shake their hand and say, nice to meet you, and then kind of ask them for money at the same time.

Leahy: Asking for money is hard.

Spivak: Yes. That’s one of the more challenging aspects of being a candidate for Congress. But if you want to be a successful candidate, you got to get over that. It’s just one of the things you got to do.

Leahy: One of the things I remember about your candidacy, and you finished, what, third or fourth in the past?

Spivak: Somewhere in the middle of the past, there were 12.

Leahy: There were 12. And that was the one campaign in the old Davidson County 5th Congressional District. That was a year where I think 2010, the general election was like 55, 45, and you finished well in the primary. Didn’t get to go to the general. But here’s what I remember about that.

There was a debate, and somebody posed a question and asked you, can you tell me the constitutional authorities of Congress? There, I think, I believe, are 19 of them. And you rattled them all off.

Spivak: I think I missed one because I ran out of time.

Leahy: (Chuckles) Yes, but that was impressive.

Spivak: I kept a pocket constitution with me for a while. I probably can rattle off a lot of them now, but off the top of my head, it’d be hard to kind of remember them all.

Leahy: I’m not going to ask you. You work for a local manufacturing company.

Spivak: No, I do marketing for a local wholesale distributor. We do marketing and deal with the south region.

Leahy: Got it.

Spivak: And I do marketing for them for a living. So before that, I worked for an ad agency doing creative for 18 years. And so my whole professional life has been getting people to buy stuff.

Leahy: You have announced your candidacy to be chairman of the Republican Party of Davidson County. Tell us why you have made that announcement.

Spivak: I really just want to look forward. I think the people who have served in past and are recently serving had really great intentions for the Republican Party in Davidson County. But things just didn’t materialize very well.

And I think with my skill set, and with a background in politics and advertising and marketing, I’ll be uniquely suited to help push the county party forward in a direction really, that rebuilds the organization in a way that it can raise money, focuses their attention on being able to react with the grassroots.

There are a lot of fences with some ancillary groups that really just kind of need to be mended with the Republican Women and the Young Republicans. Young Republicans.

Leahy: They are sort of at odds right now.

Spivak: Everybody’s just kind of infighting.

Leahy: Over nothing in the sense that and let me say, infighting over nothing in this regard. It’s about 65 D, 35 R somewhere in that bar.

Spivak: We kind of think.

Leahy: Something like that, and in Davidson County. But the biggest failure of the Davidson County Republican Party has been the failure to have candidates in key elections running for Metro Council, running for school board, running for any of the county offices that nobody ran for district attorney or some judges.

But they haven’t fielded candidates. They had a few school board candidates this time around, but they all got crushed. And although it’s 65-35, my view is that Republicans can win in Davidson County if they’re focused.

Spivak: One of the really big reasons I decided to run was this last election cycle, there was a state house, 59, which is kind of the southern part of the county, kind of starts in Bellevue, and it’ll extend it over to Green Hills. And we had a really strong candidate, Michelle Foreman. She ran a great race and came up a few points short. It was like 54-46 in the end.

Leahy: It was like 54-46 in the end? Something like that.   But she was on her own, really. She didn’t get a lot of help.

Spivak: She didn’t get a lot of help. Michelle served on the SEC, State Executive Committee, and she was one of the people who voted to keep Robby Starbuck off the ballot.

Leahy: And by the way, let me just say I documented this extensively. They followed the bylaws of the party, and the Supreme Court of the state of Tennessee confirmed that they were within their rights to do that.

Spivak: I understand you like the candidate, you wished him better, but that was all settled. Michelle was one of many people in the SEC who voted to remove Robby from the ballot at that time. And Michelle was the candidate. She was the Republican candidate and had come out of the primary.

Leahy: Won the primary, like, 60-40, I think.

Spivak: Very significant win for her. And then the party really just did nothing to help.

Leahy: That’s a refrain I hear often. The Davidson County Republican Party does nothing to help candidates.

Spivak: And that was one of the things that was like, I really feel like I can put my business experience and my life experience to work, to kind of shake things up and change the way Davidson County thinks about politics.

And I’m telling people, look, if you want somebody who’s going to come in and is going to try to just recruit a bunch of candidates and send them out and give them a couple of bucks, I’m not your guy.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.








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