State Senator Todd Gardenhire Complains The Tennessee Star Poll Asked About Illegal Immigrants, Not ‘Children of Undocumented Immigrants’

Tennessee Star

Stung by the results of the recent Tennessee Star Poll  showing 84 percent of likely Republican primary voters oppose providing in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students, State Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga), sponsor of two bills that would accomplish precisely that objective, complained on Monday that the poll asked about illegal immigrants rather than “children of undocumented immigrants who are brought to this country when they are very young.”

“The question was worded in such a way to get the result they wanted,” Gardenhire complained to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Tennessee Star Poll question asked likely Republican voters the following:

“In 2018, the Tennessee General Assembly is expected to reconsider a bill to provide in-state college tuition to illegal immigrant students. Do you support or oppose providing in-state college tuition to illegal immigrant students?”

84 percent of Tennessee likely Republican primary voters disapproved of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. A resounding 68.9 percent strongly disapproved, the poll results showed:

68.9% Strongly Disapproved
15.5% Somewhat Disapproved
5.9% Somewhat Approved
5.2% Strongly Approved
4.5% Not Sure/don’t know

“Gardenhire said that’s misleading,” the Times Free Press reported:

He said “we’re not giving them anything” because the students live in Tennessee and would pay the same tuition as other students who live here.

Gardenhire, however, failed to accurately describe to the Times Free Press the citizenship status of these students who live in Tennessee his bill would aid. They are not American citizens. They are, in fact, illegal aliens.

Two bills, both sponsored by Gardenhire in the Senate and State Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) in the House failed in this year’s Tennessee General Assembly. Both men have vowed to bring the bills back for consideration in the 2018 session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

The Tennessee Star Poll results showing the virtually unanimous opposition to the bills sponsored by Gardenhire and White among likely Tennessee Republican primary voters takes a sledge hammer to those plans.

State legislators who previously were on the fence  can now expect to face angry voters in the 2018 Republican primary for whom opposition to in-state tuition for illegal immigrants is the number one priority. The prospect that any legislator who votes in favor of the Gardenhire/White bills  if they are introduced again in 2018 as Gardenhire and White currently promise will be inundated with criticism that could lead to their defeat at the polls in November 2018 is very real indeed, as the Chattanooga Times Free Press noted:

In an interview last week, Steve Gill, a former conservative radio talk show host with ties to The Tennessee Star, defended the question’s wording. That’s how it will play out in a Republican primary election, said Gill, who runs an independent political expenditure group.

Gill added he knows that firsthand, having used the issue in a direct mail attack last year against Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, who voted for Gardenhire’s bill in 2015. Kelsey was running in Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District Republican primary.

“That issue destroyed him,” said Gill, whose mailer said Kelsey voted for a bill “Requiring Tennessee Taxpayers Pay Some of the Costs of College Tuition for Illegal Aliens.”

Similar mailers aimed at any member of the Tennessee General Assembly who supports the Gardenhire/White bill if it is introduced again in 2018 could have devastating effects on the political future of those legislators.

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8 Thoughts to “State Senator Todd Gardenhire Complains The Tennessee Star Poll Asked About Illegal Immigrants, Not ‘Children of Undocumented Immigrants’”

  1. These so called Republicans wanna dance with the devil then rephrase it later to makeep it seem like something totally different. To bad. There are now media sources such as The Tennessee Star and which are outing them. They can no longer hide. A day of reckoning is coming in 2018.

  2. […] Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) has taken exception to The Tennessee Star’s polling question which accurately refers to foreign nationals of […]

    1. JD Burke

      Senator Gardenshire, some people call a Skunk a Polecat, but it is still a Skunk.

  3. Kalee

    The term “Children of undocumented immigrants” is Gardenhire’s candy-coated way of cloaking what these kids really are: illegal aliens whose parents have been sponging off the taxpayers for years. These illegals are now old enough to comply with U.S. law. If they want to become a foreign student, they must pay their own way and discontinue sponging off the TN taxpayers. They are old enough to begin the process of becoming a U.S. citizen if they want to stay. Their parents should have come in legally if they wanted in-state tuition for their kids’ college. Sorry. That’s the law.

    The Justice Dept. is cracking down on this type of unconstitutional legislation which is now being tried in a number of states.
    It violates TN law:
    And it very specifically violates Federal law, written for this exact type of legislation:

    If passed, Tennessee is certain to become entangled in a lawsuit.

    This legislation is a ploy to suck more tax money out of Tennesseans and give govt. more control over our money, pure and simple. Most importantly, this legislation would necessarily put TN’s stamp of approval on illegal aliens, diminishing state and national sovereignty, create a magnet for more to come to our state, cultivate sanctuary campuses for criminal illegals who would easily blend in on campus, and undermine our republican representative form of government guaranteed in the Constitution. The tax-paying citizens of Tennesseans are against Gardenhire’s erroneous legislation promoted by out-of-state lobbyists – who, by the way, cannot vote for him.

    REPRESENTATIVES are elected to REPRESENT the people – not do whatever they or the lobbyists want. Their job is to flip that switch “YES” or “NO” however the People tell him. Not push whatever legislation lobbyists can bring to him in exchange for campaign contributions.

    Sen. Gardenhire, if you run for re-election, don’t deceptively do it with an R by your name. Be true to your ideology and become a Democrat.

  4. Stuart I. Anderson

    Any Republican; in Bradley or Hamilton county want to be a State Senator? Can I interest some Republican living on or around Talisman Cove in Shelby County in a seat in the State House?

    I know of two “Republican” legislators that badly need replacing.

  5. Willie Smith

    Let’s tell Gardenshire that we’re going to start calling illegal aliens ‘undocumented Democrats” instead….

  6. Horatio Bunce

    “…brought here when they were very young…”

    In other words, they have been sucking on the educational welfare teat at $10k per year all those years before college. When are illegal aliens consuming the public school system going to be addressed? 13-15 years of pre-K-12 school at $10k per year is a much more significant cost than the out-of-state portion of college tuition.

    1. Bob

      Could not have said it better. Gardenshire needs to be “retired” during the next election cycle.