TENNESSEE GOP AND BRIAN KELSEY RELEASES A FALSE ATTACK AD ABOUT GABBY SALINAS

The GOP has a fight in District 31 and they are going to do what they do best, fight dirty. Tennessee Lt. Governor Randy McNally has reportedly purchased significant air time on Memphis media, on behalf of Brian Kelsey, and is running ads that mischaracterize and malign Gabby Salinas, and, there is no other way to put it, lying about her positions.

The ad claims that Gabby Salinas "supports stealing benefits from our elderly," and cites her website as the source of the claim. This is categorically untrue, as anyone who can read will see, just by visiting her website. In fact, Ms. Salinas is a strong supporter of all those left behind by the Republicans in Tennessee, including the elderly and the disabled.

Further, the characterization of Ms. Salinas as "socialist" is a complete mischaracterization of her position. She does support accepting federal grants to expand Medicaid in Tennessee, which is just common sense, and which is also supported by Republican Governor Bill Haslam. By the time the legislature reconvenes in 2019, the Republican Tennessee legislature will have refused to accept nearly $6 billion of federal funds, money that would have been used to provide health care to over 500,000 Tennesseans, and could have prevented the closing of so many Tennessee hospitals.

Of course, to Republicans accustomed to feeding at the public trough for only themselves, any activity that benefits regular Tennesseans must look like Socialism. But not expanding Medicaid is killing jobs, killing economies, and killing our fellow Tennesseans.

With their history of attack ads, and given the example provided by the current President, we knew that Tennessee Republicans would not miss an opportunity to sling malicious misleading statements, half-truths, and distortions about Democrats in a bald-faced attempt to misinform voters. Combined with Kelsey’s other literature, which dog whistles race and nationality and implies Ms. Salinas’ heritage is to be feared, the GOP has hit all the wickets in their playbook and voters are tired of it.

With recent polling that tells him he has a real race on his hands, we understand Mr. Kelsey’s reluctance to run on his record. If our record included votes that penalized free speech*, reduced the authority of local governments**, and encouraged discrimination against the LGBTQ community ***, as well as a years-long refusal to accept billions of dollars for the state’s most disadvantaged citizens, we would want to run on something besides our record as well.

We call on Mr. Kelsey to renounce these tactics, to direct Mr. McNally to immediately cease these ads, and to apologize to all Tennesseans, but especially the residents of District 31, who deserve better from their elected officials.

*SB0902
**SB1621
***SB1556

Statement on Governor Bredesen’s Announcement Regarding the Kavanaugh Nomination

We have seen the recent statement Governor Bredesen released regarding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. This statement has caused quite a stir in Democratic circles in Shelby County.

The Democratic Party has always been a "big tent" party, and that is certainly true in Tennessee. Because of that, there are a wide variety of opinions on pretty much every issue, and all of us won't always agree, even on the important ones.

The SCDP is in unanimous agreement with Governor Bredesen on the importance of removing the barriers women face when reporting and dealing with sexual harassment and assault. We are also in agreement that the treatment Dr. Christine Blasey Ford received from the Senate was disgusting, and symbolic of the harsh treatment victims have all too often received from our society.

We are all appalled that many Republicans in the US Senate appear to be unconcerned over whether or not Judge Kavanaugh actually assaulted Dr. Ford, and are anxious to confirm him despite the likelihood that he did. Many of us disagree on whether or not Judge Kavanaugh has the temperament required of an appointee to the Supreme Court, especially in light of his behavior during the confirmation process. There are also far too many questions left unanswered by a woefully incomplete FBI investigation, including serious questions about Judge Kavanaugh's truthfulness when testifying under oath.

While some of us are concerned by Governor Bredesen's statement, and the issues it raises, we are all in agreement that his election to the US Senate is our highest priority, because the alternative is unthinkable. Whatever differences some of us may have are dwarfed by the vast gulf between him and his opponent. We urge Democrats in Shelby County, and throughout Tennessee, to remain steadfast in their support of Phil Bredesen as our next Senator.

SCDP VOTES TO CENSURE REGINALD TATE FOR DISPARAGING COMMENTS

The Shelby County Democratic Party (SCDP) voted at their July 17th meeting to censure Senator Reginald Tate for remarks made during a General Assembly committee meeting on May 30, 2018.

The remarks, widely reported in news media, were deemed “vulgar” "detrimental to the Party" and "unbecoming of a Democrat." The vote of the Executive Committee, after lengthy discussion, was 12-4 in favor of censure. The censure resolution cited only the remarks of Sen. Tate, and was not based on any political consideration.

Chairman Corey Strong said, "These remarks stepped over the line of acceptable behavior for a Democrat, and a substantial majority of our Executive Committee felt that censure was the appropriate response."

SHELBY COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY RELEASES ITS OFFICIAL BALLOT AND ADDRESSES CONCERNS ON UNOFFICIAL DEMOCRATIC BALLOTS

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The Shelby County Democratic Party has released its official ballot for the August 2nd General Election and any ballot that does not use the phrase ‘Shelby County Democratic Party’ and the SCDP logo are paid for advertisements that are not authorized or recognized by the party. The official SCDP ballot contains the nominees for the local County Election and 3 endorsed judicial candidates. There are no state or federal candidates on the party ballot because the party does not take positions in primary elections. The SCDP ballot is being distributed through mail, online, print and hand delivery at various locations. Specifically, SCDP ballot can be found in the Memphis Flyer and Shelby Democrat in print this week and will be featured in the Commercial Appeal Sunday and Tuesday community editions on as well as the Tri-State Defender next week.

Shelby County Election Commission Opens Polling Stations Late

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The SCDP has heard multiple reports this morning of polling locations not opening on time, with delays of as much as 45 minutes. Accounts of voters waiting in line and/or leaving without voting, are deeply concerning.

It is our sincere hope that Election Commission would re-double its efforts to follow the court-order as it pertains to the opening of these sites and that there will not be a repeat of these issues going forward.

However, we remain vigilant in protecting the rights of voters, and are ready to re-engage the legal system, if necessary, to insure that every person in Shelby County is afforded an equitable opportunity to vote.”

PRESS RELEASE

Court Ruling UPDATE

At a hearing requested by attorneys for the Shelby County Election Commission this morning at 10:00 a.m., the attorney for the Election Commission was still assessing whether the Election Commission was able to comply with Chancellor Jenkins’ ruling issued at 9:15 p.m., Monday, July 9, 2018 after a nearly 8 hour long hearing.

The court reporter will have the transcript of the findings of fact and conclusions of law ready in an expedited fashion, and the Plaintiffs hope to enter an order at 1:00 pm, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. At that time, attorney for the Election Commission is to report back to Chancellor Jenkins on whether they have the ability to comply with the Court’s edict.

EVERY VOTE COUNTS

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Shelby County Democratic Party to Hold Press Conference Addressing Proposed Early Vote Polling Plan

Wednesday June 27th at 11:00 a.m., the Shelby County Democratic Party and supporters will hold a press conference on the 6th floor of the Election Commission to address the proposed early vote polling plan. The Shelby County Election Commission released their proposed early voting locations and the Shelby County Democratic Party believes the changes as presented represent a clear attempt at voter suppression. Both the polling locations and hours will restrict the ability of most Shelby County voters from voting during the early vote period and the Election Commission should be held accountable for their poor management of the election process.

Full Statement from Corey Strong, Chair of the Shelby County Democratic Party Chair

“The Election Commission’s plan is the latest example of local government officials failing to ensure that ALL residents of Shelby County are a part of the political process and are being served equitably. The Agricenter location is not the center of Shelby County’s population or voting base and restricting half of the early vote period to that location is an affront to the tens of thousands of voters from throughout the county who will cast their vote in this election. Election results from 2016 show that in 3 of the proposed new polling sites, our current President won by margins of over 20% when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won the county by 27%. Adding these specific locations is reckless at best and malicious at worst”
“The Shelby County Democratic Party asks that the Election Commission issue a formal apology for this misstep and be prepared to offer a solution to County Commission that demonstrates a commitment to fair and just elections as well as a sincere appreciation for the true make-up of the voters of Shelby County. Also, considering the history of malfeasance at the Election Commission, we are putting them on notice that there will be no tolerance for further unethical, unjust, or hyper-partisan behavior during this election cycle or in the future.”

REPUBLICAN DAVID LENOIR FOUNDED A MUTUAL FUND TO, IN LENOIR’S ACTUAL WORDS, UNDERCUT THE “GAY AND LESBIAN AGENDA”

Based on information that began circulating on social media over the last few days, more voters are now aware that David Lenoir founded the Centurion Christian Values fund. It was a mutual fund that would catered exclusively to anti-gay investors. In David Lenoir’s words, he set up this business to ensure that investors would not have to invest in companies that support the “gay and lesbian agenda.” Again, Republican David Lenoir founded a mutual fund to, in Lenoir’s actual words, undercut the “gay and lesbian agenda”.

“The Shelby County Democratic Party rejects discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation.  Non-discrimination is not a Democratic value, it’s a community value.  A prime example is Republican Sheriff Bill Oldham has been recognized for his work on equality and LGBT issues.

“David Lenoir’s decision to open a business to cater to anti-gay investors is troubling. Our next county mayor cannot encourage discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, race, or any other suspect classification. He also cannot dog whistle to his base that he supports such views and not be held to account for them publicly. His decision to start a business, like the Centurion Christian Values fund, indicates that he is against inclusion, diversity, and tolerance and he should be called to account for it.”

“Even more troubling is the fact that he bragged about his success in creating this business during his announcement statement in September 2017. It indicates that Lenoir is openly against inclusion and proud of that view. Ironically, the fund wasn’t successful which is likely due to the fact that its purpose runs afoul of our our community’s values of diversity and inclusion.  If elected, his views will mean that this community will have taken one giant step backward by electing an individual who does not share its values.”

“It is worth mentioning also that, unfortunately, this is part of a larger problem in our community. For instance, we have seen other attempts by local legislators to pass laws to get businesses to refuse to serve gay customers, the so-called Turn Away the Gays bills. Moreover, we have seen a public attempt to reject initiatives that increase minority participation in our economy. Discrimination against individuals because of their sexual orientation is discrimination, plain and simple and Shelby County can’t move forward when a few people in power are deciding who gets to participate in our economy and who doesn’t. There is no room in 2018 or our future for these types of views.” 

“The Shelby County Democratic Party would ask David Lenoir and his supporters to recant negative, discriminatory views and language. We would ask David Lenoir to close down the Centurion Christian Values fund, if it or some version of it is still open for business. We would ask David Lenoir to pledge that, if he is elected county mayor, he will not support discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation. We would ask that David Lenoir promise to oppose legislative efforts to gives businesses protections to reject gay customers and/or only cater to anti-gay clientele. If David Lenoir is unable to reject discrimination and pledge to embrace all parts of our community, he should immediately drop out of the race for Shelby County Mayor.”

Press Release