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On Politics: State GOP suddenly popular with lobbyists {Tennessee}
Nashville City Paper ^ | 12/11/8 | Clint Brewer

Posted on 12/11/2008 8:43:04 AM PST by SmithL

The room was a little fuller than it had been in years this past Monday night at the joint fundraiser for the State Senate and House Republican caucuses.

In what one legislative leader said was a “record setting” night for the event, the caucuses raised about $350,000 and saw around 550 people come through the door at Flyte.

“It was a fantastic event,” said Rep. Jason Mumpower, House GOP Minority leader and likely future House Speaker. “We had old friends and a lot of new ones.”

The new friends were apparently the source of a great deal of amusement to Republican lawmakers. Those new friends, of course, were lobbyists of every stripe coming to pay homage — and cut checks to cover their backsides. They now have to do business with a state legislature with a GOP majority in both chambers for the first time in anyone’s lifetime.

In a short speech that apparently had the crowd rolling in laughter, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey noted how some of the folks in attendance that night had never attended the event before. Sources in attendance said Ramsey went so far as to single out some lobbyists that had never darkened a Republican door in the General Assembly as well as some that were old friends of the GOP.

There were other telling signs about the change in culture in Legislative Plaza. Lobbyists were asking for introductions to GOP legislative staffers, few of which they actually knew. Sources say some lobbyists were shocked to meet a cadre of young GOP turks in their 20s and early 30s as opposed to the rather long-in-the-tooth Democratic staffers the lobbyists had known, loved and squeezed for decades in some instances.

On the flip side, the attendance does show business seems to come first for Nashville’s government relations class above partisanship. GOP operatives say there is a scramble going on for law firms and lobbying shops to land qualified individuals with legitimate GOP ties.

Interesting Operatives

While the un-exepected Metro Council District 18 race is a boon to local political reporters, it is likely going to be a hard choice for engaged residents of the district.

Four candidates thus far are running to replace Councilman Keith Durbin, including two that have jumped the fence to go from being campaign operatives to candidates.

Perhaps the most intriguing former operative is Kristine LaLonde, a Belmont professor and a very experienced campaign hand. In 2006, LaLonde led the Women for Ford effort for former Rep. Harold Ford Jr’s campaign.

Women for Ford was a campaign within a campaign, with LaLonde and others organizing women voters to move them over to the Democratic column for Ford. Anyone coming from the war of the Ford-Corker race and back to politics asking for more does so with an historic set of campaign experiences to draw upon.

There is also the youngish John Ray Clemmons, an attorney and former campaign manager for Bob Clement’s mayoral bid. He is a former Washington D.C. Clement staffer with deep roots in Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

Bunker Buddies

A few political wags were sitting around a well-known Nashville news hotspot last week pondering the fate of Gov. Phil Bredesen’s bunker under likely GOP rule for the next few years.

The general consensus was that Republicans are going to shut up about the bunker given the next governor may very well be a Republican and want to use it.

There was also some talk about whether Bredesen would name the addition to the executive residence that causes so much turmoil before he left office. There was a school of thought he might name it after an enemy given the facility’s unpopularity. Potential names included The Bill Purcell Pre-Memorial Ballroom and The Gary Odom Conservatory.

TOPICS: Tennessee; Parties; State and Local
KEYWORDS: gopmajority; lobbyists

1 posted on 12/11/2008 8:43:05 AM PST by SmithL
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To: SmithL

I hope the GOP can do better than the ‘Rats. The ‘Rats have increased the budget by over 6% per year when inflation was 2.8%. If they had followed the simple rule of increasing the budget ONLY by the rate of inflation plus population growth, the state would have a surplus instead of a deficit.

2 posted on 12/11/2008 9:27:09 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Obama is the Antichrist.)
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To: Blood of Tyrants; SmithL; NewRomeTacitus; wardaddy; Coldwater Creek

I’m worried with the sudden attention from the lobbyists they’ll turn into common street whores. They need to remember WHY they were elected and tell these lobbyists what they can do with themselves.

3 posted on 12/11/2008 7:03:48 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

They need to remember who was their friends before they were in control of the House and Senate. The rest can go pound sand.

4 posted on 12/11/2008 7:10:10 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Obama is the Antichrist.)
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