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Beavers campaign begins with conservative heavy hitters
Nov 11, 2005 12:00 am
November 10, 2005
The battle for control of the Tennessee State Senate may very well pass through Wilson County next year, and county Republicans and incumbent Sen. Mae Beavers will kick off their campaign next week.
Beavers first fund-raiser of the election season will be Monday in the Tuckers Crossroads area at the home of newly elected county Republican Party Chairman A.J. McCall with a host of conservative and Republican leadership personalities from across the state scheduled to attend and support her re-election campaign.
Democrats have already identified Beavers' seat as their main legislative target in the Tennessee General Assembly for 2006, and names of potential Democratic candidates began surfacing this week, including 46th District State Rep. Stratton Bone.
Democrats made the case Beavers could be beat, citing a departure from popular Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen on the budget, pre-K funding and TennCare votes as issues that could hurt Beavers in her re-election bid.
"I'm highly confident that we can take this seat back," Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Bob Tuke said earlier in the week. "We don't think Sen. Beavers has done a good job at all in representing her constituency."
Republican leaders shot back Wednesday, saying Beavers' votes were in line with the wishes of her district.
"Mae Beavers is in line with the people in her district," McCall said. "She is anti-gun control and against the income tax. I don't think Mae can be beat."
"The Democrats are in dream land if they think they can beat Beavers with anyone who has been mentioned so far," Nashville talk radio personality Steve Gill said this week. "She is with the taxpayers, and she has been willing to go to war with either the Democrats and even her own party to protect the taxpayers. There are a lot of public officials who can say that."
Beavers dismissed Democratic charges on her voting record, saying education professionals in her district urged her to vote against Bredesen's pre-K education program with educators in her district calling it an "unfunded mandate."
She also said she supported a Republican amendment to Bredesen's TennCare legislation that would have maintained coverage for critically ill patients, something she said she learned from experience with her own battle with cancer in 2004 that was needed in Tennessee.
Finally, Beavers said Democrats were being selective about her budget votes, noting she had voted with the Bredesen administration before on the budget.
"I voted against the budget last year, because there were some things I didn't agree with, especially the growth in the size of state government," Beavers said. "The Democrats didn't bring up the governor's budget I voted for in the first term. It's ridiculous."
Beavers' fund-raiser is set to draw GOP luminaries from across the state, including former Congressmen and current U.S. Senate candidates Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary, Gill and State Senate Majority Leader Ron Ramsey.
Managing Editor Clint Brewer can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 13 or by e-mail at email@example.com.