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Seasoned lawmaker backs Lynn
Jul 02, 2004 12:00 am
Sumner County State Rep. Diane Black does not want her fellow Republican House member from Wilson County to go.
That is the message Black, one of the state's more high-profile female GOP members, sent this week in making her support for incumbent 57th District Rep. Susan Lynn known.
"I would tell anyone who asked me that Susan Lynn has done a fine job," Black told The Lebanon Democrat on Wednesday. "I don't see any reason to replace her."
Black's comments came in the wake of a direct mail piece sent out last week by Lynn's GOP primary opponent, Mt. Juliet's Tom Wood.
The piece references Black, comparing Wood to the veteran lawmaker.
"Tom Wood is also a true conservative Republican in the spirit of our local leaders, Mae Beavers and Diane Black," the piece reads.
The 57th District encompasses West Wilson County and parts of Lebanon as well as a small but affluent corner of Sumner County. The district borders Black's district. Beavers' district also reaches into Sumner County.
Black said she was "disappointed" about the mailer, saying she intended to speak to Wood about the use of her name.
"I really don't feel very comfortable with that," Black said of the use of her name in the mail piece. "I really don't have any negatives to say about Susan Lynn."
The Lynn/Wood matchup has turned contentious in recent weeks.
Wood's mail piece challenges Lynn's conservative credentials and casts her as a "divisive" personality.
In turn, Lynn unveiled the endorsement of her re-election campaign by the Tennessee Right to Life organization, the state's premier pro-life group.
Lynn has also been under attack from State Sen. Mae Beavers who in a written release accused Lynn and her supporters of speaking openly about running for Beavers' seat in 2006 – a charge Lynn denied. Beavers has been battling breast cancer.
Wood and Beavers also share some supporters and campaign staff, including nationally recognized GOP campaign consultant Darren Morris. Morris also managed the campaign of Lynn's 2002 GOP primary opponent Bobby Joslin as well as Beaver's successful 2002 race against Sherry Fisher.
Black is at the center of attention presently in statewide politics, challenging Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jo Ann Graves, a Sumner County Democrat, for the 18th District Senate Seat.
In a written statement, Wood said he didn't intend to offend Black. He also suggested Black might do better to focus on her own Senate bid.
"I am sorry if Diane Black is offended by my compliments toward her as I think she is very much a good conservative leader as my mail piece implied and stated and I think she would be a great senator for Tennessee," Wood said. " … I think quite frankly she needs to focus on her own Senate race because I understand it will be a very difficult one for her to win, and I want her to win that in hopes of gaining a majority in the Senate. The bottom line on this state representative race is that regardless of who wins, it will still be a very conservative Republican."
Wood also took the opportunity to expand his criticisms of Lynn.
"I stand by my mail piece and think it is a very accurate characterization of Susan Lynn's failure of leadership, her divisive nature and the fact she listens to others rather than the people of her district," Wood said.
Lynn said she was thankful for Black's support.
"Diane Black was one of my closest friends in the Legislature," Lynn said. "She has been my mentor."
Lynn also dismissed the early negative tone of the Wood mailer, saying it was a "predictable" campaign tactic.
"The only way to unseat an incumbent who no one has had any serious complaints about is to go negative," Lynn said. "This is a predictable avenue for them to take."
Managing Editor Clint Brewer can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 13 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org