After Putting Union Interests Over Teachers and Children, Rep. Kevin Dunlap Loses Re-election
Union-backed candidates lose across Tennessee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 8, 2016) — The Tennessee Federation for Children PAC (TFC PAC) congratulates the legislators and candidates who stood firm in their support of school choice throughout their campaigns and won their elections today despite well-funded attacks from special interest unions.
In House District 74, TFC PAC commends Rep. Jay Reedy on running a family-focused campaign, despite well-funded attacks by the NEA state affiliate, as well as other labor union organizations. Throughout the campaign, Reedy reinforced his opposition to federal mandates in education, his support for school choice, and his belief that all teachers, union and non-union, deserve respect and protection from union intimidation tactics. The TFC PAC spent approximately $30,000 on independent expenditures supporting Rep. Reedy. Reedy won with 58.4 percent of the vote.
The TFC PAC also commends Paul Sherrell in House District 43 for winning a tough race against top union incumbent Rep. Kevin Dunlap. Dunlap was heavily criticized after taking several pro-union votes, even voting to deny non-union Tennessee teachers liability insurance. TFC PAC spent approximately $14,500 on independent expenditures supporting Sherrell. Sherrell won with 53.3 percent of the vote.
In a race with some colorful history, Michael Curcio won the House District 69 seat he lost by 15 votes in 2014. After a hard-fought campaign won only with heavy union investment in 2014, Rep. David Shepard decided to retire rather than face certain defeat this year. Rep-Elect Curcio, a conservative businessman who cares deeply about improving public education, will be a strong asset to the general assembly as they continue to push measures to reform education. The TFC PAC supported Curcio with direct contributions to his campaign. Curcio won with 65.7 percent of the vote.
Finally, TFC PAC congratulates Rep. Eddie Smith on defeating the Tennessee Education Association’s 2015 advocacy award winner Gloria Johnson, in theHouse District 13 rematch from 2014. As of this writing, he maintains a lead but Johnson has indicated to reporters that she may pursue a recount. Voters were reminded of Johnson’s prior years in the legislature where she was outspoken against any education reforms beyond the TEA marching orders. Smith won with 50.3 percent of the vote.
Earlier this year, the TFC PAC worked to support Mark Lovell’s defeat of 20-year incumbent Rep. Curry Todd during the primary election on August 4, and supported Reps. Mike Sparks, Jerry Sexton, Jon DeBerry, and Sen. Dolores Gresham during their re-election campaigns as well.
Statement from Tony Niknejad, director, Tennessee Federation for Children PAC:
“Tennesseans want courageous legislators who fight for their children’s educational future—not candidates on the leash of the special interests. Active citizens across the state stood shoulder to shoulder with principled candidates who have advocated and enacted meaningful educational reform in the Volunteer State.
“In addition to tens of thousands in unreported political ‘member communications,’ the National Education Association’s state affiliate spent more than $500,000 on elections this cycle. Slick talking points and misleading ads weren’t effective for their favored candidates.
“Momentum continues to grow for school choice in Tennessee. Just last year in Murfreesboro, the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women unanimously adopted a resolution in support of school choice. Nationally, every major candidate for the Republican nomination for President this cycle endorsed school choice in their education policy platform and the Republican National Committee affirmed its platform on Choice in Education as well.
“We look forward to working with all members of the Tennessee Legislature in continuing to enact bold reforms that give low-income children the opportunity to attend the schools that will give them the highest-quality education. TFC will continue to be the voice for children against the strong special interests that are only concerned with preserving their slipping grip of power on our state.”
Tennessee Federation for Children Political Action Committee (TFC PAC) – TFC PAC is a political action committee formed to educate voters and advocate for the election of candidates who prioritize families and parents in education policy.
Join AFC at our post election event in Washington, DC, Elections and Education, 2017 & Beyond, on Thursday November, 10th. Click here for event information and to RSVP.