Diane Black is hitting Bill Lee hard for his financial support for Democrats like Phil Bredesen, Megan Barry and Karl Dean. A new Black ad, “Burn”, specifically targets Lee for his donations to Democrats Phil Bredesen and Megan Barry.
Diane Black “BURN” ad:
You know the old saying, fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me. Will Bill Lee fool you again. The last time Bill Lee got involved in politics he pushed liberal Megan Barry for Mayor. She pushed sanctuary policies and gun control and we got burned. Now we learn Bill Lee gave money to liberal Phil Bredesen, too. Bill Lee’s the kind of Republican who helps Democrats get elected. Don’t let Bill Lee burn you again.
Now, electronic billboards by an independent expenditure group, Jobs4TnNow, have popped up in Middle Tennessee that are hitting Lee on the same theme.
Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill says Black has clearly realized she has a Bill Lee problem. Lee is taking voters away from Black and she has to bring them back. The biggest question, Gill has pointed out, is whether and how Bill Lee would respond to the attacks. “If he hesitates to hit back, or misses with his counterpunch, that could stall his momentum and collapse his support. Boyd responded within 24 hours when Black hit him; the clock is ticking for Lee to respond or slip back down.”
Lee has two new ads that respond to the attacks from Black that simply attempt to answer the attack rather than hitting back. The first commercial is simply an explanation.
Bill Lee “RACE” ad:
This campaign’s starting to feel like a race to the bottom. I’ve got an opponent. who wants you to think I support Democrats. Well, here’s the deal. I’m a conservative businessman. Ninety nine percent of my contributions have been to Republicans, and, yes, of course, I oppose sanctuary cities. But this race should be about leadership, decency, a vision for Tennessee to lead the nation. Never forgetting our values. I’d really appreciate your vote.
As The Tennessee Star reported, 99.3 percent of the $164,540 Bill Lee donated to federal and state candidates over the 19 year period between 1999 and 2017 went to Republicans. $1,200 went to Democrats, including $1,000 that Lee contributed to former Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2004.
As The Star also reported, Bill Lee donated $500 to another prominent Democrat in a local election, former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, in 2015.
The second new Lee ad is a bit more direct as he stakes out the position that he won’t go negative. “If at some point he ends up going on the attack himself,” Gill says, “he will likely see this ad thrown back at him. It does, however, underscore his assertion that he is not a politician and won’t do what politicians do. Polling in the next week will reveal whether that tactic is working.”
The problem for Lee, Gill adds, is that he actually did give money to Democrats Bredesen, Barry and Dean, so calling the attacks “dishonest” may be a slight stretch.
Bill Lee “ROAD” ad:
All these dishonest attack ads, they’re a great example of what’s wrong with politics. I’m not going down that road. It’s not who I am. It’s not what a leader does. I think those ads reveal a lot more truth about the person running the ad than the person in the ad. A person willing to deceive, say anything, do anything to get elected. Is that who you want as Governor ? If not, I’d sure appreciate your vote.
One of the biggest beneficiaries from the attacks on Lee regarding his donations to “liberal Phil Bredesen” is Marsha Blackburn. “She isn’t branding Bredesen as liberal, but the attack ads against Lee sure are,” Gill points out. “She should send the Black team a thank you note.”