Post image for Maggart: NRA’s ‘Negative Campaigning’ Led to Her Defeat

Maggart: NRA’s ‘Negative Campaigning’ Led to Her Defeat

by Andrea Zelinski on August 14, 2012

Leading House Republican Rep. Debra Maggart hasn’t decided whether she’ll make another go if it in 2014 following her recent GOP primary defeat in Sumner County.

The Hendersonville Republican blamed her loss on the National Rifle Federation and the Tennessee Firearms Association which “dumped over $150,000” worth of political ads into the race, she said.

“To tell the people of my district over and over and over that I am for gun control, which is a total lie, was very effective. People say they don’t like negative campaigning, but negative campaigning works,” she said following a roundtable discussion between Gov. Bill Haslam, legislators and business and education officials about improving higher education while at Tennessee Technology Center in Nashville Tuesday.

A review of contributions by political action committees indicated the NRA and TFA collectively injected $102,000 into the race.

Maggart’s opponent, Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers, enjoyed a 57 percent favorable vote to Maggart’s 43 percent to defeat the incumbent in the Aug. 2 Republican primary election. Rogers now goes on to compete with Democrat Jeanette Jackson in the general.

Maggart, who will serve out her term until the Nov. 6 election, said her loss does anything but call into question public concern over the direction legislative leaders are taking the state.

“Only then did it start getting people’s attention, and according to my polling data, it didn’t get heated until the NRA did what they did,” she said.

Asked whether she would run for reelection in 2014 to reclaim the legislative seat she’s held since 2005, she said it’s too early to tell what the future holds.

  • Tricia Stickel

    What the real reason might be.
    It seems perfectly principled legislators lose their way as years go by. Why does this happen we ask? I suppose different reasons for different folks. What I note is that people want to be on the “right” (and I use that word loosely) side of the power curve. After the events of August 2nd I urge us to consider again the Tennessee Constitution, specifically the House of Representatives, the representatives of the people. While there is a hierarchy to the party, consider the demise of following party over the people. Our representatives speak for the people. We will hope the Speaker of the House would also be the Speaker of the People’s House. We do not need a Speaker of the Executive Branch. Let’s have the Governor be the Speaker of the Executive Branch. While this idea seems a bit non-traditional, it is constitutional. If we do not maintain the checks and balance of our system the 3 legged stool will not stand. The chosen speaker need not be part of the club but rather a legislator that will understand and abide by the oath, a legislator that is familiar with our constitution (since it is the rules of the job), and that demonstrates a keen understanding of it. We are learning more about our Governor’s vision for Tennessee and while he thinks he enjoys a 78% approval rating. I believe the vision may not be aligned with “Main Street TN”. The people will continue to speak. We will speak louder when it is deemed important. I urge the campaigners to listen carefully to the constituency, be candid and honest about the platform and the positions for issues. We will note politically safe answers and will hold our representatives to commitments. And finally, the service our representatives demonstrate throughout the term represents perpetual campaigning.

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  • mickeywhite

    The Guns in the Emplopyees parking lot bill is the most Communistic piece of legislation introduced in the Legislature since perhaps the smoking ban in restaurants.
    Why doesn’t the TN Legislature support Private Property Rights?
    (communist plank NUMBER 1 , Destroy all private property rights.

  • http://www.blackroberegiment.org Robert Kilmarx

    Debra can continue to believe her delusional notion that it was solely the NRA that caused her loss but our experience in the district revealed something quite different. After several weeks with dozens of volunteers knocking on hundreds of doors, the NRA or gun rights issues rarely came up in our discussions with the constituents of the 45th District. What did come up was dissatisfaction with leadership and status quo policies in the legislature after gaining majorities in 2010. People were also very turned off with the vile attack campaign based on lies and falsehoods that Debra ran. I think Debra does a great disservice to the voters in 45 and demeans them by continually stating that it was this single issue that led to her defeat. In the final analysis it was a myriad of factors that came into play. Some people were dissatisfied with Debra’s leadership and attitude towards her constituents. Some were turned off by the negative campaign. Some were opposed to her actions relative to education and collective bargaining. But the key factor in my opinion was that voters were presented with an option of a candidate that presented herself as being more closely aligned with their values and interests. By making such a concerted effort to get out and meet as many voters as possible and listening to their concerns Courtney presented herself as being a superior candidate. Her record of service to country, leadership, love of God, values, morals, and integrity presented a far superior choice for the voters for a principled citizen servant.

  • mickeywhite

    Well is was that single issue that the $$$ from the NRA and TFA sent to the other team.
    Liberty, worth fighting for.

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