2022 Legislative Candidate Information

​​​​​​Every election year, Tennesseans want to know about those who are running for office in the state legislature. We commend you for wanting to cast an informed vote and, to that end, we commend to you for your consideration the candidate information at this link.  
The evaluations at this link combine the thoughts about candidates from a variety of persons and organizations that ivoterguide.com determines are conservative based on an objective evaluation their work.  A list of evaluating organizations can be found at this link. While FACT might quibble with a few of the ratings, any difference is not so great as would cause us not to make the information available.
However, we want to help you evaluate the legislative environment in Tennessee. It explains why we stopped providing our own incumbent scorecard and answers to candidate questionnaires that we developed. Our process changed because politics in Tennessee has changed.

Legislator Scorecards

Scorecards reporting on votes by legislators became unreliable with a supermajority of Republicans in the House and Senate. Bills of interest pertaining to marriage, family, life, and religious liberty do not make it to the House or Senate floor unless passage is pretty much assured. That means legislators who worked to kill a bill in committee or water it down, will probably vote for it on the floor. That means their affirmative vote misrepresents their true values. Moreover, as demonstrated in the primary election cycle, it is easy to lie about what a bill did or didn’t do for the candidate’s vote to be justified.
Also, there may be two bills on the same subject and the committee through which a bill must pass before proceeding to the floor may vote out the weaker of the two bills. For a legislator who only gets to vote on the bill that reaches the floor, it is hard to give him or her a negative vote if the weaker bill is better than no bill at all.
Too often the goal seems to be protecting incumbent Republicans in one chamber or the other from hard votes.  What constitutes a “hard vote” is usually determined by the leadership in the House or Senate or perhaps the House or Senate Republican caucuses.

A “Scorecard” on whether marriage comes from God or Government.

However, if you want to know how solid an incumbent is when it comes to understanding that something like the marital relationship between a man and woman does not come from the issuance of a government license, you can look at who sponsored the Marital Contract Recording Act and who voted for and against it the House and Senate Committees that considered the bill. That information is at this link.
An incumbent whose name does not appear at the link may have voted for the bill last year if it given the chance, but he or she simply did not choose to sponsor it. No hard and fast conclusion can be drawn by the absence of a name as a co-sponsor.

Candidate Questionnaires

Candidate questionnaires increasingly go unanswered unless provided by an organization who has provided campaign funds to the candidate, or the candidate otherwise wants the support of that organization’s members. Few want to be clear on their views about controversial social issues such as those on which we work. Increasingly candidates concluded that social value voters like you did not constitute a voter block worthy of their time and consideration and completion of them provide "ammunition" to the opponent. 

Final Consideration

A legislator’s worldview and understanding of the nature of law are the most important considerations in voting for a candidate. Our experience is that scorecards and candidate questionnaires do not provide a reliable indicator of that. 
For example, legislators who killed bills we worked on for several years running to keep boys out of girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms voted for such a bill in the last session. Why? It would appear the political pressure was sufficiently strong enough now to require that they do so. Another example: Legislators killed bills prohibiting “gender” surgeries on minors for two years running, but now many of them are all for stopping those procedures.
In sum, until there is a way to get at a legislator’s worldview and do so whether he or she wants to cooperate or be interviewed, we will refer you to the collective wisdom found at this link.

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