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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Shipley fends off Vaughn in rematch

Tony Shipley took 10,182 votes compared to Nathan Vaughn’s 6,262 votes.



Republican incumbent Tony Shipley rode a wave of voter discontent with Democrats and soundly defeated Democratic challenger Nathan Vaughn to win re-election to Tennessee’s 2nd House District seat on Tuesday.

The 2nd House District includes Riverview, South Central Kingsport, Colonial Heights, Indian Springs and Sullivan Gardens.

Shipley took 10,182 votes compared to Vaughn’s 6,262 votes, according to unofficial returns from the Sullivan County Election Commission.

Neither Shipley nor Vaughn was immediately available for comment late Tuesday night.

The contentious rematch between the two candidates featured negative TV ads, negative direct mail pieces and attack robocalls.

Shipley unseated Vaughn, who served three terms in the legislature, by about 300 votes in a bitter campaign two years ago.

This year, they criticized each other’s past legislative votes and tried to convince the public who was better suited to move the $100 million State Route 126 rebuilding project forward.

One House Republican Caucus robocall piped into district homes Friday alleged Vaughn tried to intimidate local TV stations into taking down an ad pointing out that he voted for “an $8 million party room” during his tenure as a lawmaker.

Vaughn had voted in the spring of 2008 to table a GOP budget amendment calling for a spending halt on an underground ballroom at Tennessee’s Executive Residence.

But Vaughn stressed GOP Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a member of the State Building Commission, would have been in a stronger position to act on that project.

A Tennessee Republican Party direct mail piece that went out over the weekend criticized Vaughn for “supporting Big Labor” and getting campaign contributions from labor groups.

In direct mailers and in TV ads, Vaughn was also tied to Democratic President Barack Obama and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In his and Tennessee Democratic Party (TDP) mail pieces, Vaughn was portrayed as an independent voice who is “pro-life and pro-gun.”

Shipley asserted he had stronger positions than Vaughn on spending issues and illegal immigration.

But TDP mail pieces said Shipley “gives us a bunch of political double-talk about his record” and criticized him for voting against a $700 million bonding bill paying for a number of local road projects.