The Look in Brief

Lincoln project targets Tennessee legislature with ‘bullies’ ad

By: - April 18, 2023 1:41 pm
House Speaker Cameron Sexton on Monday, amid Tennessee High Patrol officers and gun safety protesters. (Photo: John Partipilo)

House Speaker Cameron Sexton on Monday, amid Tennessee High Patrol officers and gun safety protesters. (Photo: John Partipilo)

A new ad created by former national Republican strategists turned anti-Trump Republicans highlights the recent expulsions of two young, Black Tennessee lawmakers.

The ad titled “Bullies,” and produced by The Lincoln Project, will run for two days, targeted for appearing on phones and computers located around the digital footprint of the Tennessee Capitol.

“The example we saw there is a perfect encapsulation of the rising abuse of power from GOP officials who understand their majorities are threatened by young voters,” Lincoln Project co-founder and longtime Republican strategist Rick Wilson told the Tennessee Lookout, “by changing demographics and by how repulsive voters find their actions in the past several years.

“We’ve seen an entire Republican effort to radically overturn the will of the people and use the supermajority and tyranny of majority not just for anti-big ‘D’ Democratic actions but anti-small ‘d’ democratic actions.”

Wilson and Reed Galen, a Republican strategist, founded The Lincoln Project in 2019. The group’s first goal was to defeat former President Donald Trump at the ballot box, but has moved to trying to highlight the failures of Trumpism.

“One other thing you’re seeing with (House Speaker Cameron) Sexton and the blowback on this is they’re learning that doing these things in the dark can work for a while,” Wilson said. “But the unintended consequences are rising up and biting them.”

“There’s the professional consequences and the personal ones, and if you are Sexton, no way does that ledger balance.”

With a national spotlight on Tennessee, Sexton has been scrutinized recently for owning multiple homes, use of his legislative per diem and whether he lives in the district he was elected to represent.

The ad will also run outside Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida home; the Florida Capitol and national media bureaus in Washington, DC. 

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J. Holly McCall
J. Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.