Page 57 - Cityview May-June 2017
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information, not to mention the fact that the family money is oil-related.
Prior to the 2016 election Haslam was talked about in some circles as
a vice presidential or presidential candidate. His youngish looks, consistent popularity, substantial election victories, and Republican standing made him a natural to be talked about as a potential candidate.
In February 2013, Politico wrote
on the “GOP star you’ve never heard of,” saying that “while attracting scant national attention and eschewing the camera-friendly approach of most up-and-coming Republican governors, Bill Haslam has amassed one of the most extensive conservative governing records in the country.”
Do other potential problems lurk for this somewhat quiet, potential political shooting star? Yes.
Haslam wanted a gas and diesel fuel tax increase. Tax increases aren’t gener- ally a platform from which Republicans jump into bigger campaigns.
He pushed for Insure Tennessee, what many Tennessean Republicans saw as a state extension of Obamacare. Worse than pushing for it, he failed to get it passed, which means he irritated his base for no reason.
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Following the release of a 2005 tape of President Donald Trump’s crude remarks about women, Haslam called on Trump to withdraw as Republican presidential candidate and allow Mike Pence to run in the top spot. Trump did not withdraw—and won. A percentage of his 61 percent support in Tennessee is likely to have long memories.
A rock-ribbed conservative with boatloads of cash could give Haslam
a race for U.S. senator if Alexander or Corker depart. Term limits will in two years end Haslam’s gubernatorial career.
A senate seat would keep him relevant for a possible 2024 national race.
Haslam has plusses, minuses, and options—even if the air in any direction is a bit thin.
George Korda is a longtime news media political analyst and the president of Korda Communications, a public relations and communications consulting  rm based in Knoxville.
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