- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Tenn. AG Bob Cooper to seek another 8-year term

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper announced Monday he will seek another eight-year term after three fellow Democrats fended off a conservative challenge and held onto their spots on the state Supreme Court, which appoints the state’s top attorney.

Cooper, a former aide to then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, had not divulged his plans before last week’s election.

“Tennesseans sent a clear message last week that they want an independent, nonpartisan judicial branch,” Cooper said a release. “That is how I have run the Attorney General’s office over the last eight years, and I am proud of our many accomplishments. I am strongly convinced the office must continue in this direction.”

Tennessee is the only state in the country where the Supreme Court appoints the attorney general.



Republicans hold vast majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, and some leaders like Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey hoped to oust at least one of the justices to give the GOP a majority on the five-member court - and control of naming the next attorney general.

Cooper had drawn the ire of some Republicans for advising them against aggressive redistricting maps and for refusing to join a multi-state lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s health care law. Cooper’s term expires at the end of the month.

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Vote count deadline in Tenn. primary impasse

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - With scandal-plagued U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais holding a razor-thin lead, election officials Monday examined the provisional ballots in a too-close-to-call Republican primary whose final outcome may not be known for weeks.

There is no official figure yet on the number of ballots to be added to the overall count from Thursday’s election. But a county-by-county rundown by The Associated Press in DesJarlais’ district indicated no more than a few dozen provisional ballots in the mix - suggesting that challenger state Sen. Jim Tracy would need the lion’s share of the votes to overcome the current 35-vote gap, according to unofficial results.

Voters who cast ballots in the race have until the close of the business day Monday to present proper identification so their votes count. Election officials also said it could take days to research whether some voters who cast provisional ballots were legitimately registered in spite of not being listed as eligible to vote.

Both DesJarlais and Tracy have declared themselves the winner of the primary, and both have hired attorneys for possible recount challenges.

The results of the election have to be certified by Aug. 25. The losing candidate will have up to five days to file a challenge, said Blake Fontenay, a spokesman for the Tennessee Secretary of State.

“(The Republican State Executive Committee) would decide whether or not to hear the challenge, and if they were to hear the challenge they would decide what the appropriate action to take would be,” said Fontenay.

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Georgia State Patrol probing fatal I-75 crash

VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) - Georgia State Patrol officials say four people were killed in a series of crashes on a stretch of Interstate 75 near Valdosta.

The Valdosta Daily Times reports troopers were responding to one crash involving two vehicles Sunday night when a tractor-trailer sparked a second crash that involved eight vehicles.

Authorities say a Florida man, a Tennessee couple and their 3-year-old granddaughter were killed in the second crash.

Troopers say a vehicle in one of the freeway’s southbound lanes blew a tire and the driver lost control, hit the median and was hit by another car. Authorities say a 21-year-old Tallahassee, Florida man and six people from Jacksonville, Florida were hospitalized in that crash.

Georgia State Patrol Cpl. Peter Lukas tells WALB-TV the crashes are under investigation.

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Summerville resigns from Republican Caucus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Sen. Jim Summerville has resigned from the Republican Caucus following a loss in last week’s election primary.

In an August 9 letter to Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron, Summerville said he will be serving as an independent member of the Senate for the remainder of his term and asked that his resignation be effective immediately.

With all precincts reporting in District 25, former Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield had 9,832 votes, or 42 percent, compared with Summerville’s 3,700 votes, or 16 percent.

Summerville is known for his controversial legislation, as well as comments concerning his own GOP colleagues.

Last year, he proposed a measure to eliminate affirmative action initiatives from higher education institutions in Tennessee. After the legislation failed, Summerville threatened GOP lawmakers who voted against it, saying they would face repercussions in this year’s election.

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