Is the Williamson Business PAC Really Williamson Strong 2.0?
Ever since we saw the set-up piece in The Atlantic last December, in which Williamson Strong trashed our community and then began circulating the article to the chamber’s leadership and other influencers, we’ve had suspicions that the Williamson Business PAC is really a reboot of Williamson Strong.
Strong’s leadership has been temporarily sidelined by the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance’s $5,000 fine for breaking election law in 2014, so it makes sense that they’d try another tact. What better cover than to get a few like-minded businessmen and women to drive a PAC that funds candidates who fit their ideological views, while the conservative majority watches from the back seat—and in some cases even helps fund it?
The Williamson Business PAC’s announcement of the candidates it supports was pretty telling: Anne McGraw, Gary Anderson, Bobby Hullett, Rick Wimberly and KC Haugh are all darlings of union-affiliated Williamson Strong. In each case those selected by the PAC to receive funding for their campaigns appear to be the more ideologically aligned with Williamson Strong than their opponent.
But what sealed the deal for us was the language in a recent mailer put out by the Williamson Business PAC urging recipients to “vote to keep our schools strong.”
Where have we heard that line before? Oh, that’s right, the Strong Schools, Strong Communities theme that Williamson Strong and similar Strong groups across the country use. We don’t think this is coincidental. Who doesn’t want our schools to be strong and healthy? But according to Media Trackers, “Strong Schools, Strong Communities” is in reality a school-reform program created by labor unions under the guise of “grassroots.”
Since the Williamson Business PAC wants us to “vote to keep our schools strong,” let’s see how a couple of the candidates they chose to support have voted in the past. (Our thanks to the Williamson County Republican Party for releasing the candidates’ voting records.)
In District 4 Anne McGraw, who was perfectly fine with getting Williamson Business PAC money and has promoted endorsements she’s received from commissioners, is now whining about the Williamson County Republican Party’s endorsement of her opponent, Joey Czarneski.
In a July 19 Franklin Home Page article, Ms. McGraw is quoted as saying, “It’s unfortunate that some groups are trying to inject politics into a non-partisan race. I don’t think this is contributing to the culture of a unified community we’re trying to build within the Board and among our constituents, and I’m certain no one wants to see our public schools being used as a political playing field.”
A “political playing field?” Really? Is it possible that Williamson Business PAC’s funding of her campaign had a political motive in this non-partisan race? Let’s see how Ms. McGraw registered as a voter:
Choice of Party: Democrat. And Ms. McGraw is upset that the Williamson County Republican Party endorsed her Republican opponent. What a mean, nasty thing to do.
In District 11 KC Haugh, who describes himself as an Independent, had this to say in the same article: “We’ve seen how hyper-partisanship has harmed our schools, teachers, and students over the last two years, and it’s disappointing to see the same divisive tactics tried again this election.”
We’re starting to get some insight into how Mr. Haugh would operate if elected. (“Hyper-partisanship,” “harmed our schools” and “divisive tactics” sound an awful lot like Williamson Strong verbiage. Hmmm…)
As noted in our previous post, Mr. Haugh was endorsed by far-left Democrat Courtenay “I’m a supporter of Hillary Clinton” Rogers, who is running against conservative Rep. Glen Casada in District 63, and records show that Kenneth C. “KC” Haugh voted Democrat in 2012:
Stuart Cooper, Mr. Haugh’s opponent, is a solid conservative and an active member of the Williamson County Republican Party. Why is it “hyper-partisanship” for the Williamson County Republican Party to support candidates who share their values and are loyal members of the party? What’s really hyper is Mr. Haugh.
Such sour grapes from candidates who didn’t get endorsed are really pretty revealing. We didn’t hear any of the candidates who were passed over by the Williamson Business PAC make accusations or throw pity parties.
[As a side note, we’ve heard multiple reports of Joey Czarneski and Stuart Cooper signs being stolen from people’s yards, so apparently the supporters of Anne McGraw and KC Haugh aren’t all that confident they can win fairly, even with all the money that’s poured in from the Williamson Business PAC and other places to support their campaigns. No wonder they’re upset by these endorsements of their opponents.]
But of all five of the candidates the Williamson Business PAC chose to support, the one that, from our perspective, absolutely shot the PAC’s credibility to shreds is Bobby “Agree with Me or Move” Hullett.
This man is better suited to confinement in a well-padded and isolated playpen than to serve on our school board. During his term he has been condescending, bombastic and disruptive; he has lied about a fellow board member and refused to apologize when confronted about it by two other board members; and he has railed against a “perverted political agenda” without proof. Yet, ironically, one of the PAC’s key criteria for endorsing a candidate is “temperament.” We’d love to hear the Williamson Business PAC’s explanation of that.
The Williamson Business PAC’s gang of five, according to a press release, represents the collective will of the business community in Williamson County, enabling the business community “to participate in local elections with a clear, united voice.” Pass the barf bag, please.
Based on the candidates it’s endorsed, there sure seems to be some underground partisanship at play in the Williamson Business PAC. But, of course, the PAC’s liberal leanings have to stay below the radar as much as possible in overwhelmingly conservative Williamson County if they are to have any chance of succeeding long term.
We think the Williamson Business PAC/Williamson Strong cabal are counting on conservatives, especially those in the business community, to not pay attention, fail to connect the dots and snooze through this election. Who knows, maybe they’re right.
We’ll know for sure come August 4.