Kelly Has Accepted Donations From At Least Two Left-Leaning Progressive PACs, Yet Still Garners Support From Some Republican Officials.
Published March 1, 2021
Chattanooga, TN – Conservatives across the city of Chattanooga understand the threat of UnifiEd and how this activist group has been working hard to flip Hamilton County from red to blue.
Kelly helped launch this left-leaning political operation in 2018 with a personal $2,500 donation (4/12/18) in addition to making multiple campaign donations to liberal candidates being endorsed by UnifiEd, according to Campaign Financial Disclosure Reports.
Despite this, and Kelly’s recent faux pas, when he mocked the death of Rush Limbaugh on Facebook, some state and local-level Republican officials still support his run for the Chattanooga Mayoral seat.
Tennessee State Senator Todd Gardenhire (R) said, “When I look at the person I support for an office, especially Mayor; I want someone that understands business and can be the best recruiter for industry for our region. Does he line up with me on every issue on the “Social” issues – probably not. On the “Fiscal” issues – yes. On the “Business” issues – yes. On the “transparency” issue – yes.”
Gardenhire states that he has been involved in the Conservative movement for 50 years and was elected as Republican in 2012.
“Chattanooga city elections are NON-Partisan where Democrat or Republican is not an issue,” said Gardenhire.
Regarding Kelly’s comment about the death of Limbaugh, Gardenhire said, “Mr. Kelly’s comment is one that I do not agree with and I have relayed this to him. I was a fan of Rush’s beliefs. I gave Tim Kelly and nice donation AFTER he made his unfortunate remark. This election is too important to let that stand in the way of someone I can work with to better Chattanooga.”
However, regarding UnifiEd, Gardenhire had this to say, “UnifiEd went all out to defeat me in 2016 and 2020 as did the Berke administration. This (UnifiEd) is an organization that is become a non-player as their real agenda of a Democrat front group and an arm of the local chapter of the TEA has become more apparent.”
District 2 Hamilton County Commissioner Chip Baker stated, “Tim is a businessman and he not tied to UnifiED. I have worked with all the candidates and he is head and shoulders better than any of them.”
However, according to the UnifiEd Action PAC campaign disclosure statement dated 4/24/201, the PAC gave contributions to Kelly Subaru Saab (Tim Kelly) in the amount of $2,500 on April 12, 2018.
Another Political Action Committee (PAC) that is promoting progressive officials to local and county offices in the Chattanooga area is Four Bridges.
Four Bridges gave $500 to Kelly on June 6, 2019, according to their Campaign Disclosure Statement, dated 7/16/2019.
Even though the city has no role or authority in Hamilton County school system, Kelly has surrounding himself and his campaign leadership with a wide number of loyal supporters and political advisors of UnifiEd and its radical agenda.
In a previous article The Tennessee Conservative published in October 2020, District 8 County Commissioner Tim Boyd had this to say about UnifiED:
“UnifiEd has a political agenda, and it is not to improve education in Hamilton County. It is to turn Hamilton County from bright red to dark blue.”
“This is not an organization pushing for better education in Hamilton County. It is pushing to change our way of life and the way we continue to do good things in this community,” Boyd said.
Whether Boyd supports Kelly for Mayor is unknown.
Other than UnifiED’s contributions to Kelly, they have made some contributions to the campaigns of other candidates that now hold positions of influence in Hamilton County.
From UnifiED’s Campaign Disclosure statement for April 2018:
• Committee to Elect Sabrena Smedley – $500 on April 11, 2018
• Committee to Elect Sabrena Smedley -$3.49 on April 21, 2018
(In-Kind value of “expenditure” of staff time plus in-house printing cost for campaign assistance to Sabrena Smedley)
• Friends of Katherlyn Geter – $1,010 on April 19, 2018
• Katherlyn Geter -$2,368.25 on 4/21/2018
(In-Kind value of “expenditure” of staff time plus in-house printing cost for campaign assistance to Katherlyn Geter)
• Randy Fairbanks Campaign – $750 on April 19, 2018
• Randy Fairbanks -$31 on April 21, 2018
(In-Kind value of “expenditure” of staff time plus in-house printing cost for campaign assistance to Randy Fairbanks)
• Jim Coppinger -$1,762.06 on April 21, 2018
(In-Kind value of “expenditure” of staff time plus in-house printing cost for campaign assistance to Jim Coppinger)
• Friends to re-elect Warren Mackey – $813.43 on 4/21/18
(In-Kind value of “expenditure” of staff time plus in-house printing cost for campaign assistance to Warren Mackey)
District 6 County Commissioner David Sharpe received a small contribution of $150 from Four Bridges on April 11, 2019.
He expressed his support for Kelly in a Facebook post.
The Tennessee Conservative reached out to the office of Tim Kelly for a statement on his ties to UnifiED but they declined to comment.