Tennessee Majority Leader, Rep. Gerald McCormick (R) was caught stealing Frank Eaton, the Democratic candidate for TN-27th sign's in a public right of way on Saturday. He also cursed out Frank Eaton in front of his wife, Joy. It is bad enough to steal signs, but cursing is never acceptable or becoming conduct of a public official in the South, even prisoners, parolees, gang members all have manners and conduct in front of women - not so for the Majority Leader McCormick.
More on what happened below the flip.
Frank Eaton, Democratic candidate for the House District 27 seat, charged Saturday that House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick pulled up two of his campaign signs. Rep. Floyd said the signs were illegally placed "and I was doing the guy a favor."The signs were on public property in the right of way which includes 95' from the center line of the highway. The confrontation was heated and scary. TN House Leader is known to have a temper. According to Frank's wife, Joy Eaton on Hamilton County Democratic Party's FB page:
Mr. Eaton is not running against Rep. McCormick, but against Richard Floyd.
Rep. McCormick said he is a partial owner of a shopping center on Highway 153 and his company manages it. He said he spotted three signs in front of the center, including two Eaton signs and a treecutter signs.
This was a disturbing incident. Rep. McCormick got so angry that he turned red in the face, yelled some threatening remarks, and took a step toward Frank. In case you have never met the man, he is a burly construction –worker type. He was trying to frighten Frank. Conduct highly unbecoming a state lawmaker. But I was so proud of Frank. He never lost his cool, but he never backed down. He just kept asking questions to get at the truth of what was going on, why this man was jacking our signs, in broad daylight! Apparently, Rep. McCormick is not accustomed to having his feet held to the fire.Both Frank and Joy were left shaken from the incident. They decided to video tape McCormick when he called Rep. Floyd on what to do.
As it turns out, according to the property plat, the property line is 95 feet from the center line of Highway 153. In order for us to have been on Rep. McCormick’s property, we would have had to have put our signs on the parking lot pavement. If you look at the video, you can see very clearly that we are nowhere near 95 feet from the highway centerline but are well within the public right-of-way which, according to both the Tennessee State Code and the Chattanooga City Code, is a perfectly legal place to put campaign signs, as long as you do not affix them to a utility pole, traffic sign pole, or other public structure. In other words, this state lawmaker does not know state law. Further, he is not authorized to enforce (execute) state law—that is up to the executive branch, not the legislative branch.
Here's the video of Rep. McCormick in his Mercedes convertible:
Rep. McCormick is a good friend to lobbyists. In 2011, he told the Times Free Press: Lobbyists had busy year in Nashville:
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, countered that lobbyists represent Tennesseans who don’t have time to come to the legislature every day.Frank Eaton needs our help. Eaton works for Blue Cross Blue Shield in Tennessee. He is a strong supporter of our environment and the American people.
“It’s good for anyone to get their story in front of the legislators, especially the legislators that aren’t necessarily familiar with the issue. In that way, I think just anyone coming to see you would be helpful to their cause,” McCormick said.
Moreover, he said, “We can’t stop people from lobbying. I think the First Amendment makes it clear that people can come lobby, so we have set up a system where they have to at least report who’s paying them.”
Eaton at the Occupy Chattanooga group protested Rep. Fleischmann's fundraiser with Speaker John Boehner. Eaton has spoken for income equality and civil rights for all. He supports our letter carriers and unions. The AFL-CIO of Tennessee has endorsed Frank Eaton.
Rep. Floyd discussed the most important issue to him "the Bathroom Bill". Floyd refuses to debate with Eaton because he feels his district knows him and loves him. Let's help Frank win this and keep Floyd out of the legislature.
Update: Another video someone shared with us on FB.