For some time, I've been curious about U.S. Senate candidate Terry Adams' decision not to respond to the lengthy, very well-crafted questionnaire Randy put together for Knoxviews. Gordon Ball responded. While some folks might disagree with one or more of his responses, for the most part, they were extremely detailed, and they do provide an extraordinary amount of information about his positions on many issues. Ball was not shy about giving responses to hard questions and saying things he knew some KnoxViewers would not like to hear.

On the other hand, it is my understanding that Adams (or a staffer) initially accepted Randy's invitation to respond, but then declined (after he received the questionnaire). So, I've been wondering exactly why Adams flip-flopped on his decision. After spending a few hours researching Adams' public positions and issues that Adams has failed to publicly announce, I think we have a winner.

I see Adams' website has tabs on the economy, Washington, veterans, and several other issues. I have watched numerous You Tube videos of Adams speaking in public and some posted by his campaign. I have scoured through his prolific Facebook postings. Unless I am grossly mistaken (and I don't think I am), I do not see anything about Adams' positions on the issue of abortion rights (or marriage equality, for that matter). I do know that a local Adams surrogate refused to answer a yes or no question about about marriage equality on a local TV program a few weeks ago, which touched off my interest. And I do know that I have attended several functions where Adams has talked (including one over the weekend) and he has never said the first word about abortion rights or marriage equality. I have been at a meeting where Amendment One was being discussed and Adams chose not to address it.

I know Ball has taken some heat for a couple of his more moderate positions, but certainly not for his positions on these vital issues. He responded to the questions as follows:

KnoxViews: What is your position on a woman’s right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy?

Ball: I do not want the government peeking into our bedrooms. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. So long as the termination of the pregnancy is safe and legal, women should be able to make this very difficult personal decision in concert with their doctors and their family.

KnoxViews: What is your position on marriage equality for same sex couples?

Ball: I do not believe the government has a legal right to tell anyone who he or she can or cannot marry. I do not want the government peeking into our bedrooms.

I think someone should get an answer straight from Adams on these important issues. Democrats deserve to know where he stands.

Somebody's picture

The right wingers and Koch

The right wingers and Koch Brothers are obsessed with these two social issues and will hit them hard in Tennessee. I think someone should get an answer straight from Adams on these important issues. Democrats deserve to know where he stands.

Correction: The Koch Brothers are not obsessed with these two social issues. They do know that they are wedge issues that obsess rank-and-file conservatives, and they encourage the obsession. This motivates that group of voters to not think too hard about the economic positions taken by conservative lawmakers that benefit the very wealthy to the detriment of the rank-and-file.

I don't know anything about Adams at this point, but it is plausible that avoidance of those issues is in the interest of not taking the bait on wedge issues that motivate the opposition. Could be that he holds the conservative viewpoint on those issues, but maybe not. Forcing a response to those issues is not necessarily to the benefit of a Democratic candidate in Tennessee.

It would be nice to have a truly left-of-center-but-not-extremist Democratic Senator elected from this state again. Trying to get there can be treacherous.

CE Petro's picture


It would be nice to have a truly left-of-center-but-not-extremist Democratic Senator elected from this state again

Somebody, while I agree it would be nice to have a truly left-of-center Democratic Senator, would you please clarify what you mean by "not-extremist"?

Somebody's picture

I'll leave that one to your

I'll leave that one to your imagination.

CE Petro's picture


one person's "leftist extremist" is could be another person's "true Democrat".

Don Daugherty's picture

A Pro-Life Democrat = a Truly Left of Center Democrat?

Somebody, I appreciate what you said. However, there are a few core issues that by and large force ordinary voters to go to the polls. And in a year in which Amendment One is at the forefront of the November election, in which the TNDP has hired a staffer to ram-rod the opposition to Amendment One, and in which women are being aggressively encouraged by Democrats to go to the polls to vote in opposition to Amendment One, having a pro-life Democrat nominee on the November ballot at the same time as the vote on the abortion amendment is going to be a hard-sell for Democrats. I mean, one issue that separates Democrats from Republicans is a woman's right to choose. We are primed to take advantage of that in November, that is, unless our nominee for US Senate is a pro-life candidate. And frankly, I'm not so sure you can have a "truly left of center Democrat" who opposes a woman's right to choose.

Somebody's picture

I'm not so sure, either. I'm

I'm not so sure, either. I'm just saying be careful what you ask for (or maybe just how you ask...), because you might just get it.

Erin Lonas's picture

I feel better


knoxrebel's picture

Good to know. How about

Good to know. How about asking him whether he is pro-choice or "pro-life"?

Treehouse's picture

False choices

I don't appreciate being locked into a dichotomy. There are many shades of gray in the issues around women's reproductive rights (she says as a woman). Forcing candidates to pick a side takes away from their other qualifications. If he says vote no on 1, I think that's good.

Rachel's picture



knoxrebel's picture

Taking advantage of the many shades of gray

I agree completely that "there are many shades of gray in the issues around women's reproductive rights" (I say as a man). However, I'm not talking about gray areas here. If Gordon Ball, a self-proclaimed Ned McWherter/Phil Bredesen moderate Democrat, had announced that he was pro-life and against a woman's right to choose (he is decidedly pro-choice), he'd be getting pummeled from the left for being GOP-lite. Yet, here is Adams, a self-styled progressive who has previously made the statement that he is "pro-life," and folks on the left are saying, "hey, don't focus on a single-issue, it's the totality of his positions that counts." To say it doesn't matter this year is hogwash. And just because Adams had the presence of mind to say "vote 'no' on Amendment One" doesn't mean he's pro-choice at all.

The fact is, Tennessee voters have a right to know where both Senate candidates stand on the issue of abortion rights. If either winds up replacing Alexander, he's going to have to vote on these issues, as legislation about abortion rights will abound in the 2015-17 Congress. Besides, they'll also be in position to vote on any judicial nominees.

It's a fair question to ask a Senate candidate whether he would vote for or against federal funding for abortion for low-income women or otherwise, whether he would vote to prohibit insurance plans sold in the new health care exchanges from covering abortion, whether he would vote to eliminate tax benefits for small businesses that purchase insurance plans covering abortion, or whether he would support the “Women’s Health Protection Act” (S. 1696) introduced last November to override state and local laws restricting abortion. The bill gathered 34 cosponsors in the Senate from November through May, just 17 short of a majority.

Will Adams answer those questions? He should, but he won't, because he doesn't want to alienate women and his "progressive" base.

Treehouse's picture


Me too.

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