In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said that her recent town hall was overwhelmed by angry people that were not from her district. In a list that was provided to Raw Story, Blackburn is incorrect.
“We had talked to people that were estimating crowds, and that is what they thought with those that came out for the event,” Blackburn told Blitzer. “There were some people who stood up to speak and ask a question and they identified themselves as living outside of the district. So, I don’t know who the reporter talked to. I do know that the first hundred people that RSVP’d had not put up the information on the city’s little website announcement that you needed to be a Fairview resident.”
Blitzer cited a video that surfaced online showing people in the crowd raising their hands if the lived in the 7th District.
“So, let me get back to the original question. How do you know only a third of the people who were inside actually were from your district?” Blitzer asked.
Blackburn said that she knew because people were overheard in the line saying they lived in different counties and out-of-state car tags were seen in the parking lot.
According to the list obtained by Raw Story, the information provided by attendees shows that they are residents of the 7th District. Organizers got the full list of RSVP’d constituents list from the City of Fairview as it’s public record. They then worked together to search for addresses to verify the sign-ups were from Blackburn’s district.
Rusty Gordon, who lives in Fairview, TN and was the first person in line for Blackburn’s town hall explained that the reason there were so many out-of-state plates in the parking lot was because they were all told to park in the parking lot of two local grocery stores.
“The only people that were in the parking lot were members of the media,” Gordon told Raw Story via phone. “So, there’s one lie there.”
Gordon said that when he arrived at the town hall the parking lot was already full of media and satellite trucks. He then showed his ID to Mayor Patti Caroll, who allowed people to enter. Caroll was the friend of Blackburn’s who called the town hall and called on people for questions, Gordon explained. Everyone was required to show ID before entering to prove they lived in the district.
At one point in the sign-up process for the event, anyone from the 7th District was allowed to attend. It was later limited to people from Fairview. So, there may have been people who were not from Fairview or from another county, but all of them were from the 7th District, according to Gordon and the list Raw Story received.
Gordon also noted that Caroll only called on questions she thought might be friendly to Blackburn and visibly rolled her eyes when there was a question that was more complicated. No person that raised their hand and asked a question was from outside the district, Gordon explained.
Blackburn was called out by the Nashville Scene after her interview with Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night. Blackburn said in that interview that most of the people at her Fairview town hall weren’t actually her constituents. Nashville Scene called the claim “bogus.”
The video of Blackburn on CNN is below: