For some, Tuesday, Feb 28 might be just another National Chocolate Soufflé Day, but to the Williamson County Republican Party loyalists, it’s time to pick a new GOP Chair.
The election in 2015 of outgoing Chairwoman Julie Hannah was a great victory for the conservative grassroots. Of the two candidates running to replace her, many activists believe Debbie Deaver represents a continuation of Hannah’s high-energy, principled leadership.
Party insiders agree the choice between the two candidates emerging from the Willamson County GOP Convention earlier this year is stark: Establishment-supporting, Moderate Tom Miller, or conservative crackerjack, Deaver.
Miller served as a Franklin alderman-at-large from 1997-2003, then was elected the Mayor of Franklin for a single term in 2003.
However, although Miller enjoys a nearly ubiquitous reputation as a “nice guy,” some Republican activists fear the longtime Realtor and Franklin resident will “do nothing” but take orders from the Establishment Party Leaders in Tennessee like Governor Bill Haslam, and Senators Bob Corker and Llamar Alexander.
“If Tom Miller is elected to the Williamson County Chair, we will go from being a strong conservative party organization, to simply being a big-government, liberal tax-and-spend organization,” said activist and Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips.
Debbie Deaver, on the other hand, has worked hard inside the Party as a long-time member of the Republican Women of Williamson County. She was elected to the Executive Committee and subsequently elected Chairwoman of the Legislative Committee, where she currently serves.
She also is a member of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women and serves on the Advisory Board of the Williamson County Republican Party.
In 2016, Deaver was elected to serve as delegate-at-large at the Republican National Convention with the support of 144,000 votes by her fellow Tennesseans.
“I would like to harness the energy Julie has created and take our message to the community. Why not reach out to our new voters with a ‘Republican Welcome Wagon.'” Deaver said. “Let’s invite the community to a monthly, ‘Lunch & Learn’ seminar. Every time an 18-year-old registers to vote, let’s, welcome them to the tent. It is up to us to create the next generation of Republican leaders.
“Leading the party is about the ability to see the future, create a vision – and articulate a plan others can follow,” she said.
“For those of us in the Tea Party Movement, Debbie Deaver brings to the table the ideas we’ve been championing for eight years. She will make a Spectacular GOP Chairperson,” Phillips concluded.
The election will be held Tuesday evening at the Williamson County Administrative Complex in Franklin. Doors open at 6 p.m. and voting begins at 6:30 p.m.