Following an incident between State Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) and the Wilson County Republican Party (WCRP) member volunteers at the annual county fair, WCRP Chairman, Terri Nicholson sent a letter signed “Deeply troubled” to State GOP Chairman Scott Golden requesting “that an immediate formal reprimand be issued to Representative Susan Lynn.”
WCRP Chairman Nicholson’s letter further requested that Lynn provide “a formal apology to our party along with an agreement that she nor her husband will ever behave unprofessionally or disrespectful to the members of the Wilson County Republican Party again.”
The letter from Nicholson, dated Monday, August 21, detailed the “altercation that transpired on Friday evening, August 18th, 2017 at the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon, TN.” Apparently, Rep. Lynn and her husband, Michael, were dissatisfied with the placement of various materials at the WCRP booth. After WCRP volunteers initially attempted to satisfy the Lynns by relocating various materials, the situation “escalated after she [Lynn] was not allowed to keep moving material,” according to Nicholson.
From there, the situation deteriorated with Rep. Lynn’s husband “yelling with arms flailing” that volunteers in the booth were stupid. Nicholson describes that “the incident was a complete embarrassment to the WCRP” and left a 73-year-old WCRP volunteer “shaking and crying,” Nicholson relayed.
In a statement provided to The Tennessee Star about the request from WCRP Chairman Nicholson, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Republican Party said “The Tennessee Republican Party is aware of the incident. However, there is no formal procedure outlined in the Bylaws and Rules of the Tennessee Republican Party for the issuing of a reprimand.”
Indeed, the Bylaws and Rules and Regulations of the Tennessee Republican Party addresses conduct of only the State and County Executive Committees and not that of elected officials who run on a Republican Party ticket.
Provisions for the removal of a State Executive Committee member of the Chairman of a County Party centers mainly around support of Democratic candidates. The Bylaws and Rules and Regulations also allows for removal with “cause” when it has been determined by the SEC through a formal complaint process and 2/3 vote that the SEC member or County Party Chairman has “engaged in conduct unfit for a member of that body.”
At the County level, the County Executive Committee (CEC) may follow a similar process for the removal of any member of the CEC, with the exception of the Chairman.
Following the Republican National Committee’s annual summer meeting held in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel last week, the Tennessee Republican Party held one of its required triannual (three times per year) SEC meetings Saturday. Proposed changes to the Bylaws were discussed and voted upon, but did not include standards of conduct or potential consequences for elected officials or candidates who identify and run as Republicans on a ballot.
The Wilson County Republican Party’s website includes this statement: “We hold elected officials responsible for their actions.”
State Rep. Lynn did not respond to requests for comment from The Star.
The full text of the letter from Wilson County Republican Party Chairman Terri Nicholson can be read here:
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2017 3:41:45 PM
Subject: Wilson County Fair
This email is to provide a summary of the altercation that transpired on Friday evening, August 18th, 2017 at the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon, TN. As you are aware, the workers at the Wilson County Republican Party booth are all volunteers who provide time and energy to make the booth both educational and effective. This requires many hours of working to equip the booth with signage and information regarding the individuals who have properly declared their desire to run for an elected office. Our executive committee and volunteers have worked together to make our booth a success.
On Friday night (August 18th) both Representative Susan Lynn and her husband Michael Lynn were present at the booth when it opened at 5:00 p.m. to set information out to provide to individuals stopping by. According to Julie Brockman, Representative Lynn had moved her information twice due to dissatisfaction of the placement of her materials. In an effort to provide better space, we moved a table to the front. She then attempted to move her information to the newly moved table. The workers at the time (Cindy McCornack and Julie Brockman) both told her no, she could not move it again. She was also unhappy with the balloons that were placed because she said they covered her sign and picture, so the balloons were then moved in an attempt to satisfy her (not an easy task I assure you). She was very controversial with our volunteers who are there working hard to provide information to people regarding all candidates. She was also upset with me because the individuals who declared to run for her house seat were allowed to provide information and signage in our booth. The problems intensified from there.
The incident involving both Susan Lynn and her husband Michael Lynn escalated after she was not allowed to keep moving material. Her husband became belligerent and told all of us in the booth that we were stupid. He was yelling with arms flailing when he said this. Our treasurer, Cindy Mc Cornack replied to him that we absolutely were not stupid and that he needed to leave the booth. He kept yelling and showing great anger that captured the attention of many in the booth and those surrounding us. He then stepped right in my face, nose to nose, and continued to yell how unfair we were to his wife. I did not back down and told him to leave the booth now. He said in a yelling tone “no” and I said “you will leave right now, Susan go get in the parade.” She walked away and Michael angrily followed her. The incident was a complete embarrassment to the WCRP and made us look as if we couldn’t get along. I’ve been told that the Lynn’s are constantly critical of the fair booth each and every year and our workers exert great effort to please them and remain fair to all the candidates who have provided us information and signage to display. Needless to say, they are never satisfied and continue to spout that we and the party are always unfair.
The belligerent actions of both Susan Lynn and her husband Michael Lynn are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. They upset our volunteers, one who was a 73 year old woman who was both shaking and crying because of their continual outbursts. As Chairman of our party, I will not allow this to happen while I’m volunteering my time and energy in this position. Michael Lynn came back at attempted an apology to our treasurer who was still upset and she did not want him touching her nor getting in her face. She made that known to him.
Fortunately, we had a member of our party who is also an attorney who witnessed the entire altercation that the Lynn’s committed. Any question regarding this immense blow up can be validated by all the volunteers in the booth including our attorney. Please let me know if you need a list of the volunteers who were witnesses. It is the request of the WCRP that an immediate formal reprimand be issued to Representative Susan Lynn, and her providing a formal apology to our party along with an agreement that she nor her husband will ever behave unprofessionally or disrespectful to the members of the Wilson County Republican Party again.
Chairman, Wilson County Republican Party