Tennessee Republican Party Removes Eight Prospective Statewide Candidates from August 2 Primary Ballot

FRANKLIN, Tennessee–The GOP State Executive Committee (SEC), the governing body for the Tennessee Republican Party, met in Franklin, Tennessee at the Hilton Garden Inn on Saturday and removed eight candidates from the August 2 Republican Primary ballot for failing to qualify as “bona fide” Republicans as defined by party by-laws.

Seven of the candidates had filed petitions to run for the U.S. Senate; one had filed to run for Governor.

Party by-laws require a candidate to have voted in three of four successive Republican Party primary elections, and/or provide additional evidence of service to the Republican Party in order to qualify. Additional prospective candidates seeking election to U.S. Congress, and the state House and Senate, who do not meet the bona fide Republican standard, are likely to be removed in the next few weeks.

Rolando Toyos

Objections had been filed with the State Party regarding at least eight statewide candidates, and after reviewing and confirming that the complainants met the bona fide standard themselves, the Political Committee, chaired by SEC member Jim Looney, reviewed the qualifications of the candidates that were the subject of complaints.

A slate of eight candidates were recommended for removal at the SEC meeting, including U.S. Senate candidates Darrell Lynn and Rolando Toyos.

Toyos attended the meeting and sought to speak in defense of his qualifications as a “bona fide” Republican despite having failed to vote in any of the past four Republican Primary elections. However, a motion to suspend the rules to allow him a one minute presentation (requiring a 2/3 vote of those present) failed on a voice vote.

Darrell Lynn

Darrell Lynn did not attend the meeting and had agreed not to contest the removal after having a conference call with GOP Chairman Scott Golden and other party leaders on Friday afternoon. Lynn explained that while he doesn’t like or agree with the by-laws definition, and the implication that he is not a “bona fide” Republican, despite his past fundraising, donations and other efforts for Republican candidates, he understands the action being taken by the SEC and appreciates the leadership and commitment of Chairman Scott Golden and other SEC members who are working hard to keep Tennessee in the ‘RED’ column at every level.

“I share that commitment,” Lynn said, “and was always more focused on electing good, conservative, business oriented and principled Republicans — and supporting and reelecting President Trump in 2020 — than I ever was on getting elected myself. I look forward to working with Chairman Golden and other Republican leaders to win races and promote solid conservative policies in 2018 and beyond.”

SEC member Chris Hughes specifically spoke to the fact that he had talked with Lynn and that he is a good, committed Republican who simply doesn’t meet the qualifications as a Republican candidate “at this time,” but that Lynn is anxious to move forward helping Republican candidates in Tennessee and devoting significant efforts to raise funds for Tennessee candidates and for President Trump’s reelection campaign and looks forward to working with him.

Another SEC member, Julia Hurley, noted that Lynn’s approach was a “very classy move” and that he clearly represents exactly the kind of person “we need to get more involved in the Party and our election efforts going forward.”

At one point in the discussion concerning removal of the candidates a motion was made to hold the vote in “executive session” with only SEC members present. That motion required a 2/3 vote and failed overwhelmingly.

The vote to accept the recommendation of the Political Committee and remove all eight prospective candidates from the ballot was approved by voice vote unanimously.

Tennessee Republican Party Scott Golden released the following statement:

The Tennessee Republican Party has always been an organization that encouraged new membership and involvement. However, we do have in place a set of rules for determining who we allow to run as our Party’s standard bearers. We want to ensure that the candidates seeking our nomination are active and invested in the Republican Party in Tennessee and today the State Executive Committee followed the process laid out in our Bylaws to do just that.

The next scheduled meeting of the GOP SEC is immediately after the August 2 primary election.









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13 Thoughts to “Tennessee Republican Party Removes Eight Prospective Statewide Candidates from August 2 Primary Ballot”

  1. […] 7, 2018 – Following its bylaws, the SEC disqualified seven candidates for the U.S. Senate who had been challenged from the party’s August 2, 2018 […]

  2. […] failing to qualify as “bona fide” Republicans as defined by party by-laws, The Tennessee Star reported at the […]

  3. Horatio Bunce

    “Another SEC member, Julia Hurley, noted that Lynn’s approach was a “very classy move” and that he clearly represents exactly the kind of person “we need to get more involved in the Party and our election efforts going forward.”

    Lol, I guess Lynn should hurry down to Legislative Plaza and vandalize some furniture so he will fit in with the “classy” SEC.

    Or maybe he could run some liquor-by-the-drink legislation for a district he isn’t a resident or representative of, like the “classy” chair.

  4. Mik Win

    Beware wolves in sheep’s clothing!! Sounds like Darrell Lynn perhaps isn’t one of them. We’ll see! I agree with the other comments on here as well. When will the SEC apply the same test to those already serving AND, close the Primaries to keep the wolves out!!

    1. Lance Persson

      The primaries will be closed when the state GOP Leadership decides they want them closed. Right now, Haslam’s administration does not want them closed. The state primary law states we are a closed primary and a voter must be a party supporter to vote in that party’s primary. However, the state voter database does not contain information stating a party preference, thus the law can not be enforced as there is no way to know a voter’s party when they go to vote.
      … What is so sad is that the current administration won’t do anything to inform voters of this law. When you go to vote there is no mention of the state law. Voters are simply asked which primary they want to vote in. They make it sound like there is no law in place and that voters can vote in whatever primary they want regardless of which party they support.
      ,,, Hopefully in the next legislative session we can focus on getting the party preference stored in the database so the law can be enforced. Of course we also need to elect a governor who will support this move. ASK the candidates running if they support open or closed primaries before you vote.

      1. Stuart I. Anderson

        Insofar as Dean and Bredesen have the Democratic nominations pretty well wrapped up, Randy! Boyd is praying that enough Democrats vote in the Republican Primary so that he is “first past the post” and wins the Republican nomination which is exactly what will happen if the conservatives split their vote among the other three candidates. Under the circumstance I don’t think we need ask Randy! about changing the very system to which he owes his election for no what his reply, I think we know the answer all too well.

  5. Edgar A. Lawson

    This was the second action in a week that will support a Socialist win in November. Blackburn’s negatives are 3-1. She will not overcome the Clinton and Obama operatives employed by Bredesen.

    1. Lance Persson

      I believe she will.

  6. Stuart I. Anderson

    OK, good rational move, now when is the newly vigilant SEC going to make sure that only “bona fide” Republicans vote in the Republican primary? HB 0887 and SB 0772 are just waiting to be passed so that we finally close the Republican primary.

    It’s only fair for me to warn the SEC, however, that without liberal Democrats and independents voting in the Republican primary a number of Republicans of centrist/tepid conservative ideology and/or disposition won’t experience anywhere near the electoral success to which they have become accustomed. That will make them sad! What to do? What to do?

  7. Robert Forbus

    So, when is the SEC going to judge current elected RepubliCON members against the party platform and apply pressure to either reform or leave? Not holding my breath…

    I asked Scott Golden a very similar question and his reply was “the Republican Party is a big tent”. The “tent” has plenty of entrenched liberal R’s inside.

    1. 83ragtop50

      But we cannot get a law to require closed primaries. Go figure.

      1. Lance Persson

        You have the law but it just can’t be enforced until a voters party preference is put into the state election database.