Boss Doss Thumped in 70th State House District GOP Primary Loss

Tennessee Star

The state legislator who broke the rules of the Tennessee House of Representatives to jam through Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase in 2017 has been sent packing by voters in the 70th State House District.

State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma) was thumped at the ballot box by political newcomer Clay Doggett on Thursday.

According to results reported by the Tennessee Secretary of State as of 11:59 pm Thursday, Doggett easily defeated Doss in the Republican primary in the 70th State House District, 55 percent to 44 percent, an 11 point margin of victory.

Doggett received 4,490 votes, while Doss received 3,584 votes in the GOP primary. He will now face Jessica B. Yokley, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, in the November general election.

Complete final results have not yet been reported.

The Tennessee Star documented in great detail all of the maneuvering and legislative sleight of hand deployed by Doss in 2017 to push through Gov. Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, which raised the gas tax by 6 cents per gallon and the diesel tax by 10 cents per gallon. The bill also authorized the 12 largest counties in the state to use the referendum process to increase local taxes to fund mass transit projects. It was under the authority granted by the IMPROVE Act that disgraced former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry proposed her $9 billion transit plan that was rejected by voters resoundingly in a May 1 referendum.

In March 2017, The Star was in the committee room at the State Capitol when Doss pushed through the IMPROVE Act:

In a stunning abuse of power, State Rep. Barry Doss (R-Leoma) broke a long-standing rule of the Tennessee House of Representatives to ram an amended version of Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase through the House Transportation Committee he chairs on Tuesday.

A bill containing the new and improved IMPROVE Act amendment, which restores many of the elements of Gov. Haslam’s original gas tax increase proposal, passed the House Transportation Committee in an 11 to 7 vote, but that outcome could not have taken place on Tuesday had not Chairman Doss broken Rule 34 of the Tennessee House of Representatives.

All eighteen members of the House Transportation Committee were present when the hearing convened on Tuesday.
Rule 34 of the Tennessee House of Representatives allows any member the privilege of “separating the question” when an amendment is added to a bill that is up for consideration.

A key element of Rule 34–which is known to every member of the House–is that it is a “privilege” that can be exercised without question whenever a member invokes it in a committee hearing. It is not a “motion,” which is subject to a vote of the committee.

Every chairman of every committee in the Tennessee House of Representatives, including Rep. Doss, is well aware that Rule 34 is a privilege, not a motion, which cannot be subjected to a vote once it is invoked by a member.

With just a few minutes remaining in the House Transportation Committee meeting to vote on the amendment referred to by co-sponsor Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) as the “new and improved IMPROVE Act,” Chairman Doss, who said he was “committed to get this vote out one way or the other,” broke the House rules to get the vote on the governor’s bill out.

When Clay Doggett, a political newcomer, launched his underdog bid to unseat Doss later that year, The Star was there:

PULASKI, Tennessee – Grassroots conservative candidate Clay Doggett announced his run Monday for Tennessee House District 70, a seat currently held by the chief promoter of the gas-tax increasing IMPROVE Act, Barry “Boss” Doss.

Doggett said of his decision to run that, like so many others before him, he was resolved “to stand up and protect the freedoms and liberties we now enjoy.”

While Barry Doss’s role as champion of the IMPROVE Act, breaking rules and renaming it the Tax Cut Act of 2017, calls for an ethics investigation, and, subsequent to the passage of the Act, his provocative road work and front-row support of Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s $5.2 billion transit plan would have been an easy target for Doggett, he instead stayed remarkably focused on his own positions and qualifications.

A Giles County native, Doggett made his announcement at the Staar Theater in the county seat of downtown Pulaski after an eloquent and touching introduction by his six-year-old son, Coell. While there were about 100 people in attendance at the historic venue, one could nearly hear a pin drop as the audience listened intently to Doggett’s message.

A key factor in Doggett’s victory was the critical early financial support from the Roving Patriots PAC, which donated the maximum $7,800 to his campaign just one day after it launched.



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11 Thoughts to “Boss Doss Thumped in 70th State House District GOP Primary Loss”

  1. […] committee in the Tennessee House of Representatives, State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss, was accused by some of breaking the chamber’s rules so he could “ram” through the gas tax increase. He ended up […]

  2. […] House Transportation Chairman who jammed through the fuel tax increase in violation of House rules, was defeated in his reelection bid in the August primary by Clay Doggett.  Another Republican incumbent who […]

  3. Dal ANDREW

    Defeat of Dass is Tennesseans’ rejection of excess taxation to support/maintain bloated government. Obviously it is time for Tennessee Taxpayers Relief (TTR)

  4. Dal ANDREW

    Doss gone is another indication. Time has come for Tennessee Taxpayer Relief (TTR).

  5. […] Tennessee Star published a story 18 minutes later at 12:17 a.m. that, according to the results posted at the Tennessee Secretary of State’s […]

  6. 83ragtop50

    One down and several more to go.

  7. Ron W

    ALL candidates for State elected positions should be asked and it be demanded that they READ and HEED the State Constitution’s Declaration of Rights in Article I. The first two sections, in particular, may give them pause IF they are not willing to serve under lawful authority and delegated powers:

    Section 1. That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; for the advancement of those ends they have at all times, an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.

    Section 2. That government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

  8. lb

    This crook and Diane Harwell both got embarrassed–the people of TN arent stupid and if you treat us that way, we will remember and you will be unseated

  9. Silence Dogood

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. Buh bye Doss. Harwell has been rejected. Boyd has been trash heaped. And the Conservative movement lead by President Donald Trump marches on in Tennessee! The Tennessee legislature needs to note these actions by the electorate. And be careful. MAGA!!

  10. Concerned Citizen


    Just a quick correction, Clay won by 300 votes in a much tighter margin than represented here. Just want the facts to be correct.

    1. John Bumpus

      300 votes? That’s o.k.

      Do you know what they call a State Representative who wins by just one vote?

      They call him, ‘Mr. State Representative!’