Democrat Crossover Voting Prompts Contest to Tennessee Republican Party Over House District 18 Primary Results



One of the candidates from the House District 18 Republican primary has notified Chairman Scott Golden and State Executive Committee (SEC) of the Tennessee Republican Party (TRP) that they are contesting the results, because of crossover voting from Democrats.

A member of the SEC, who wished to remain unnamed until it was discussed with the chairman, provided The Tennessee Star with a copy of the emailed letter from House District 18 Republican primary candidate Gina Oster dated August 18.

In the two-way race, Oster lost the August 6 Republican primary bid to Eddie Mannis by a mere 99 votes.

With a total of 6,833 votes cast in the race, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State, the 99 vote difference represents 1.45 percent.

A third candidate, SEC member James Corcoran, withdrew from the House District 18 Republican primary after Mannis was deemed to be a bona fide Republican by the party chairman, The Star reported.

The basis for Oster’s contest is set out in state law under T.C.A. 2-17-104 as well as the Rules and Regulations contained within the Bylaws of the TRP.

Oster maintains that the number of votes by Democrats, based on their voting history in the previous four primaries dating back to March 2016, surpassed the margin of Mannis’ victory.

The SEC voted overwhelmingly in December 2018 for closing the primaries, Oster pointed out, “to prevent Democrats from deciding the outcomes of Republican primaries.”

In 2019, two bills were filed in the Tennessee General Assembly in response to the SEC vote.

The “Political Party Registration Act” filed under HB 1273 / SB 1500 was sponsored by Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) and Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald), respectively, and HB 1398 / SB 1303, sponsored by Rep. Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro) and Sen. Mark Pody (R-Lebanon), would require a person to declare a statewide political party affiliation before voting in a primary election.

Both failed in the House Local Committee before being taken up by the Senate State and Local Government Committee.

Functioning as the state Republican Primary Board “with the power to correct this wrong,” Oster asked the SEC to “prevent the Democrats from deciding the outcome of the District 18 Republican primary.”

The next meeting of the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee, during which Oster’s contest is expected to be taken up, is Saturday, August 29 at 2:30 p.m. at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, 700 Cool Springs Blvd., Franklin.

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Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.
Photo “Gina Oster” by Knoxville County Republican Pary. 








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5 Thoughts to “Democrat Crossover Voting Prompts Contest to Tennessee Republican Party Over House District 18 Primary Results”

  1. Antonio Estabon

    Gina Oster is a damn liar and a hypocrite. When demoncrats crossed over to help defeat Stacey Campfield in his reelection bid against Richard Briggs, Gina Oster was in favor of open primaries back then and she said so herself.

  2. 83ragtop50

    Three or more years ago I questioned my rep concerning why the legislature did not pass legislation closing the primaries. He told me that it should be done by the Tennessee Republican Party not the legislature.

    So how does it really work?

  3. Ron Welch

    If the State and counties are paying for elections, they cannot restrict who votes. If the Democratic and Republican parties want to restrict voters in their primaries to those registered in their parties, then they should fund those elections.

  4. Bob

    HB1273: Voting against the bill were Republicans Kent Calfee (R-Kingston), Dale Carr (R-Sevierville), John Crawford (R-Kingsport), Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), Esther Helton (R-East Ridge), Jerome Moon (R-Maryville), Bob Ramsey (R-Maryville), Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg), Ron Travis (R-Dayton) and Dave Wright (R-Corryton) along with Democrats Bob Freeman (D-Nashville), Yusuf Hakeem (D-Chattanooga), Gloria Johnson (R-Knoxville) and London Lamar (D-Memphis).

  5. Sherrie Orange

    I love Laura’s type of reporting. She reports facts and does not slant or pervert those facts. She lets the reader decide. I find that so refreshing!