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.
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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