Shelby County School Board Candidates Won’t Run as Democrats or Republicans


Members of the Shelby County GOP and the Shelby County Democratic Party have opted not to put up candidates to run for their local school board.

Shelby County Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips relayed the news to The Tennessee Star on Tuesday.

“Neither party chose to have partisan school elections,” Phillips said via email.

Phillips did not elaborate.

Representatives from both the Shelby County Democratic Party and the Shelby County GOP did not return requests for comment before Tuesday’s stated deadline.

Shelby County Democratic Party Chair Gabby Salinas told Chalkbeat Tennessee that her organization “continues to prioritize equity in public schools.”

“All of us, regardless of political affiliation, have a vested interest in the education of our children — they are our future,” Salinas told the publication when asked about the matter.

“We must work together to leverage the power of our government to ensure that every child, regardless of their socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, or gender has access to a sound public education.”

Shelby County Republican Party Chair Cary Vaughn told Chalkbeat Tennessee that he and members of his group “see no advantage or benefit in changing our protocol.”

More than 200 miles away, members of Davidson County’s Republican and Democratic parties, have requested primaries in May 2022 for the Metro Nashville School Board elections.

Davidson County GOP Chair James Garrett and Davidson County Democratic Chair Tara Houston requested these actions late last week. This, according to Nashville Election Administrator Jeff Roberts, who relayed the news Monday.

Garrett said he and other members of his Republican organization have specific people in mind to declare their candidacies for school board under the Republican ticket.

In November, a bill that would allow Tennessee counties to decide if school board elections are partisan passed both chambers of the state’s general assembly. State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) filed the legislation during the Tennessee General Assembly’s recent special session.

The Tennessee General Assembly’s website said the new law will have no significant fiscal impact on taxpayers.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “School Board Meeting” by Joe Brusky. CC BY-NC 2.0.




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7 Thoughts to “Shelby County School Board Candidates Won’t Run as Democrats or Republicans”

  1. C’

    Window dressing, perhaps? The person running will still vote on Democratic ideology.

  2. Dr Ken

    Common sense is starting to prevail.

  3. John

    This is most likely an effort to protect the RINOs in this county rather than expose the Democrats. This is a deep blue county anyway, just like Davidson. At the end of the day, they are all sleeping in the same bed.

    1. 83ragtop50

      John – Exactly.

  4. How else can you mislead the public, if you commit to one ideology or the other? Leave the scamming open to all sorts of possibilities. There needs to be a mechanism put in place, in each district, to allow for the removal of board members if (when) they screw up.

  5. rick

    Are there any republicans in Shelby County? Only Democrats could screw up a county that bad! “Lets Go Brandon”