Disqualified TN-5 Candidate Files in State Court Against Tennessee Republican Party

Disqualified TN-5 candidate Robby Starbuck filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Republican Party and its state executive committee in Davidson County Chancery Court on Friday, May 20.

The official case name is Robert Newsom v. Tennessee Republican Party, et al and Davidson Chancery Court Judge Russell Perkins is presiding.

Starbuck is asking for a temporary injunction overturning the TRP’s decision to remove him from the August 4 Republican primary for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District.

This filing is Starbuck’s latest attempt to get around the Tennessee Republican Party’s decision in accordance with its bylaws and the state code disqualifying him from the race.

A hearing on the temporary injunction request is scheduled for Thursday, June 2, at 9:30 a.m.

Five lawyers from the firm Sherard Roe Voigt & Harbison are representing Starbuck in this matter. Eric Osborne is listed as the lead attorney. Christopher Sabis, Lauren Curry, Mark Alexander Carver, and Micah Bradley are also reportedly on the case.

On Friday, The Tennessee Star confirmed with former Starbuck attorney Michael Columbo of Dhillon Law Group Inc. that the Harmeet Dhillon-led firm based in San Francisco was no longer representing Starbuck.

The Star previously reported that District Court of the Middle District of Tennessee Chief Judge Waverly Crenshaw denied Robby Starbuck’s request nearly two weeks ago for an injunction which would have put him back on the ballot in the August 4 Republican primary ballot in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District.

After that decisive legal defeat at the federal level, Starbuck filed a voluntary dismissal request with Judge Crenshaw to withdraw the federal case on May 17. That dismissal was granted on May 18.

Judge Crenshaw, in his ruling, determined that all of Starbuck’s federal claims lacked a basis.

The judge cited in his opinion the Eu v. San Francisco County Democratic Central Committee decision, which had cited Ripon Society Inc. v. Nat’l Republican Party. “Freedom of association means that not only an individual voter has the right to associate with the political party of her choice, but also that a political party has a right to ‘identify the people who constitute the association,’ and to select a ‘standard bearer who best represents the party’s ideologies and preferences.’”

He further said, “Starbuck alleges that the ‘right to run in the Republican primary in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District is a liberty interest protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.’ The weight of the law is to the contrary.”

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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow Aaron on GETTRTwitter, and Parler.
Photo “Robby Starbuck” by Robby Starbuck. Background Photo “Tennessee State Capitol” by FaceMePLS. CC BY 2.0.

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4 Thoughts to “Disqualified TN-5 Candidate Files in State Court Against Tennessee Republican Party”

  1. lb

    At least Robbie is fighting and showing he really wants a shot at earning Votes in D5. As opposed to ortagus who basically just said ” Oh well, you arent going to GIVE me the Seat? Well, I’m out of here”…

    1. 83ragtop50

      I would respect him a little if he acknowledged that he was indeed not qualified under the GOP rules and then figure out a way to prove himself over the next couple of years. I have seen him in action. He is a glib speaker but strikes me as a spoiled brat.

  2. Dr Ken

    Yes, a fool and one’s money are soon parted. He didn’t qualify under Republican Party clearly stated guidelines. Perhaps next election he would qualify but that is if he meets all criteria. Does he really think he will prevail in the lawsuit? That is not going to happen, even if it did the Party is not going to support someone who is trying to sue them. Starbuck seemingly has some problems with judgment and common sense, not the type of individual we want in Washington. I would suggest he run as a libertarian, a green party candidate, an independent or any other party. The Party chooses their standard bearer, what is it that he doesn’t get?

  3. 83ragtop50

    Not the way to win friends and influence people.