Host Michael Patrick Leahy Dissects the Unseating of District 2 SEC-Elect Mark Pulliam and Encourages Committee to Appoint Him

Live from Music Row, Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy unraveled the misinterpretation of Republican Party state bylaws by the SEC in the unseating of District 2 SEC committeeman-elect Mark Pulliam of Blount County.

LEAHY CONTINUED:

A fair warning, your eyes may begin to glaze over a little bit as I go into this story, but I think it’s important. I want to bring it out, because I believe our friends at the State Executive Committee of the Republican Party [of Tennessee] have made a mistake with regards to their decision not to seat our friend Mark Pulliam on the State Executive Committee.

But they have an opportunity to correct that mistake, and I’m going to encourage every member of the State Executive Committee who hears this to correct that. So what’s the background here? Well, Mark Pulliam, as you know, is a friend of ours and is a retired attorney who practiced in California.

And then he moved to Texas and then, I think in 2019, he moved here to Tennessee, and he lives up in Blount County. He’s been on this program many times and he told you about this here on our program.

The State Executive Committee is a governing party of the Tennessee Republican Party. There are 33 state districts, and every four years there’s an election to select a slate of 66 members of the State Executive Committee – one man and one woman from each state senate district. Well, as you heard on this program, Mark Pulliam, who is a very strong grassroots conservative, a constitutional conservative, noticed that after the filing deadline, a Republican candidate had not chosen to run in the state senate district where he lives – I think it’s the 2nd district up in Blount County.

And so there was no one on the ballot. And so nobody had enough interest to run as a Republican. There’s a little quirk in the law that allows you to run as a write-in candidate. So when he found that out, he said, well, nobody’s going to do it; I’m going to do it. So he went in and filed all the paperwork to run as a write-in. On election day he got like 300 votes, but much to his surprise, the the State Executive Committee refused to seat him. And so he is not a member at present.

And this is the State Executive Committee , the old State Executive Committee . I think the new one is going to be set in this week, the ones that were elected on August 4th. That was the primary, the general election for this.

Okay, so what were the erroneous grounds that the State Executive Committee used to not seat him? There were two. One was, they claim he failed to pay a $100 registration fee. We’ll get to that in a bit. That seemed to be … he’s paid the fee subsequently, subsequent to the election.

But here’s the one where I think certain members of the State Executive Committee made a big mistake. They did not correctly interpret their own rules. Now, the supreme court here has said, well, they are the arbiter of those rules. Well, yeah, maybe.

That’s probably true, but I want to have everybody understand how this happened. So there was a meeting last week where they sat down and they said, well, will we accept Mark Pulliam? And apparently, there are supposed to be 66 members making that decision. Only 38 showed up and they voted against seating him, 25 to 13. However, one of the arguments made against his candidacy was entirely false, and I want to correct that.

And for those State Executive Committee members listening, I would recommend that you acknowledge that you made a particular error, and there’s an opportunity to correct it. I’ve encouraged Mark Pulliam to apply to be appointed, and I’m going to recommend that the State Executive Committee appoint him.

So here’s the argument. As you know, I’ve covered the bylaws extensively, back in the disqualification of Robby Starbuck and Morgan Ortagus in the 5th Congressional District that was affirmed by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

The bylaws are pretty clear on what a bona fide Republican is. If you’re running for [a public] office, you have to have voted in three [out of the four most recent] primary elections, statewide primary elections inside the state of Tennessee. It’s right there in the bylaws [of The Tennessee Republican Party].

But the bylaws are different for a candidate who wants to be on the State Executive Committee. And let me read from it and then explain. Okay, so we’re going to go to the bylaws. This is Article 3 of the bylaws, Section 1A. All right, eyes are glazing over.

Let me read how these bylaws read. “Each SEC member shall be a legally registered voter in the senatorial district from which he is elected” – Mark Pulliam is. “Prior to his filing, he shall have voted in the last three statewide Republican primaries in his county of residence during those primary elections. Younger Republicans who may not have been of legal age for three primary elections must obtain approval from the state chairman. Footnote one.”

Let me read footnote one. “Pursuant to the minutes from December 2011 SEC meeting, the phrase referencing, “the last three Republican primaries in his county of residence” was approved with the understanding that this would not require [him] to have voted in three primaries in the same residence. This allows for an individual to have moved from county to county and state to state.”

Okay, so let’s go back to sentence number two that I read there. “Prior to his filing, he shall have voted in the last three statewide Republican primaries in his county of residence during those primary elections.” Let me go down to the footnote.

The phrase referencing the last three Republican primaries in his county of residence was approved with the understanding this would not require one to have voted in three primaries in the same residence. This allows for an individual to have moved from county to county and state to state.”

Well, the objection to Mark Pulliam is that he’s voted in two statewide primaries here in Tennessee, but not three statewide primaries. Well, turns out, yeah, he voted in a statewide primary in Texas before he voted in the two statewide primaries in Tennessee, so he meets that standard. Now, I’ve talked to some of my friends in the State Executive Committee, and they have incorrectly interpreted the bylaws. Because the footnote, wait for this, comes after the sentence “Younger Republicans, who may not have been of legal age for three primary elections, must obtain approval from the state chairman, footnote.”

Well, the argument is, “oh, that footnote only applies to younger Republicans.” No, the phrase “the last three Republican primaries in his county of residence.” That comes from the prior sentence and it applies to all Republicans regardless of their age.

And so this was an argument made against Mark Pulliam’s candidacy. It was a flawed argument. It was a mistake in interpretation. And the failure to pay the $100 fee, there is some controversy about whether or not he was told he had to pay it, or did not have to pay it.

But nonetheless, the State Executive Committee now has the authority to appoint someone to that seat. I’ve encouraged Mark Pulliam to apply for the seat. I’m also going to encourage the State Executive Committee to appoint Mark, or otherwise, I think the credibility of the process comes into question.

I think he won the election, and because of a technicality and misinterpretation of the rules, the State Executive Committee did not allow him to be seated. That needs to be corrected, and it should be corrected this week.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Thought to “Host Michael Patrick Leahy Dissects the Unseating of District 2 SEC-Elect Mark Pulliam and Encourages Committee to Appoint Him”

  1. Dal ANDREW

    The SEC’s behavior on this issue is embarrassing to all Tennesseans.

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