More talk on TNGOP change of rules for running as a Republican

A recent change in state Republican Party bylaws drew criticism at a meeting of the Knox County GOP Monday evening, but state Republican Chairman Scott Golden and Julia Hurley,  a member of the State Executive Committee were on hand to defend it and suggest its impact will be limited, reports the News Sentinel.

Under the revision, any candidate running for a public office a candidate running as a Republican must have voted in three of the last four Republican primary elections. The old standard was two out of the past four primaries. For the 2018 campaigns, the four elections are the 2016 presidential primary and the August primaries in 2016, 2014 and 2012.

But there are exceptions for someone whose credentials can be “vouched for” by an elected Republican.

The bylaw change does not apply to anyone who has already been elected and only applies to candidates if/when their bona fides have been challenged. If there is no challenge, there is no problem.

… A candidate running for any office can have his or her bona fides challenged but the Republican Party requires two bona fide Republicans living in the candidate’s district to challenge the candidate. Also new, the challengers’ names will no longer be kept anonymous.

Having an elected official be able to vouch for a candidate’s standing within the local party is the surest way to clear of a challenge and, Hurley said, a candidate being “vouched for” can override the voting and active party member requirements.

Golden said the state would put limits on when someone’s bona fides could be challenged. For instance, the week before an election wouldn’t be allowed. He said the state would research and rule on each challenge as quickly as possible.

State Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville, became agitated at one point in the meeting, complaining that candidates who served in the military, as he has, can’t always have voted in three of the past four Republican elections.

Golden said waivers would be available to service members who fit Briggs’ description as well as candidates who are new and voted previously in a different state or candidates who were too young to vote in all the required races

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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