Saturday, March 02, 2013

Report from the Davidson County Republican Caucus

Robert Duvall, candidate for DCRP Chairman, chats with a
caucus attendee before the start of the event.
This morning it was cold and snowing as 130 Republicans gathered at the Ed Jones Auditorium at the Ellington Agricultural Center for the biannual county caucus. The purpose of the county caucus is to select delegates who will attend the county convention. At the convention, party officers will be elected for a new two-year term. In addition to electing delegates to the county convention, the caucuses elect district chairman. The district chairman are responsible for recruiting party volunteers, recruiting candidates, helping candidates get elected, recruiting campaign workers, recruiting poll workers for the precinct voting boxes, and to assist their regional vice chairs in his duties. The 35 districts correspond to the 35 metro councilmanic districts.

 Chairman of the contest and credentials this year was former State Representative and Councilman Jim Gotto. The caucus went off without a hitch and everything went smoothly.

Jim Gotto, chairman of the Contest and
Credentials committee (Photo by Randy Foster)
Senator Lamar Alexander was at the event and spoke. He explained his effort to stop the Corps of engineers from banning fishing below dams. He said the water below dams is only dangerous when the Corps is releasing water and that this move by the Corps to ban fishing below the dams is analogous to keeping a railroad crossing arm down all the time. "The railroad is only dangerous when the train is coming," he said. He said the Corps policy to ban fishing below the dam is overkill. He said this is a good issue for Republicans to champion. Too often Republicans do not advocate for conservation issues, he said, but that many outdoorsmen belong to groups like the NRA and Ducks Unlimited and are conservationist and conservative.

He also spoke about the sequestration and said that President Obama had refused to show leadership and the President could have resolved the issue and sequestration could have been avoided. Rather than the cuts that are taking place, if Obama would have presented an alternative less painful list of cuts, the Congress would have approved it. Instead, said Alexander, the President held out for higher taxes.

Steve Abernathy, member of the
Election Commission leads the pledge.
 (Photo by Randy Foster)
Other than Senator Alexander, the only other elected officials at today's event were six members of the Metro Council who were participating in the caucus. It was disappointing that other elected Republicans were not present to show their support for the party faithful. With the busy legislative session, however, they may had legitimate reasons for being absent. Hopefully they will be at the Convention.

Also noted by their absence today were some prominent dissident Republican activist. Missing was Sharon Ford, the new leader of The Tennessee Republican Assembly. The TRA is a Republican faction that thinks they are the only real Republicans and think everyone else is a RINO. Actually many of their members are reasonable mainstream people (I was once a member), but the leadership of the organization never misses an opportunity to criticize party leaders and call for taking over the party and putting real conservatives in charge. Glen Hughes had been leader of the group for the last couple years, but he is leaving Nashville to take a job in New Orleans. Sharon Ford who has been second in command stepped into the role as chairman. They are not going to take over if they don't show up. Where was Sharon Ford?

Councilman Josh Stites, Senator Lamar Alexander,
Chairman Kathleen Starnes, Tony Robertson
(Photo by Randy Foster)
Another missing dissident Republican who I expected to be there was Matt Collins. Four years ago, he came within one vote of being elected chairman of the Party and was elected First Vice Chair. Unfortunately, Matt proved unable to play well with others and was removed from his position by the Party. Matt was a leader of the libertarian, Ron Paul wing of the Party. Matt is still active in political activity and heads the Tennessee chapter of Campaign for Liberty. Two years ago Matt was an elected delegate to the county convention and while according to the Party by-laws there was no legal reason to challenge his credentials, there was a planned attempt to challenge his right to serve from the floor. A floor fight was avoided because, due to a death in the family, Matt did was unable to attend the convention.

Me, chatting with Senator Alexander
(Photo by Randy Foster)
Also absent this year was anyone from the Hall family. In 2010 David Hall was the Republican candidate for the 5th Congressional District, beating out a field of 10 opponents to capture the nomination. Two years ago, several of the Halls participated in the caucus and were elected as delegates to the convention.

The convention will be Saturday, March 23, 2013 at the same place, the Ed Jones Auditorium of the Ellington Agricultural Center, 440 Hogan Road. Only delegates may participate in the convention but people may observe it they desire. The convention starts at 9am. In addition to the 130 people who were elected delegates at today's caucus, another approximately fifty people faxed in a request to be nominated and if someone in their caucus nominated them, they were most likely elected. Due to the threat of bad weather, an email went out telling party faithful that if they feared traveling, they could fax or email in their registration and then hope that someone in their caucus would nominate them. That is reason for the large number of absentee registrations.

Me, shamelessly promoting my blog to Senator
Of the people above who I listed as missing in action, they very well may have submitted absentee registrations. I don't know. One did not have to be present to be elected a delegate if they followed the established procedures and their caucus elected them. Since most district were authorized more delegates than there were people attending the caucus for that district, almost everyone who attended was elected as a delegate. If there were more people attending than there were delegate slots, the extra people were elected as alternates. To my knowledge, none of the caucuses had contested elections.

Senator Lamar Alexander (Photo by Randy Foster)
At the convention the delegates will elect the executive committee which consist of a chair, a first vice chair, a second vice chair, secretary, treasurer, communications secretary, and seven regional vice chairs. Several people have announced. Councilman Robert Duval and current First Vice Chair Dan Davis are both seeking the office of Chairman. Stacy Ries, daughter of Bob Ries, is seeking the position of First Vice Chair. The office of First Vice Chair must be filled by a person of the other sex from the person who fills the position of Chair, so assuming either Robert or Dan are elected to the position of Chair, the position of First Vice Chair must go to a female. At this time, Stacy Ries is the only announced candidate.

Seeking the position of second vice chair is current Second Vice Chair Tony Roberts and current Regional Vice Chair Pat Carl. I unaware of candidates for the remaining positions.

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