Angela Beatonbona fidebonafidebylawsCandidatesClaire ReevesCyndi MillerDarlynne S. JordanDennis S. DriggersDiane CochranDonald FischerElmer A. MobleyFeaturedJennifer ApreaLaura GranereMargie JohnsonMichael CarterPJ Mezeraprimary electionRepublican primaryRick WimberlySchool BoardScott GoldenShandus ParishState NewsSteve AllbrooksTennesseeTennessee Republican PartyTonja HibmaTony BostictransparencyWilliamson CountyWilliamson County School Board

Tennessee Republican Party Reverses Decision To Remove Non-Bona Fide Candidates From Ballot, Allowing Them To Run In Primary

Image Credit: Adobe Stock & the Tennessee Republican Party

The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –

Last week, a few days after Christmas, a decision was made by the Tennessee Republican Party (TRP) to allow candidates who were previously removed from the Republican Primary ballot for school board in districts 7 (Brentwood) and 9 (Franklin), In Williamson County to be restored, and allow them to run in the upcoming primary as Republicans. 

Prior to this decision, both candidates’ statuses had been successfully challenged, based on TRP bylaws, which state that in order to run as a candidate in a republican primary you have to have an established history of involvement in the party on either a state or county level, as well as a voting record that proves you have voted in 3 of the last 4 Republican primary elections.  

Two other candidates, Rick Wimberly and Donald Fischer had already withdrawn from the race, however, their statuses as bona fide candidates had also been challenged. 

All candidates found not having met the required bona fide status criteria were removed from the ballot by the TRP at that time. 

However, appeals were submitted on behalf of Claire Reeves and Michael Carter, which were reviewed by a TRP subcommittee.

The Tennessee Conservative reached out to Steve Allbrooks who is one of the D27 representatives on the TRP, which covers Williamson County. 

Allbrooks stated that based on the consistent republican voting track records of both candidates from their previous states of residence, he felt they should not be kept off the ballot and voted to grant them a waiver.  

Allbrooks counterpart in D27, Cyndi Miller, did not agree with the decision, and voted to keep the candidates removed. 

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Based on a local report, TRP chairman Scott Golden explained the reasons behind the reversal of their initial decision to remove both candidates from the ballot. 

Golden said, “I think in the case of both Reeves and Carter they had voted out of state,” Golden said. “Our bylaws never truly sync up when we’re dealing with other states and how they do elections.”

Golden also indicated that because school board positions are newly partisan, application of the bylaws, which objectively have been widely considered to be esoteric in nature, application is not always clear. 

Golden stated, “There was probably a leniency knowing that this is the first time some of these school board seats have ever become available [in the primary],” Golden said. Going forward, he hopes the TRP standards are clear to candidates.”  

Golden added, “I suspect that we are laying a solid foundation that we want two things from our candidates. One is for them to participate with the party of which they are seeking to be a candidate, and two – we want them to vote.”  

Critics of the decision have indicated that due to the subjective and somewhat equivocal nature of the bylaws, they have been and continue to be easily used against specific candidates.

Others stated that if the rules can be set aside so easily, based on the arbitrary opinions of 12-14 people in a process that occurs behind closed doors, with very little if any transparency, then what is exactly the point of having rules to begin with? 

This issue will resurface again in the future as we head into 2024, which based on this incident, promises to be an active election cycle. 

The Williamson County School Board Primary Election will take place on March 5th. This year there are entire slate of new candidates except for one, Jennifer Aprea (D5), the lone incumbent, who is running in the general election as an independent. 

The entire school board ballot will include: Tony Bostic (R) and Elmer A. Mobley (D) in District 1; Diane Cochran (D), Dennis S. Driggers (R) and PJ Mezera (R) in District 3; Margie Johnson (R) in District 5; Angela Beaton (R) and Michael Carter (R) in District 7; Darlynne S. Jordan (R), Claire Reeves (R) and Shandus Parish (D) in District 9; and Laura Granere (D) and Tonja Hibma (R) in District 11. 

About the Author: Kelly Jackson is a recent escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers. She has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member.  Outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty. Kelly can be reached at

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