Tennessee Has a New GOP Chairman in Scott Golden

Board Rejects Leatherwood

The Tennessee Republican party this weekend elected Scott Golden to the position of Executive Committee Chairman.

It took two rounds to do the job with the first vote for chair went 18 for Bill Giannini, 21 for Scott Golden, and 21 for Brent Leatherwood. On the second round, Golden beat Leatherwood 33 to 26 with only abstention.

Mr. Golden presented some ideas on how to return more authority back to the committee and away from the chairman.

He reminded everyone that the chairman should not be a dictator. He also promised open bookkeeping and greater transparency. He offered an open door policy and stated that no staff member will be involved in fundraising or campaigning for any candidates during primary season.

He offered that the party will avoid any appearance or activity that resembles taking sides in a contested republican primary. With the governor’s race coming in 2018, it is imperative that the Tennessee Republican party operate with integrity.

He emphasized that if the bill to enter into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is brought back, he will personally lobby against it.

Mr. Leatherwood was the executive director under both Devaney and Ryan Haynes. Earlier in the year, Mr. Leatherwood told reporters in October that the ” Tennessee Republican party is telling people to vote their conscience.” It appeared that the Tennessee Republican party was not supporting Trump.

Tennessee’s GOP bylaws prevents the executive director from making the statement to not endorse a Presidential nominee. This was cause for conflict within the party.

There were some that suspected that Mr. Leatherwood involved with the Strong and Free Tennessee mailers that were illegally distributed endorsing some SEC candidates and disparaging Republican candidates in primary elections.

Bill Giannini was the chair of the Shelby county Republican party and was appointed by Governor Haslam to the state office of Commerce and Insurance.

It appears that Mr. Golden will be starting without a staff.

As of now, Brent Leatherwood will not return as executive director which will bring some added pressure to Mr. Golden.

The vice chair position provided a stir.  Christie Cross, an SEC member and former party Secretary was running for the position unopposed. During the last couple of years she had taken the position that same sex marriage is acceptable even though the Tennessee constitution forbids it. She also endorsed an opposing candidate to Rep. Andy Holt in the Republican primary during the reelection  while Secretary of the state party in violation of Republican Committee bylaws. Several SEC members convinced Jennifer Little into running against Christie at the last minute.

Jennifer won by one vote!

The Treasurer was re-elected–Frank Colvett from Memphis. And the Secretary elect is Pat Allen.

This may very well be the turning point to a more conservative state. Some say it may certainly be the end of the DeVaney era.

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