Citizens for Better Government

Blount County Tennessee


Blount County Republican Party Excludes Grassroots, Conservative Republicans

On Tuesday, Feb 5th, 2013, the Blount County Republican Party seemed to declare war on grassroots and conservative Republicans by barring a large number of registered Republicans from a meeting to elect new leaders for the Party. Among those banned were State Senator Raymond Finney and current Republican County Commissioner Jim Folts. Even members of the press were refused admittance.

A formal complaint (click here to see the Notice of Contest) was filed with the TN State Republican Party against the Blount County Party for being in clear violation of the TN State Republican Party Bylaws. The Notice of Contest outlines gross violations of the State Republican Party’s bylaws as well as an apparent effort to keep secret, the time and location of Party meetings. Many loyal Republicans see the local Party’s actions as an attempt by the chiefs of the Blount County Republican Party machine to rig “their” election by preventing grassroots Republicans and conservatives from participating.

Local Blount County Republicans are growing dissatisfied with the local Party chieftains for promoting County candidates who refuse to address the runaway spending of the Sheriff, the Circuit Court Clerk and a few other county officials. Studies have shown that the Blount County Sheriff spends 69% more than any similar Tennessee County. The failure of the Blount County Commission, all of whom are Republicans to cut County spending has led to a situation where the County is facing a major tax increase in next year’s budget.

Most of those signing the Notice of Contest say they are saddened and concerned at what seems to be a scheme by local Party officials to bar them participating in Party functions, at a time when the Party is trying to rebuild grassroots support.