Byrd to have GOP primary challenger if he runs again

Embattled Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) attends a House Education Committee meting in Nashville on March 28, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

State Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) will have a Republican primary opponent if he reneges on his previous pledge not to seek another term representing House District 71.

Garry Welch, a former city manager of Savannah, announced he will run for the GOP nomination for the seat representing all of Hardin, Lewis, and Wayne counties and part of Lawrence County.

“I’m excited to pursue the opportunity, and I am running for the office to serve all the citizens of the district,” Welch said in a statement to The Courier of Savannah. “As city manager, I was in Nashville quite a bit. I understand the process and think I am well qualified to represent the district.”

Welch retired in 2018 after serving as city manager for 12 years.

Byrd told colleagues before a recent special session that he wouldn’t run again amid moves to oust him over allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was their high school basketball coach in the 1980s.

House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) and House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) told The Tennessean it will be up to the House GOP’s seven-member campaign committee to decide whether to support Byrd if he runs again.

“Personally, Jeremy Faison will not be a part of that race,” Faison told the paper. “I will stay out of the race and leave it up to his constituents if he runs.”

6 Responses to Byrd to have GOP primary challenger if he runs again

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Byrd has an American Conservative Union lifetime rating of 82% which isn’t great because the ACU is regarded as being an easy grader. On the other hand, Byrd only has a 65% from the much tougher Club For Growth. Conservatism in the General Assembly could very well survive the loss of Byrd, I just don’t know that Welch would be much of an improvement. Hopefully, this primary will be fought on the basis of political philosophy and Byrd’s voting record rather than some ancient accusations of misconduct that Byrd can’t possible defend against. MAY THE MOST CONSERVATIVE WIN!

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      Perry Aubric says:

      Oh, Stuart, no one but you gives a damn about these silly artificially-engineered “ratings” from agend-driven axe-grinding right wing think tanks. There are plenty of decent personally moral conservative Republicans (and Democrats, too) in that district who did not pursue, harass and otherwise victimize little girls. Pick one of them, Even if Stuart doesn’t like their “score.”

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Perry, we’re not looking for a greek social fraternity/sorority pledge, we are looking for a member of the legislature whose primary responsibility is to vote “yes” or “no” so it is the primary responsibility of the voters to choose a candidate who can be reasonably certain to reflect their views. That certainty can best be established by checking their previous political record which can most easily be discovered by consulting the scorecard of organizations that reflect those views. This is very important to those who are definitively on the right or the left. Those in the middle – maybe not so much.

        As for who is “. . .decent personally moral. . .” and whether or not someone actually committed some act as charged decades after the fact, I’m afraid there is absolutely no scorecard that we can rely on for that. Besides, last time you opined about your “oija boad” methodology of choosing candidates I had twenty people who gave “. . .a damn. . .” about scorecards, now I’m the only one. What happened to the other 19?

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    Phil Lassiter says:

    Bye, Bye, Byrdie!!

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