County mayor drops Democratic affiliation after endorsing GOP’s Boyd for governor

Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon, twice elected as a Democrat, is running for reelection as an independent after complaints about his public endorsement of Republican Randy Boyd in the governor’s race, reports Tennessee Star. He had initially filed a petition to run as a Democrat.

Witherspoon, who has received some statewide attention by successfully pushing to locate a Tyson Foods processing plant at Humboldt after it was rejected by a Kansas town, was included in a Boyd list of county mayors who are backing his candidacy back in July, 2017. He subsequently declared in a Facebook post that he would vote in the GOP primary because Boyd “votes people not parties” and was quoted in the Trenton Gazette as crediting Boyd for helping land the Tyson plant and declaring Boyd “kept his word with me and I’ll keep my word with him.”

Nine days after Witherspoon filed his petition to run for re-election as a Democrat (in February), Keith Cunningham, chair of the Gibson County Democratic Party announced that he would run for Mayor.

When asked by The Star about his decision to run against Tom Witherspoon and his view of Witherspoon’s public endorsement of Randy Boyd, Cunningham said, “Mr. Witherspoon has the right to vote for whomever he wants. But out of respect for the Democratic party of which he claimed to be a ‘lifelong member’ I believe he should have kept his endorsement for Randy Boyd private.”

Witherspoon’s public repudiation of the party that supported him in prior elections, apparently did not sit well with its members resulting in Witherspoon changing course and now running for mayor as an Independent.

… Having left the Democrats behind as a newly declared Independent, Witherspoon may be able to vote for Boyd without violating the state’s voting law. Returning to the Democrat party or even flipping to the Republican party may be a tougher move for Witherspoon who has discarded all allegiances to either political party.

Note: A March Tennessean story on the Tyson Foods move to Humboldt after being spurned by the company’s first choice, Tonganoxie, Kan., is HERE. And, since Politico has suggested Tennessee Star should not be credited “without acknowledgement of its obvious bias” (previous post HERE), let’s add this just for the heck of it: The Star is not a newspaper; it’s a website with a design similar to that of many newspapers and it has a strong right-wing orientation. Star has frequently bashed Boyd for not being sufficiently conservative while posting articles much more favorable to GOP gubernatorial candidates Diane Black and Bill Lee.

3 Responses to County mayor drops Democratic affiliation after endorsing GOP’s Boyd for governor

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    The Tennessee Star is part of the Republican establishment and is bias, just as most are.

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    No question about it, a liberal Democrat can vote for Randy! Boyd without running into much, if any, ideological difficulty. That being the case, hopefully Republicans can see the necessity of voting for ANYBODY BUT BOYD.

  • Avatar
    Kay White says:

    I am the candidate who is running for Governor without the “MILLIONS” of dollars to spend. Fortunately, I have been invited to speak at many of the Dinners. I was a delegate for Trump and also the Director for East TN. for Trump as well as the TN State Director in 2012 for Rick Santorum, delivering a “slam dunk” win! I have been known in North East TN as a political activist for many years. This may be why I have been included. I announced last July. With this said, I have heard Randy Boyd, who by the way is a seemingly nice person with a nice, sweet wife – HOWEVER, his words should be listened to – he shared his GREAT ADMIRATION for Gov. Haslam (having worked with him as a city councilman in Knoxville and as his Commissioner of Economic Development) at the Washington County Women’s meeting. At other meetings, he has continued his comments about being a part of Governor Haslam’s change in our Educational system which included COMMON CORE (that part he leaves out) and the “DRIVE TO 55” program he helped to work on to spend more millions of dollars trying to get everyone under 55 to get a certificate or degree from a higher education program! BOTH OF THESE IDEALS ARE NOT FAVORED BY THE TEACHERS AND BOTH ARE COSTING TAXPAYERS A LOT OF MONEY! MONEY THE STATE OF TENNESSEE DOES NOT HAVE. Randy says he will finish the failed development in Memphis if elected which has cost our state BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND WILL COST MILLIONS MORE TO COMPLETE AND TO MARKET – Funny how they do not get the right contractors to bid and stick with their bids and make a mess of things – leaving our State with a HUGH LOSS! With that said, I do like him as a person but when he supports Governor Haslam, he is supporting the influx of Refugees which Haslam bought to TN, placing them in our housing, welfare and on our TN Care, the failed Testing which is the most horrible program which will cause many teachers to resign if this program is not killed, supporting Governor Haslam’s denial of the “Bible” being our State Book even though it is the oldest law book in our world! The list goes on that shows that Haslam is not a true Republican. He is a “RINO” and he has actually added to our State Budget BILLIONS OF DOLLARS that we do not have. TN IS THE 6TH POOREST STATE IN THE NATION AND 42% OF OUR TOTAL INCOME COMES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHO HAS TO BORROW THE MONEY TO GIVE TO US! This picture is not right! “BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER” – SO IT IS APPROPRIATE THAT A DEMOCRAT SUPPORT BOYD! Wake up Republicans – OR – have more of what you have had for the past eight years!

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