Update: Dems force vote, abstain on re-election of Secretary of State Hargett

Secretary of State Tre Hargett speaks with Rep. Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) before Gov. Bill Haslam’s final State of the State address on Jan. 29, 2018 in Nashville. (Photo credit: Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Tennessee Democrats objected to re-electing Secretary of State Tre Hargett by acclamation, forcing a roll call vote on another four-year term. Hargett went on to win 112 votes out of a possible 132.

The move by Democrats was largely symbolic, as Republican supermajorities in both chambers.

“In the middle of a pandemic, the secretary of state used the power of his office to undermine voter safety and kill bipartisan election reforms that would have made voting easier and more accessible to all Tennesseans,” Senate Minority Leader Jeff Yarbro said in a statement. “We cannot, in good conscience, support his appointment to a new four-year term.”

The joint convention also re-elected David Lillard as treasurer and voted for Jason Mumpower to succeed Justin Wilson as comptroller.

Here’s the full release from the Democrats:


NASHVILLE – Democratic leadership in the General Assembly will cast a vote of no confidence on Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s nomination for a new four-year term citing his office’s record of pushing anti-democratic legislation and repeated court losses.

Members of the Tennessee General Assembly will appoint a secretary of state during a joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives today.

Democratic leaders from both chambers say they expect the secretary of state to a be figure who unites lawmakers around proposals that make it safer and easier for people to vote, regardless of party or zip code.

“In the middle of a pandemic, the secretary of state used the power of his office to undermine voter safety and kill bipartisan election reforms that would have made voting easier and more accessible to all Tennesseans,” Sen. Jeff Yarbro, the Senate minority leader, said. “We cannot, in good conscience, support his appointment to a new four-year term.”

“Tennessee has become one of the most difficult states to cast a vote in and, as a result, voter participation in Tennessee is among the worst in the nation,” House Democratic Leader Rep. Karen Camper said. “Our secretary of state should be a champion for voters, a leader who is consistently committed to ensuring every eligible voter has an equal chance to participate in our elections.”

“Too often over his tenure, Secretary Hargett’s office has entangled the state in costly and unnecessary lawsuits,” Rep. Vincent Dixie, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said. “Instead of pushing unconstitutional legislation that suppresses the vote and wastes our resources, we should be working in partnership to address real problems, like updating the many outdated and corruptible voting machines throughout the state.”

“Despite the outcome of today’s vote, our caucuses will continue working on common sense reforms that empower voters and protect our elections,” Sen. Raumesh Akbari, chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, said. “Voter registration should be automatic. Every voter should have the option to vote by mail. Every voter should be able to verify their votes on a paper ballot. We can make a lot of progress quickly if we work together.

48 Responses to Update: Dems force vote, abstain on re-election of Secretary of State Hargett

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    Beatrice Shaw says:

    These rogue secretaries of these legislators need to all be voted out!!!

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    Henry Walker says:

    The legislature makes the laws regarding absentee voting, not the secretary of state.

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    Not that Stuart guy says:

    Hargett has made some odd choices, but the supermajority feels no pressure from the Dems or their constituents who continually re-elect them. There is not much accountability in TN, as voters are ill-informed of their elected officials actions, which are often contrary to the voters wishes. (Believe it or not, not everyone reads this pub or any newspaper for that matter.)

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      There is accountability, insofar as most Tennesseans are grateful to be living in this state with its conservative government and that is reflected by the conservative supermajority in the General Assembly that isn’t seriously challenged in election after election. I agree that voters “. . .are illinformed [sic] of their elected officials action. . . .” NtSg, and that’s exactly the reason I include the ACU score after official’s names just to counteract that sad fact of political life. Lord knows I not only get no thanks for doing so, on the contrary I receive withering criticism from those who seek to perpetuate the ignorance you wrote about but I assure you NtSg I will continue to try to inform the electorate despite the criticism.

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        cindy s says:

        I thank you Stuart for your insight and willingness to express your opiniont. If you are getting a lot of criticism, you must be on the right side! Don’t let it get to you. Their credibility or rather lack of, is demonstrated in their ignorance- just like the “fake news” they are gullible enough to believe. Thank you for your courage and keep up the quality commentary. 🙂

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          My favorite motto that has served me so well during the times in my life when there were liberals to the left of me and liberals to the right was “. . .if you’re taking a lot of flack, you must be over the target.” Thanks for your comments cindy s, you are one insightful lady.

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            Cryan says:

            You didn’t call her insightful before. You said she was a narcissistic jerk who should get in line with the RINOs. You called her a murder-suicide cultist “Trumpidian.” You bemoaned endlessly about how Trump hijacked your party.

            Two-faced, cop killing ass.

            Say his name: Officer Brian Sicknick

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            MARLE says:

            Yes, Stuart. So….Cindy has it right? Your critics are just duped by FAKE NEWS. All of your critics on here…..ignorant and gullible b/c they believe FAKE NEWS. Is that a correct take on things, Stuart?

            Because I want to get that perfectly straight so I can quote you in the future.

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            Eddie White says:

            Stuart, some left wing loonies are not worth your time. Cryan and Marle are two good examples. Both Trump and Republican haters that simply take up space on this blog.

          • Avatar
            Cryan says:

            But Stuart hates Trump and “Trumpidians.” Is he a leftist or just a RINO?

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            MARLE says:

            I voted for Trump. Those who criticize me have for decades called me to the RIGHT of Atilla the Hun. I am the most conservative person on this site. But I am cursed with the obligation of honesty. THAT is what you don’t like, Eddie.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            However burdened by an occasional tendency to micro-analyze things that don’t really require micro-analysis. Sort of like someone greets MARLE by saying “Good morning” and MARLE snaps back “GOOD?!?!? It’s cold as hell, the stock market is down, and did you see what Trump did today . . .etc. etc.

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            MARLE says:

            So Stuart. Cindy has it right? Your critics are just duped by FAKE NEWS. All of your critics on here…..ignorant and gullible b/c they believe FAKE NEWS. Is that a correct take on things, Stuart?

            Because I want to get that perfectly straight so I can quote you in the future.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Cindy makes some general remarks in her reply in which she thanks me for my efforts and launches a criticism at those who give me grief and now you insist I join you in micro-analyzing cindy’s reply. My first impression is that this is a silly waste of both of our time. Second, as an American who only speaks English and have never been out of this country (and feel no pangs of regret over that fact) I interpret what cindy said as her making a broad generalization about the majority of my critics rather than about all of my critics. My opinion of cindy’s opinion is that other than you and the legendary Mark Rogers I don’t believe I know any of my many critics so I don’t have an opinion about how intelligent or gullible they are without knowing them but perhaps cindy has a better source of information than I do so I don’t have an opinion about cindy’s opinion either.

        • Avatar
          James White says:

          St. Louis police captain David Dorn, who was slain by George Floyd vigilantes looting a pawn shop he was guarding on June 2, 2020.
          say his name.

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    Cryan says:

    Republican Patriots should join this effort. What did Hargett do to Stop the Steal?

    Don’t you want a true Trump Secretary of State? This isn’t Georgia.

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    Martin D Kennedy says:

    Yarbro, Camper, and the Democrats are right on this. Petty differences must give way to principle, integrity, and the rule of law. It is time to either stand with the agents of chaos and against reality or with reality and against those who sow chaos.

    As a Republican, that’s what I’ll do.

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    Beatrice Shaw says:

    It is nice to see Republicans around the country coming to their senses, but more need to hurry up. I want to see public denouncement of the Proud Boy NRA/KKK members.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      You bet Beatrice and we’ll hurry up about it too, indeed we will try to exceed the speed in which the Big Guy and other Democrats denounced Antifa and the BLM rioters and pillagers during the riots that went on day after day last summer that claimed about 30 lives.

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        Taxpayer #314 says:

        This case is just one more prime example of another republican trying to make it harder to vote and finding ways to suppress the vote – this is a republican “core-value” and it assists in raising those Anderson scores.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          More like another case of a Republican Secretary of State doing his job secure the integrity of elections against the opposition of Democrats and liberal jurists who want to do everything they can think of to make life easier for those who want to cheat in order to win elections.

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            Cryan says:

            How many Trump appointed judges ruled against Rudy Giuliani? 60?

            How’s that Supreme Court working out for you, Proud Boy Stu?

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        MARLE says:

        When it comes to Rioting and Destroying private property the Big Guy is in Sync with The Donald who cheered rioters as they looted, burned, and killed innocent shop owners in Hong Kong this past year. He Believed the Rightgeousness of destroying PRIVATE property when you have a grievance against the government.

        The Big Guy and The Donald are both wrong about that. BOTH of them, Stuart. Not just Biden.

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          MARLE says:

          And in the case in hand, Jan 6, you don’t carry zip ties, if destruction of property is the only thing on your mind.

          Jan 6 is different b/c the targets were those who are in succession to the Presidency as they chanted Hang Mike Pence.

          That’s different from the Riots and Private property destruction that doesn’t seem to bother either the Big Guy or the Donald.

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    Tim Skow says:

    Yarbro is simply trying to position himself to PRIMARY Jim Cooper for the DEM nomination for Congress … just as Yarbro ran against legendary State Senator Doug Henry for the DEM nomination for State Senate.

    #YARBROtheFRAUD

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    David Collins says:

    One of the major reasons the public may not be well informed is because the Republicans insist on meeting in secret. How can the public know what they are up to when they continue to hide from the public? I don’t really blame the Repubs, if I was as sneaky and self serving as they, as a group, are I would not want the public to know about it either. As far as Hargett is concerned, I think he was following the existing statute the way it is worded. It is correct that only the legislature can write election laws and they are the entity that can make provisions for unexpected variables like a pandemic, tornado, flood, etc. but they have chosen not to act. This is all on them. Unfortunately, in this case, they saw no reason to act because they were blindly following the Idiot in Chief’s mantra that there was no pandemic, just a bad case of the flu that only affected 15 or so people and would disappear on its own. And also unfortunately, even though the EVIDENCE clearly proves this to be a lie, they are still espousing it even though one of their own is lying near death in the hospital.

    So expectations for our current legislature, or those who they appoint to office, to do anything useful or beneficial should stay very, very low. It’s not likely to happen.

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      Cryan says:

      Lynn Weaver should be investigated by the FBI for her role in the planned assassination of Mike Pence.

      Report her to 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324)

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      David, there is ample opportunity for the public to be informed of pending legislation in the General Assembly. There are open meetings of subcommittees and committees of both houses of the legislature as well as the floor debate. There is simply no reason for the public to sit in on meetings of the caucuses as they strategize their approach to getting legislation passed. This is simply another tempest in a teapot that gives the liberals an excuse to whine.

      Trump has admitted that he downplayed the pandemic but you are exaggerating the extent of the downplay. After the pandemic jumped from China to Italy then to the rest of Europe and only then to the U.S. nobody denied that we were in the midst of a pandemic. After the pandemic affected millions around the world nobody said anything about “15 or so people.” Nobody is “. . .still espousing” any of this, certainly not its “. . .just a bad case of the flu that only affected 15 or so people and would disappear on its own.” There are plenty of things to criticize in regard to every country’s response to the Chinese Flu because a long time was spent not knowing very much about this disease. You needn’t wildly exaggerate to make your point.

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    There is NO Question about the republican party playing down the pandemic at every turn, underestimating every negative effect the virus had, neglecting to perform even simple health precautions like wearing masks to protect others, and totally ignoring other urgent health warnings to minimize the spread of the virus. The fact that the USA is by far the number one country in spreading new cases of Covid -19 is due, in large part, to the negligent and pompous attitudes of the selfish republicans. Rules just don’t apply to them, they just go about their normal business. Even still this week republicans refused to wear any masks while sheltering in place with Democrats that were wearing masks, turning the trump inspired riot into a super spreader event – once again at the hands of republicans. Nobody is exaggerating, almost 23 MILLION people in the US have died from your mistakenly believed to be the… “Chinese Flu.”

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      CONGRATUALATION TENNESSEE! Our Republican government has managed the vaccine distribution so well that we are one of only eleven states having already administered 50% of our allocation of vaccine from the federal government. Efficient conservative government at work!

      • Avatar
        Cryan says:

        Of course Stuart is a Bill Lee fan.

        RINO!!!

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        MARLE says:

        Well here’s A MORE IMPORTANT stat, Stuart.

        In data from the last 7 Days……………………………………….

        TN ranks 9th in cases per 100K and it ranks 4th in DEATHS from covid. We have had a vaccine since mid Dec so Apparently we are NOT getting it into the right people to stop the Incredible cost associated with Covid Hospitalizations and Deaths.

        So…..not really all that impressive. The point of Good Management of Covid is to reduce Extraordinary Costs AND DEATH. Other states are vaccinating against these 2 issues.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          You’re not accounting for the time lag in this entire process. You get the first shot, then you wait 21 days for the second shot and it is sometime after the second shot that immunity is established. So if we got the vaccine in mid December, by the time it is distributed to the facilities where the vaccine is injected you are talking about late December and its only then that the first injection is scheduled then administered. All too early to have any effect on the amount of disease in the population this soon. The fact that we are one of only eleven states to have administered 50% of our supply of vaccine is still a fine accomplishment.

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            MARLE says:

            The point is that we have been doing a relatively AWFUL job with covid management.

            Did you read what I wrote? That is what I wrote.

            The vaccine has been here for a month now. We will see (since the First dose gives considerable Disease symptom reduction) by our stats JUST how magnificent we have been at Giving This To The RIGHT people to reduce cost and deaths.’

            But at the MOMENT our Great Rep Government has done a Very Poor Job in as much as we rank 4th in Deaths

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            Taxpayer #314 says:

            We have about ten months of unnecessary and avoidable deaths and hospitalizations because republican leadership at state and federal levels refused to follow CDC health guidelines and lied about the consequences. Republicans totally ignored the virus & the consequences for the past year until now. Suddenly they want to brag about the high vaccine rate. Every other country is way ahead of the Republican led US in fewer cases and way fewer deaths because of preventative measures taken early on in the pandemic. Republicans even now still argue that masks and social distancing does not work – except in every other country in the world. And Stuart, since you are such a “stickler”, the first vaccines that came out had instructions to wait 14 days, not 21 days for the second shot.

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      MARLE says:

      Dr Fauci the darling of the left said it wasn’t important to wear masks. He didn’t say we don’t have enough supply to wear masks. He said it wasn’t necessary.

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    Other than being wildly overpaid, there isn’t much problem with Hargett. He is just a Republican being a Republican.

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    LeeAnn C. says:

    This is the first thing that’s made me laugh out loud in some time. Apparently, Yarbro et al want the Stacy Abrams/Raffensperger arrangement. As others have mentioned, it is the business of the legislature to determine election processes. The TN Secretary of State is to follow the law. Don’t like the laws, Yarbro and Camper should make a project of passing the law they want. Good luck.

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    MARLE says:

    WE know we have a Terrible record so far~ 4th in the whole country in Deaths per 100K.

    The jury is OUT in terms of whether who we give the vaccine to will result in anything remarkable. Giving a lot of vaccine to 20 and 30 somethings will impact little. Most states are giving the vaccine to the MOST vulnerable for high cost/high death…those over 65. TN is still offering to only those over 75

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    Martin D Kennedy says:

    I’ve taken all of your comments into consideration. I’ve deliberated.

    The ruling stands… Republicans can do far better. I’m w/ Yarbro / Camper
    Democrats aren’t our enemy. When they’re right, I stand with them.

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