Scott Golden elected new TNGOP chairman

The Tennessee Republican Party’s Executive Committee Saturday elected Scott Golden, a former staffer to U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Stephen Fincher, as the new state party chairman, reports The Tennessean. Golden, of Jackson, is a member of the executive committee and succeeds Ryan Haynes as chairman.

The final vote was 33 for Golden, 26 for (current TNGOP Executive Director Brent) Leatherwood and one undecided. Golden and Leatherwood advanced the runoff by edging out Bill Giannini, deputy commissioner for the Department of Commerce, in the initial round of voting by the executive committee.

“I started this campaign pretty simply, which was can this committee come together and move us forward,” Golden said in his address prior to the votes. “Obviously this was a contentious election, probably the most contentious I’ve seen in my two decades in politics. But with the election of Donald J. Trump, we can come together, create a fresh start, reboot our party and begin looking forward to 2018. And that’s it. That’s the whole goal.”

…Leatherwood addressed some internal strife that arose within the GOP this year when the wife of the state executive committee’s political director worked on the campaigns of candidates challenging incumbent office holders. Leatherwood and outgoing chairman Ryan Haynes backed Walker Ferrell after 27 state lawmakers called for his ouster. In his prepared remarks prior to Saturday’s vote, Leatherwood apologized if his actions alienated committee members. He also touted his role in the GOP’s historic winning streak, pointing to 800 wins by Republicans during his time with the party.

“I will admit some of our actions have caused considerable consternation,” Leatherwood said. “If at any point, that has caused you to doubt my abilities, or to doubt my commitment to the party, or to doubt we would respect the decision of voters, I apologize for that.”

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