bona fide

Bush is back! Senate candidate restored to GOP ballot

Byron Bush, the U.S. Senate candidate who caused widespread consternation with his Super Bowl ads railing against state judges, has been restored to the Republican primary ballot.

Bush, who also ran for the U.S. Senate nomination in 1994, had failed to survive a challenge of his bona fides last week because he had only voted in two out of the last four Republican primaries (party standards require participation in three of four GOP primaries). But his appeal was granted this week after being vouched for by Nashville Republican Party Chair Jim Garrett and state GOP executive committee members Mike Callahan, Joanne Davis, Anita Taylor Hodges, and Ken Meyer.

Here’s Bush’s statement:

Nashville, TN—Today, Dr. Byron Bush announced that he has successfully beat back attempts to block him from the August primary ballot, saying:

“I’m pleased to report that our campaign has defeated an attempt by one of my opponents trying to use obscure rules to limit Tennessee Republican voters’ choice of candidates on the ballot.

I remain committed to bringing the strong conservative leadership we need in representing our values and leading by an example of personal integrity in the U.S. Senate at this pivotal time for the country. We can face these challenges with faith, not fear! 

I find it disturbing that a leading contender for Tennessee’s next Senator would undertake shady tactics like this, rather than stand on the strength of their own character and record. 

For my part, I pledge a different approach. The Republican Party has always stood for the importance of individual liberty and the right to make up your own mind. We are strongest and most united as a party when we honor that tradition, and so I will continue to work to bring together Republicans of all different backgrounds. Now is a time to work with one another to get our citizens back to work and get the government bureaucracy out of the way of individuals and businesses trying to weather the troubled economy. 

I deeply appreciate the Tennessee Republican Party members who vouched for my Republican bona fides, took a stand for what is right, and helped ensure that we will have many qualified candidates on the ballot competing for this important position.”  

DeBerry sponsored 2010 bill to have courts — not parties — decide primary challenges

State Rep. John DeBerry, a longtime Memphis lawmaker appealing his removal from the Democratic primary ballot, once sponsored legislation aimed at eliminating political parties’ authority to decide primary contests.

The legislation would have sent primary challenges to administrative law judges, not party executive committees. The administrative rulings could have then been appealed to chancery court.

DeBerry’s 2010 bill was filed two years after Democrats declared then-Sen. Rosalind Kurita’s 19-vote primary victory “incurably uncertain” and awarded the nomination to Clarksville Democrat Tim Barnes. Democrats had been furious at Kurita for breaking ranks and voting for the Republican Sen. Ron Ramsey for speaker in 2007.

DeBerry was widely believed to have similarly agreed to vote for Rep. Jason Mumpower, the Republican nominee for House speaker, in 2009. But DeBerry ended up sticking with fellow Democrats to install Republican Rep. Kent Williams as the chamber’s leader. Williams was thrown out of the state GOP for the maneuver.

DeBerry insisted at the time his legislation was “not the Kurita memorial bill.” He said it was instead inspired by “some of the things said to me by some of my own colleagues in Memphis over the years reminding me who owns this office.” His goal, he said, was to enable all members of to be good legislators and party members “without being under undue pressure from any particular group.”

As DeBerry put it at the time, “when the taxpayers pay for an election nd somebody is elected, the election is over unless there is fraud.” Leaders of both parties opposed the bill because it would have weakened control over their own primaries and the bill failed.

Under the proposal, the parties would have retained their power to declare a candidate to be not a “bona fide” member and keep them off the primary ballot — as ended up occuring to DeBerry last week. The state Democratic Party is scheduled to take up his appeal on Wednesday.

Bush, Jones vow to fight ballot exclusion; DeBerry won’t

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Byron Bush and Democratic U.S. House candidate Justin Jones are vowing to fight their exclusions from the primary ballot in August. But longtime state Rep. John DeBerry of Memphis says he won’t challenge fellow Democrats’ decision to remove him.

Bush, who also ran for the Senate in 1994, was deemed ineligible to run as a Republican because he hadn’t voted in three of the last four primaries. Jones failed to submit 25 valid signatures for his effort to challenge incumbent Jim Cooper (D-Nashville). DeBerry was excluded by Democrats because of his pattern of voting with Republicans on issues like abortion and school vouchers.

“The so-called party of inclusion is everything but inclusive,” DeBerry told the Commercial Appeal . “It’s all about thinking with one brain, marching in step and following the company line, sitting there like a brainless idiot and letting them tell you what to do.”

Jones, who is best known for leading protests against the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust at the state Capitol, said hehe missed the cut by a single signature. He blamed the coronavirus pandemic for making it more difficult to collect the signatures.

“We have heard ‘no’ since we announced this campaign,” Jones said in a Twitter post.”We fought then. And will continue fighting now.”

Bush, who was also a Republican candidate for the Senate in 1994, was among five candidates running to succeed Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) this year who were deemed not to be bona fide Republicans.

Bush had used his current campaign as a platform for railing against state judges following his losing legal battle to prevent a property foreclosure in 2012. Bush, a Nashville dentist, drew a modicum of attention by running local ads during the Super Bowl.

(Bush’s full statement after the jump)

Continue reading