On the TNGOP definition of ‘bona fide Republican’

An August revision to a state GOP  bylaws provision that defines who is a “bona fide” Republican will be a central topic at an Oct. 2 meeting of the Knox County Republican Party with state Republican Chairman Scott Golden on hand, reports the News Sentinel.

Since a person must be deemed a bona fide Republican to run for public office under the party label, the change could impact some potential candidates in next year’s elections.

Under the policy, in order for a candidate to be considered a bona fide Republican, he or she must be active in the state or local Republican Party. He or she also must be someone whose credentials can be “vouched for” by an elected Republican or – and this is what was changed – they must have voted in three of the last four statewide Republican primaries. Previously, the number was two of the last four.

The change was done to “create a consistent standard” for candidates statewide, Golden said, not to make it harder for people to run for office.

“These approved changes were not proposed to prevent people from exercising their right to run for office, but to ensure that primary voters have strong Republicans on the ballot to choose from,” he said in a statement.

In some circles locally, it was speculated that the changes would weed out newcomers like Knox County mayoral candidate Glenn Jacobs. But Jacobs insists this isn’t the case – he is both a member of the state party and has voted in three of the last four most recent statewide Republican primaries.

… “Republicans are famous for shooting themselves in the foot,” (Knox County Republican Chairman Buddy) Burkhardt said, adding the state party should have waited until after the 2018 elections to change anything on the ballot.

“What I’m anxious to see is if they’re going to do this verbatim, word for word, there are several candidates that could be affected,” Burkhardt said. “And these are candidates who already have treasurers and already begun to raise money and who have already started campaigning. Is it fair that now we tell them they can’t run as a Republican?”

Note: The state Republican party’s bylaws, as amended most recently on Aug. 26, are on the TNGOP website, HERE. The definition of bona fide is near the bottom, under “ARTICLE IX, MISCELLANEOUS.”

(The News Sentinel story that was source of the original post on this topic had some errors that were subsequently corrected. This post has been updated to reflect the changes.)

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