Chancellor Fleenor Sets Aug. 6 Hearing In Democratic Suit To Keep Robin Smith Off The Ballot; Ms. Smith Was Former Campaign Advisor To Judge

Friday, July 20, 2018
Chancellor Pam Fleenor
Chancellor Pam Fleenor

Hamilton County Chancellor Pam McNutt Fleenor has set a hearing for Aug. 6 at 1:30 p.m. on a lawsuit brought by the Tennessee Democratic Party seeking to keep former state GOP Chairman Robin Smith off the ballot.

Ms. Smith was a campaign advisor for Ms. McNutt Fleenor when she ran for judge in 2014.

Her Rivers Edge Alliance was paid $13,546.86 by the McNutt Fleenor campaign, according to her campaign disclosure.

Chris Clem, a Republican member of the Election Commission, said the fact that Ms. Smith was paid to advise Ms. McNutt Fleenor "could be a conflict of interest."

In response to Democrats refiling the case in Hamilton County, the Election Commission has called an emergency meeting for Monday at 9 a.m.

The case had been assigned to Chancellor Fleenor instead of Chancellor Jeff Atherton because she was due the next case in the rotation of cases as they are filed.

State Democrats are asking for an expedited hearing.

The primary election is Aug. 2 and the general election Nov. 4.

Ms. Smith was the only candidate after Rep. Gerald McCormick surprisingly dropped out at a late hour of the House District 26 race.

The lawsuit, which calls the sudden resignation of Rep. McCormick "shocking," was initially filed in Davidson County, but was dismissed there after an issue arose that it had been filed in the wrong venue. It has been refiled in Hamilton County. The dismissal did not have to do with the merits of the suit.

Democrats are contending that there was no valid reason for Rep. McCormick to drop out after the deadline for pulling out. He said he had taken a new job in Nashville. One exception in the law relates to an employer requiring a move to a location outside of the district.

There had been an issue raised about the McCormick residency after he bought a house in Nashville last September and put his house on Big Ridge up for sale. His wife, Kim, accepted a position in Nashville with the State Board of Regents.

The suit says there should be no GOP candidate on the ballot. The only remaining candidate would be Democrat David Jones.

The complain said in June that "rumors" began about the residency of Rep. McCormick. It says Mark Goins, state election coordinator, then began an investigation of the situation. He concluded on June 12 that Rep. McCormick was a valid district resident.

It says six days later Rep. McCormick wrote a letter to local election administrator Kerry Steelman stating, "As a result of a job opportunity I will be forced to move to Nashville to carry out my work responsibilities later this year."

The law says an office holder can drop out after the withdrawal deadline "because such candidate is forced to change residence by the candidate's employer for a job-related reason."

The lawsuit says Rep. McCormick's situation did not meet that requirement and the election panel should not be able to put another Republican candidate in his place.

The suit says the Election Commission approved Ms. Smith going on the ballot without an inquiry concerning the McCormick withdrawal. It says Democratic Commissioner Jerry Summers had askd for a 15-minute delay on the start of the meeting, but Commissioner Clem started the meeting at the scheduled time of 8 a.m. Commissioner Clem said Commissioner Ruth Braly presided. He said commissioners were just told that attorney Summers and Democratic lawyers "might" show up later that morning.

The Smith campaign issued this statement:

“Having already lost in her preferred Nashville venue before a Democrat judge, ultra-leftist democrat party chairman Mary Mancini is taking her legal sideshow on the road. While, obviously no one can predict the outcome of any legal proceeding, we are confident she will get the same result in Hamilton County only after forcing our taxpayers to waste more money defending their right to vote against another frivolous lawsuit.

"We encourage Chairman Mancini to come to Hamilton County and explain why she feels so strongly that the citizens of Hamilton County should not have the opportunity to vote for the candidate of our choice. Rather than hide behind lawyers in Nashville, she should come to Hamilton County and tell our citizens face to face why their votes don’t count.

"In a year where Phil Bredesen is trying without success to sell Tennesseans on a message that Democrats want to work across the aisle, his party chairman is demonstrating that Bredesen Democrats are just the same repackaged liberals that Tennesseans have rejected for two decades with no confidence their candidate in District 26 can win, unless he faces a blank ballot.  Hamilton County Republicans, who don’t want Nashville lawyers and party hacks telling us how to vote, can fight back by voting early – not only to support Robin Smith but to say we won’t tolerate people gaming the legal system to their own political benefit at the expense of our voting rights.

"All of Chairman Mancini’s talk of a “blue wave” turns out to be nothing more than a slow trickle of legal filings that only serve to waste the court’s time and our taxpayer’s money. She should stop embarrassing her District 26 candidate and stay out of Hamilton County’s elections.”



Cleveland Schools Get Highest Rating In New TNReady Test Results

Cleveland City Schools officials said its schools obtained the highest ratings in new testing released Thursday. Officials said, "Earlier today, the Tennessee Department of Education lifted the embargo on TVAAS growth data related to last year’s TNReady testing.  Based on that data release, Cleveland City Schools has been designated as a Level 5 district, the highest rating ... (click for more)

Couple Facing Auto Theft, Burglary Charges, Including Breaking In Vehicle Of Detective's Wife

A couple is facing auto theft and burglary charges, including breaking into the vehicle of the wife of a Chattanooga Police Department detective and running up charges on a credit card. Charges were bound to the Grand Jury against Curtis Anthony Bryson, 36, and Clarissa Dials, 36. The detective said his wife's unlocked 2009 Grand Caravan was entered through an unlocked door ... (click for more)

Jeff Styles, I Believe You - And Response (5)

I am glad that Jeff Styles presented the details of the event on his website.  Just because the government alleges a crime does not mean guilty. A criminal charge is an allegation by government. Sure, that allegation can be very serious, but the charge is still an unproven allegation until a court of law and Lady Justice has her review of the proof.  A person gets ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Political Dark Side

If ever there becomes a movie that reveals the rotten side of politics, the script has just been written. My goodness, it has all of the hot words: liberals, Muslims, bedroom beds, spouse abuse, non-transparency (or is it collusion,) kids in shock, a seated member of Congress, vulgar language, the Democratic National Committee, a woman scorned, and – best of all – an election. ... (click for more)

UTC Colin Brewer Named To Peter Hortell Holder Of The Year Watch List

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior Colin Brewer has earned a spot on the Peter Mortell Holder of the Year Award Watch List.  The Peter Mortell Holder of the Year Award (or HOTY) is a tongue-in-cheek, informal award given to the top holder in college football in the United States. The Mortell HOTY Award was created in 2015 by its first recipient, Peter Mortell, ... (click for more)

PREP SCHEDULES

FOOTBALL   THURSDAY, AUGUST 16 Central vs. Walker Valley at Finley Stadium Baylor vs. Notre Dame at Finley Stadium   FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 Boyd-Buchanan at Whitwell Bradley at Farragut Brainerd at Howard McCallie at Chattanooga Christian Rhea Co. at Cleveland Copper Basin at Polk Co. Signal Mountain at ... (click for more)