Image Credit: Sabrena for Hamilton County Mayor / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Hamilton County Commissioner Sabrena Smedley has filed a challenge at the state capitol alleging that “rampant cross-over voting by the Democratic Left in numbers never seen before” secured the Republican primary results for County Mayor candidate Weston Wamp.
Weston Wamp was declared the winner of the Republican primary with 14,425 votes. Smedley followed with 14,104 votes and Matt Hullander came in third with 12,171 votes.
In her contest, Smedley stated that there is evidence of an organized effort by Democrats to influence the outcome of the Republican primary by massive crossover voting.
The contest, filed with the state Republican Party Primary Board in Nashville states, “Considering Weston Wamp received 14,428 votes, but there were 1,698 illegitimate crossover votes by bonafide Democrats, in subtracting same from his total, he would have 12,730 as compared to Sabrena Smedley’s total of 14,112.”
According to the contest document, one official at the Hamilton County Election Commission commented “usually there would be four Republican ballots to one Democrat ballot, but this time, there were six and one-half Republican ballots to one Democrat Ballot.”
The contest, which was filed by attorney Catherine White, also states, “Articles appeared where Democrats admitted to election interference which caused Weston Wamp to win, through what can only be described as illegitimate and disingenuous voting in the Republican Primary,” and alleges that the Hamilton County Election Commission and the Hamilton County Republican Party had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allowed those who are not “bonafide” Republicans to vote in the Republican primary.
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In a letter addressed to Tennessee GOP Chairman Scott Golden, Smedley and Hullander state:
Dear Chairman Golden,
Attached is a complaint filed for your review regarding alleged violations of state law and party rules in the recent Republican primary for County Mayor of Chattanooga.
In the closing days of the primary, the generally perceived third-place candidate surged to defeat the perceived two frontrunners, winning over the second-place finisher by just 318 votes. It has been documented since the election that many more votes than the winning margin were cast by Hamilton County Democrat voters.
It further has been documented that the unusually large Democrat crossover was not random or coincidental but instead was the result of organized efforts by Democrats, including some in Democratic leadership, supported by multiple advocacy groups supportive of the Democrat Party, waging an intentional, organized campaign to cause the game-changing crossover.
We, the second and third-place finishers, ask that you share our complaint and supportive documents with the Tennessee Republican Party Executive Committee for the purpose of you and the committee determining if these alleged violations were sufficient to intervene in the outcome of our primary election.
We are not alleging that our opponent was complicit with the Democrat Party crossover campaign, although there is evidence to that effect; we are suggesting that the primary was significantly and negatively impacted by the illicit, organized crossover and should be reviewed carefully to the protect the integrity of this primary election and all others going forward.
Thank you for your consideration. In the interest of a clear declaration regarding the outcome of this primary, we look forward to an expeditious response so that Republicans can get back to the business of electing a Republican County Mayor in the upcoming general election. We will abide by your and the executive committee’s collective judgment.
View Smedley’s contest HERE.
View Exhibits to contest HERE.
View the Primary Summary Report HERE.
Matt Hullander agreed to sign on with Smedley’s efforts, but has since said, “This is her fight, not mine.”
Hullander goes on to say that his support was offered to “make sure we have fair elections,” but has since said that he has moved past May 3rd and is looking forward to the future.
Wamp has replied to Smedley’s contest by calling it “a sad, selfish attempt … to disenfranchise Republican voters across Hamilton County and undermine confidence in our local elections.”
Wamp goes on to state that the election results were certified by the Republican-led Hamilton County Election Commission and said, “In its history, the Republican State Executive Committee has never overturned the will of the people, and I am confident they will quickly reject this baseless appeal.”
However, there are more questionable activities that took place during the vote that offer additional credence to Smedley’s claims.
Patriots Engage – Chattanooga reports that the Chattanooga Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. transported students from Tyner Academy and the Howard School from school property to polling locations to vote in the primary.
According to Patriots Engage, Hamilton County Superintendent Justin Robertson confirmed that the group did indeed transport students from Tyner and Howard from school property to the polls.
A member of the Hamilton County School Board stated that they had no knowledge this was occurring and are in the process of verifying if all school policies were followed by the central office and by school leaders.
Due to this event, additional questions have arisen regarding possible voter coercion and equal opportunities for all students of voting age in Hamilton County.
A commenter on the Patriots Engage social media post claims that Chattanooga Democrats mobilized to vote in the Republican primary to land Weston Wamp the nomination, implying that the actions by the group mentioned above may have been a part of this.
Patriots Engage state that they will be having conversations with the Tennessee Secretary of State, the District Attorney and the Attorney General to determine if campaign and voter violations may have occurred through the actions of the group.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com