Tennessee Supreme Court Overrules Lower court, Boots Starbuck From Ballot

Image Credit: Robby Starbuck / Facebook

The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –

Robby Starbuck is off the ballot for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District again.

On Friday, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that Davidson County Chancery Court erred in its ruling on an emergency injunction because the state’s Open Meetings law does not apply to the Tennessee Republican Party.

“We conclude that the trial court erred by granting the injunction because the Tennessee Open Meetings Act does not apply to Defendants,” Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins wrote. “We vacate the injunction and remand to the trial court.”

Starbuck had appealed a decision, in a closed meeting, when Starbuck, Morgan Ortagus and Baxter Lee were removed from the Aug. 4 Tennessee Republican primary ballot based on their Republican bonafides.

“An unbelievable loss for the system our founders intended for us to have where people decide elections,” Starbuck said in a statement. “I’m heartbroken for the people of Tennessee that this was allowed to happen. This is NOT the end for my campaign. We have other options that we will imminently seek out.”


The state GOP’s executive committee voted 13-3 to remove Starbuck, who then appealed that decision in federal and then Davidson County court.

Starbuck won his case in Davidson County Chancery Court a week before the Supreme Court ruling on the basis of Tennessee’s GOP holding its meeting in private.

“During a call with Mr. Starbuck in March, the TRP first indicated its meeting to decide the merits of the complaint against him (which would eventually take place on April 19, 2022) would be public,” the suit claimed. “However, just days before the April 19 meeting, the TRP informed Mr. Starbuck he could participate by Zoom — but it would not be a public meeting. And, in fact, within 24 hours of that meeting, the TRP informed Mr. Starbuck that his representatives could not join him if he attended. And, ultimately, on the day of the meeting, the TRP told him he could not participate, either.”

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The deadline for the ballot was Friday, the day of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“In finding a TOMA violation, the trial court ruled that state executive committees and state primary boards are ‘synonymous’ under Title 2,” the Supreme Court ruling stated. “We disagree. The statutory scheme clearly provides for and distinguishes between state executive committees and state primary boards, and it confers upon each distinct entity differing obligations and responsibilities.”

Starbuck said that the decision was reminiscent of Cuba, where his family fled.

“The system was upheld today by the TN Supreme Court is sadly reminiscent of Cuba where a central committee removes real candidates and gives the people only party puppets to choose from.”

Source: Robby Starbuck / Facebook

About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.

5 thoughts on “Tennessee Supreme Court Overrules Lower court, Boots Starbuck From Ballot

  • June 13, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    I’m so sorry I invested in a home and property in Tennessee!
    I could stay in NYC for this type of corrupt politics!

    • June 14, 2022 at 3:04 pm

      amen to that.

  • June 14, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    Regarding Starbuck; he is correct; reminiscent of Cuba.

  • June 14, 2022 at 3:07 pm

    It is the Good old boy’s mentality. Shame on the Republicans that allowed this to happen. I think they are afraid of new ideas.

  • June 14, 2022 at 5:31 pm

    He is probably better off to wait a couple more years and then run. People are leery of others who move to a state and then run for office. Does he just want to get into Congress or does he truly love TN and want to fight for the state he is from. The point of congressmen and senators is to represent the values of the state they are from. Not saying I know the answers to any of those questions- he could be completely legit.


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