The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
A social media post of an op-ed that featured a breakdown of the Williamson County Special Nomination Convention for District 7 Commission prompted Williamson County GOP Chair, Cheryl D. Brown to claim racism and conspiracy in conservative media.
Brown’s comment said, “You know what, y’all a bunch of Racist conspiracy so called conservatives media.”
Addressing Norman Bobo, who posted the op-ed on his Facebook page, Brown wrote, “How is that we are all Republicans and y’all tear down the 1st Black woman to run the county Party. Furthemore, We didn’t have to hold the caucus, we could’ve made a nomination and picked a candidate but in the measure of good faith the county Party paid out money to give the Republicans in District 7 the opportunity to choose…”
Bobo replied to Brown, “Nobody … and I mean NOBODY has EVER referred to your skin color in any of these criticisms – except you… Rather than addressing this issues, you (try) to play the race card, You are the real racist, not me and not the author of this article nor any of the other people who have levied valid complaints that you are failing to address.”
The Tennessee Conservative reached out to Brown asking her if she would like to expand on her comments, but we have not heard back from her upon publication of this article.
The op-ed in question gives a play-by-play of events leading up to the special nomination convention and the convention itself.
Written by an attendee of the event, Steve Hickey, who wrote the op-ed for publication in the Tennessee Conservative, the piece looks at the event and lead-up with a critical eye and does call in question some of the choices made by GOP leadership.
One section reads:
“The WCRP and party elites have had a fraught relationship with local conservative grassroots groups since the previous spring’s GOP primary. The name calling, reminiscent of how Democrats attack, was disturbing. Worse, the weaponization of rules effectively shut doors for citizen participation in the electoral process. The mid-summer Soviet style purge of the lone conservative voice on the WCRP’s Executive Committee further left local conservatives tasting bile. To many of us, this all appeared to be the antithesis of what Republicans stand for—truth, freedom, and a fair fight in the arena of ideas. As a result, there was a jaundiced view among many Williamson County conservatives regarding the process being dictated by the very people who had shown open hostility towards them in the very recent past.”
However, the op-ed also praises the Williamson County Republican Party (WCGOP) for allowing voters to decide the outcome, rather than having a closed-door appointment.
One of the criticisms of the WCGOP was the stringent rules employed to only allow individuals they considered bona fide to participate in the convention.
The op-ed pointed out that the first communication from the WCGOP, sent on August 30th, included a link for people to pre register by 11:59 on September 6th to “secure your attendance and ability to vote.” It further indicated the need to be a bona fide Republican (having voted in three out of the last four state/federal GOP primaries) and be an active member of the Republican Party. This last part was not explained in the email and left to the reader to determine what constituted active in the Republican Party. The email concluded with “share this email with friends & family.”
A second communication, sent on September 2nd, pushed the registration deadline back to September 8th and clarified the participation requirement to include contribution of time or money. This was the last communication the county party had with potential voters before the convention.
In his op-ed, Hickey states that on the evening of the convention, the pre registration requirements advertised in the emails appeared to have been “quietly vacated”.
“What was learned was the party was actively weeding out the electorate, perhaps purposefully and with forethought,” Hickey wrote.
One Williamson County resident told us, “I was one of those turned away from this vote. I’m an angry American citizen who has NEVER been turned away from the polls. I’ve voted since I was 18. I’m a strong conservative and a Republican who was shocked at how I was treated that day from my own party. Because I didn’t ‘pay to play’ I was sent out the door. Our constitutional rights were taken away and charges should be filed.”
The resident continues, “According to the constitutional amendment XV section 1. ‘The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.’ So, they were claiming that we had to have proof of service to our party, or payments made to their party which is also wrong according to amendment XXIV section 1. Which claims the rights of citizens to vote in any election shall not be denied by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax. While this was not a tax it was a fee stipulation. This is illegal and people need to be held accountable.”
Normo Bobo said, “About 4 years ago, many people, including people who were clear Democrats, were admitted to the convention on the basis that a $10 donation to the TN Party qualified them as ‘active’. These were supporters of the moderate candidate Mary Kate Brown. What was good for them 4 years ago is not good for conservative now. In the end, the REAL source of all these issues are the ill-defined bylaws, which allow those in control to manipulate the process to help their favored candidate. In this case, since conservatives had been run out of the county party leadership over the last 4 years, having a more strict definition of ‘active’ (more than just a last-minute donation) helped the more moderate, establishment candidate. But that was clearly inconsistent with what was done four years ago when letting in just anybody helped the more moderate candidate.”
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