Maury County Commission, Election Commission at odds over paying for GOP primary

Maury County election commissioners are trying to prod the county commission to pay for a local Republican primary election despite a commission vote rejecting the idea, reports the Columbia Daily Herald. The election is threatening a lawsuit unless the vote against paying for the primary is rescinded.

The five-member (election) commission agreed in a 3-1-1 vote to send a “sternly-worded” letter, strongly urging county commissioners to allocate required funding because failure to do so is interfering with the election process. Commissioner Lynn Nelson cast the dissenting vote because he did not approve of the wording of the motion. Commission Tiny Jones abstained from voting because she serves as the committee chairwoman.

“I think our duty is to hold a primary, and it is the county’s duty to pay for it,” said Commissioner Jason Whatley, an attorney who volunteered to write the letter.

…The Maury County Commission voted 16-5-1 on Dec. 16 not to fund the primary called by the county’s Republican Party Executive Committee. That committee initially approved the primary, but later voted 5-4 to rescind the previous vote. However, Chairwoman Pat Junkin ruled the vote required a three-fourths majority under “Robert’s Rules of Order” and let the initial vote stand. Other committee members disagreed.

…Nelson said that based on all accounts the GOP primary decision was “terrible,” and now the citizens will have to expend more funds to force the county to fund the election.

“It would have been better if they (GOP) had a caucus,” said Nelson, who later commented that the GOP may face a backlash for forcing the county to pay for the primary. “Running as a Republican may be the kiss of death.”

Whatley suggested funds from the local and state GOP would go a long way with appeasing taxpayers.

“It would be a nice olive branch if the state Republican Party would cut a check,” he said. “But maybe that’s just a pipe dream.”

Jones said she also believes the state party shares a responsibility for funding the local primary.

“Maybe morally, but not legally,” Commissioners Nelson and Jerry Colley said in unison.