TNGOP ponders procedure for replacing deceased nominee

At the request of state Republican Party officials, a meeting to select the party’s nominee for Unicoi County property assessor has been postponed, reports the Johnson City Press.

The new nominee will replace Margret Seward, who won the primary election March 1 but died on election day. Another candidate, Wayne Peterson, had died during February early voting. A third candidate, Alan “Rocky” McInturff, finished second behind Seward and ahead of Peterson in the voting.

Jim Buchanan, chairman of the Unicoi County Republican Party, notified local media outlets Friday afternoon that Brent Leatherwood, executive director of the Tennessee GOP, had instructed him to cancel a public meeting to select the candidate previously set for 9 a.m. Saturday.

…Leatherwood told the Johnson City Press that in addition to questions about the executive board’s makeup, the state party is seeking clarification of its own bylaws and state election laws on “minor procedural issues,” including the mandatory publication of an advertisement giving legal notice of the public meeting.

“We have a few questions that we would like to have clarification about,” Leatherwood said. “It being the nomination, we feel it is best, in due diligence, we have all our questions answered before proceeding through with the nomination.

“We are seeking clarification from our own general counsel, the state Election Coordinator and the District Attorney General.”

Leatherwood said the selection must be made within 40 days of the Aug. 4 election, giving the party ample time to clarify all procedures.

Referring to the deaths of Seward and Peterson, Leatherwood said, “It is a tragic situation and that is why we want to make sure we are doing our due diligence to make sure all proper procedures are followed.”