Chief Justice Wade Backs Out Of Pachyderm Appearance After Flap Within GOP Group

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Chief Justice Gary R. Wade has withdrawn as a speaker for Monday's meeting of the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club after a flap over whether the Republican club should have invited him in the first place.

Henry Hoss, club president, said the club decided several weeks ago to invite Chief Justice Wade, who has been the target of some state Republican leaders, including Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, in the current retention election.

He said it was decided to do so at the request of board member Joe DeGaetano, a local Republican. A majority of attorneys in the state appear to favor retention for Chief Justice Wade and two fellow members of the state high court.

Mr. Hoss said he announced for several weeks at club meetings that Chief Justice Wade would be the Aug. 4 speaker.

But he said he afterward was told by other club leaders that House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Hixson, had called "irate and very upset that we were inviting a liberal Democrat to speak to our Republican club."

Mr. Hoss said he eventually talked to Rep. McCormick, "who had calmed down some."

The club president said club officials then met and decided at the Aug. 4 meeting to have a second speaker, who would give the other side of the issue (opposing retention). He said it was decided to invite state Senator Mike Bell (R-Cleveland).

It was then decided to notify attorney DeGaetano about that decision. The attorney, in turn, said he should let Chief Justice Wade know the latest development.

Mr. Hoss said he has since been advised that Chief Justice Wade has withdrawn his acceptance of the invitation to speak to the GOP club.

State Senator Bell is set to be the only speaker on Monday at the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club meeting. 

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