Lawsuit Over Robin Smith Candidacy Has Cost Taxpayers Over $30,000 Thus Far

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A lawsuit filed by the Tennessee Democratic Party seeking to keep Robin Smith off the House District 26 ballot has cost taxpayers over $30,000 thus far.

Kerry Steelman, election administrator, said the bill was for almost $30,000 from a Nashville lawyer who defended the case there.

The case was moved to Hamilton County, and attorney Steve Duggan has been accumulating billable hours that will be charged to the election office.

There has been one hearing and another was tentatively set for this afternoon. However, it was delayed until next Wednesday at 1 p.m.

State Democrats are questioning the way Rep. Gerald McCormick departed the office, saying it was not according to exceptions for late withdrawal.

Ms. Smith issued this statement "regarding the ongoing legal efforts of the Tennessee Democratic Party to disenfranchise Hamilton County voters."

She said, “7,767 Tennesseans exercised their right to vote on August 2. Those election results were officially certified yesterday by the Hamilton County Election Commission. Ensuring their rights are protected is the most important aspect of this case, so I have today directed my legal counsel to file a motion with the Hamilton County Chancery Court seeking permission to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit between the Tennessee Democratic Party and the Hamilton County Election Commission.

"By continuing this farcical legal action, the Tennessee Democratic Party has demonstrated its priority of securing an opponent-free election for its nominee, a self-described socialist, over any consideration for the voters of Hamilton County. It is my priority to give the nearly 8,000 Tennesseans at risk of being disenfranchised a voice in these proceedings. As the certified Republican nominee for House District 26, it is my responsibility to do everything possible to defend their voting rights.

"My longstanding position in this matter has been that I am not and should not be a party.  However, beginning with litigation that the Tennessee Democratic Party filed in Nashville, a dismissal, an appeal of that dismissal -- which itself has been dismissed, and a yet another lawsuit in Chattanooga, it was time to act to protect the voting rights under assault by Democrats.

"It is ironic to see a political party that, at every opportunity, falsely accuses state and federal officials of attempting to disenfranchise voters and suppress voting rights working so blatantly and vigorously to strip us of our votes. It is particularly hypocritical that they are making this effort on behalf of a candidate who does not even live in the 26th District and publicly announced her withdrawal from the campaign only weeks ago. This has been a shameful episode for the Tennessee Democratic Party and only serves to reveal how weak and impotent a once-dominant political organization has become in Tennessee.

"We remain confident that the courts will place the rights of our citizens above political gamesmanship. For the third time, Bredesen Democrats have asked a Tennessee court to waste the time of the judiciary and the money of taxpayers attempting to achieve in a courtroom a seat they cannot win at the ballot box. They will not succeed.

"Despite these petty distractions, our campaign has continued at full speed. We will continue to carry a message of economic growth, opportunity for all, improvements in our health care system and standing for the values of hard work, freedom and limited government that Tennesseans have overwhelmingly made clear they want to see in Nashville. We are ready for the fall campaign and look forward to great victory on Nov. 6."

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