The executive committee of the Hamilton County Republican Party, citing Governor Phil Bredesen's "refusal to issue a writ of election," has set a caucus for choosing a chancellor candidate.
The panel on Tuesday night established the particulars for the upcoming conventions to select the Republican candidate to represent the party in the August election for the post being vacated by Chancellor Howell Peoples on March 31.
Delores Vinson, newly elected chairman, said, "The governor has steadfastly refused to issue a writ of election until after the chancellor’s office is vacant, which is unfortunate given the late date upon which Chancellor Peoples' retirement is effective.
"As a result, we cannot get anyone on the May primary ballots to represent the Republican Party.”
"Our state and local bylaws require certain timeframes to allow for adequate notice of caucuses to our members. The governor's reluctance to issue an election writ leaves us in the untenable position of having no option but to begin the process, trusting that he will, indeed, issue one," she said.
The executive committee voted to hold the precinct caucuses on Thursday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the East Ridge Community Center located at 1517 Tombras Ave.
Delegates will be elected by fellow precinct residents to represent them at the delegated convention on May 13 at 6:30 p.m., also at the East Ridge Community Center.
"Once a chancellor candidate is elected to represent the Republican Party at the nominating convention on May 13," said Ms. Vinson, "I will notify the Hamilton County Election Commission that our elected nominee shall serve as the Republican candidate for chancellor on the August ballot.
"We expect the governor will comply with Tennessee law that so clearly requires him to issue a writ of election so that each party may offer a candidate on the August ballot.
"We want to be and will be prepared and in full compliance with our state and local bylaws, as well as Tennessee law" said Ms. Vinson.
The Judicial Nominating Commission recommended Chattanooga attorneys Jeff Atherton, Art Grisham and Joe Manuel for appointment as interim chancellor.
Governor Bredesen has not announced which of the three he will choose, or if special judges will handle the docket until the election.