House District 27 candidate Tommy Crangle said opponent Patsy Hazlewood "can't decide which party she's in."
He said, "There have been recent questions asked about why Ms. Hazlewood voted in four Democrat primaries since 1992, three of them in Presidential years."
The Hazlewood camp responded by presenting a letter from County Republican Party Chairman Tony Sanders saying she is "a bona fide Republican."
The Sanders letter, dated May 29, resulted from a May meeting between him and Ms. Hazlewood, it was stated.
The letter states:
"Using these guidelines, your appointment by Governor Bill Haslam as a Regional Director of Economic and Community Development clearly demonstrates a level of involvement in the State Republican Party. In addition, your voting record alone more than satisfies the criteria to be considered a "bona fide" Republican. While some may disagree, this is the criteria that I and the HCGOP must follow when accepting candidates for the Republican Primary. From my perspective, your status as a Republican candidate cannot be challenged and hope all campaigns will focus on their ideas on addressing the issues that matter to the voters."
Ms. Hazlewood commented, "I am a Reagan Republican: I believe the best government is that closest to the people, limited and accountable. I am aware that as a Tennessee Representative it is my duty to represent all the citizens of District 27 and not those who fit a narrow definition. I simply ask the voters of District 27 to review my record of accomplishment and results as they cast their votes."
"If the Crangle campaign wants to argue over a settled issue, they should address their questions to the local and state GOP leadership," stated Hazlewood Campaign Chairman Dalton Thompson. "Meanwhile, Patsy will take the advice of Chairman Tony Sanders and address the issues that matter to the voters."
Mr. Crangle said, "I have been a consistent Conservative since I was 18, having realized the principles of the Democrat Party were more taxes, bigger government and weaker national defense. Since I voted for Barry Goldwater in 1964, I have never wavered from that.
”My opponent was asked about her trips through four Democrat primaries and she offered that she had received forgiveness, making numerous references to her ‘faith’. I accept her apologies, but would like to remind her that when the Prodigal Son came home after wasting his inheritance, his Father welcomed him warmly, but he did not put him back in charge of the farm."
He said at a Pachyderm Club meeting ”Ms. Hazlewood declared herself to really be an 'Independent'."
Mr. Crangle said, “I am more confused about my opponent’s political affiliation now than I was before. First, she votes in Democrat primaries, specifically in 2008 when she had to decide whether to vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Then, she files papers to run as a Republican. Now, in front of the Pachyderm Club, she declares that she is an Independent. The good thing for voters is that they have a clear choice in this election. They can support a consistent Conservative or they can roll the dice and vote for someone who changes parties at a moment’s notice.”