The Pachyderm Club has voted to refer to its board the dismissal of Curtis Adams and Perry Perkins from the club for supporting Democratic candidates in the upcoming election.
Henry Hoss, club president, said about 95 percent of those present at the luncheon meeting on Monday voted to eject the pair. He said, under the club bylaws, the matter now goes to the board of directors if there is a two-thirds vote.
He said the board is meeting next Monday and at that time will set a special called meeting on the issue.
Later Tuesday, Mr. Hoss said he does not believe the board will go along with the dismissals. He said, "Every member has a right to support and vote for any candidate they wish; Democratic, Republican or Independent, just as all Americans have the right to support and vote for any candidate.
"I believe the Pachyderm Board of Directors will deal with this matter very quickly recognizing that no matter who a person may be, he or she has a Constitutional right to support and vote for whoever they wish."
Mr. Hoss said the issue arose after Jonathan Mason, who heads the Hamilton County Young Republicans, distributed an ad prior to the meeting showing Mr. Adams together with Democrat Kenny Smith, who is running against incumbent Republican Tim Boyd for the District 8 County Commission seat.
He said after the lunch and speech that Mr. Mason arose and moved that Mr. Adams as well as Mr. Perkins, for allegedly backing Democrat Ezra Maize instead of Republican nominee Sabrena Turner for District 7 County Commissioner, be dismissed from the club. Mr. Perkins said later he did not endorse a Democrat.
Mr. Mason said he was not the one who distributed the Adams/Smith ad. He said after the speech he mentioned only Mr. Adams. He said it was City Councilman Larry Grohn who brought up Mr. Perkins.
Mr. Hoss said, "The Chattanooga Pachyderm Club has supported the Republican Party and Republican candidates for 40 years. Its mission is to promote political education and the dissemination of information on our political system to its members.
"Some Republicans have different thoughts about who people should support than others, and some of the members are upset, but that does not change anything.
"The Chattanooga Pachyderm Club is the largest Pachyderm Club in the United States with almost 200 members. The club meets every Monday at the Republican Headquarters at 12 noon for lunch and the public is invited."
Mr. Adams lost to Commissioner Boyd in the GOP primary, and Mr. Perkins was defeated by Ms. Turner.
Mr. Adams said, "I hope the Pachyderm Club does not hear about all the other Republicans who are supporting Kenny Smith, or their membership will really go down."
He said he formerly attended the club "when they were the largest Pachyderm club in the country. They met at the Choo Choo and had 100-150 people at the meetings. Now it has dribbled down to nothing."
Mr. Adams said, "I won't apologize for being in favor of a good honest man like Kenny Smith against an embarrassment like Tim Boyd."
He added, "I'm just glad that, because you vote for the candidate of your choice, you won't be kicked out of the United States, East Ridge, the Shriners or Temple Baptist Church."