Sumner Democrats Raise Objections to County Commissioner Selection

Advocate Andy

All Republican County Commission chooses fellow Republican to take contested seat

The Sumner County Commission last week chose Republican Terri Boyt to take the contested District 13 Commission seat despite the fact that her August race ended in a tie with Democrat Brenda Dotson.

According to Tennessee law, the Commissioners had two choices: They could select the winner from the two candidates OR they could schedule a runoff election to coincide with the November statewide elections. That new election would carry no additional local cost and would allow voters to decide the winner.

A runoff is what Sumner County's Democrats had asked for.

Instead of calling for a runoff, though, the Commission voted 20-1 to choose the Republican candidate to take the seat. All current members of the Sumner County Commission are Republicans.

In calling for the runoff, the Sumner County Democrats said:

"The non-partisan choice is to return this election to the registered voters in District 13. To choose either the Republican or Democratic candidate as the winner undermines the rights of citizens to elect their representation."

In response to the Commission's near-unanimous rejection of a non-partisan solution, the local Democrats said:

A foundation of our government is the democratic election of representatives who serve us through elected office. That was taken away from the citizens in District 13.

While the party objected to the partisan move by the Commission's majority, Democratic leaders also pointed to what they termed good news from the Commission election:

Only one more vote for Democratic candidate Brenda Dotson would have given her the win. Clearly, this proves that every vote counts and that Democrats can win in Sumner County.

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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