Monday, March 23, 2015

(Update #2) Bob Ries elected Chairman of the Davidson County GOP

Bob Ries
Update #2: I received this report from a friend who attended the convention:

Bob Ries won by five points over Tres Wittum. Robert Duvall did not make the runoff. 

These are the other officers who were elected: 
1st Vice Chair - Connie Hunter, 
2nd Vice Chair - John Wang 
Recording Secretary - Diana Cuellar 
Corresponding Secretary - Joshua Rawlings 
Treasurer - Michele Waddell
Associate Treasurer - Aaron Snodderly. 
Regional Vice Chairs - Sabrina Orr, Tony Roberts, John Goetz, Big John Smith, and Chuck Grimes. 

The convention was a real mess. I have never seen such an unorganized mess and we could contest the whole thing but I'm just glad it is over. 

 I will continue to update as more information becomes available. If any one else would like to shed light on what happened, I would welcome hearing from you.

In a contest between Robert Duvall who was seeking a second term as chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party and challengers Bob Ries and Tres Wittum, Bob Ries won.

Robert Duvall has served as chairman of the Davidson County Party for the past term of two years.  Duvall is a member of the Metro Council who is serving his second council term and has previously unsuccessfully sought election for a State House seat. He is termed-out from seeking reelection to the Metro Council as a district councilman and is running for an at-large Council seat.

Bob Ries was the Republican nominee running against Congressman Jim Cooper in the last election and he has been an unsuccessful candidate for a Metro council seat.

I do not know Mr. Wittum.  In the first round of balloting, incumbent Chair Robert Duvall was eliminated and in a second ballot between Wittum and Ries, Ries prevailed. 

I did not attend this year's convention due to my wife's illness and having out of town guest.  I was selected as a delegate however and got the below solicitation of support from Mr. Ries, but did not receive a solicitation of support from Mr. Duvall.
Delegates to the Republican Party Convention:
My name is Bob Ries. I am running for County Party Chairman and I am asking for your vote tomorrow morning. A lot of you may know me and may have supported my candidacy for US Congress.
For those of you whom I have just met - I have Degrees in Business & Economics. I have started 3 businesses, built them up and sold them. I have been Director of Sales for a Micrographics Company and a major hotel, a Vice President of Sales for an Insurance Company, a Business Consultant and a military veteran.
From 1968 to the time I moved to Tennessee in 1978, I was involved in political party organization as a Precinct Captain and Ward Chairman. I have not only seen how party politics is done, I have helped make it work. In a nutshell, I have a lifetime of experience in successful marketing and organizing political parties. That is what it is going to take to grow and organize this County Party so we can elect more Republicans. Success for Republicans in Davidson County will take 100% dedication to the task of turning the ship around and I have the time and energy to do it.
I am not running for any other office other than party chair. My only aspiration is to build the party for the next slew of candidates from the upcoming council races to the next candidate for US Congress. I believe I can make a difference; we can change the direction of Davidson County and we can be successful in the next two years with Republican Victories.
I am asking for your vote tomorrow and look forward to speaking with anyone who may have questions about the plan I will lay out for the future of the Republican Party in Davidson County.
Thank you for your consideration.
Bob Ries
Robert Duvall is a solid conservative and is generally well-liked. The only criticism I have heard of him as chairman of the Party is that he is too close to Mark Winslow and that Mark Winslow had too much influence over Duvall. You may recall, that Mark Winslow is the Republican member of the State Executive Committee who campaigned for a Democrat nominee for a Davidson County judgeship instead of working for the Party's nominee.  By virtue of his position on the State Executive Committee, Winslow has a seat on the Davidson County Executive Committee. There was one particularly contentious Executive Committee meeting where  Winslow's conflict of interest became an issue and Duvall sided with Winslow.  When Winslow was seeking his reelection to a seat on the State Executive Committee in a contested race, Robert Duvall endorsed him which some content was improper. The County chair is supposed to remain neutral in contested Republican primaries.

While the party grew rapidly under the previous two terms of Kathleen Starnes, my understanding is that party growth has declined in the last two years.  Someone who attended the caucus the previous Saturday said attendance was considerably less than the previous three caucuses.  That may not solely be attributable to the role of the Party chairman however but may simply be due to the political climate or other factors.

I do not know the vote totals for the candidates but will update this post when such information becomes available.

I extend by congratulations to Mr. Ries and thank Robert Duvall for his service to the Party.

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