The Tennessee GOP delegation to the Republican National Convention held their election of
|Former Gov. Don Sundquist campaigns|
for former foe, a Trump delegate, to beat
a Cruz delegate.
Each state gets to elect two delegates, one male and one female, to serve on each of the four standing Convention committees. Below is the list of who was elected to those committees and who was elected chair of the delegation.
Rules Committee: John Ryder and Betty Cannon. John Ryder is the legal counsel to the Republican National Committee and a sitting RNC committee man. Betty Cannon is Vice Chair of the Tennessee Republican Party. Both Ryder and Cannon are Trump delegates.
Credentials Committee: Chris Hughes and Linda Buckles. Chis Hughes is the husband of Scottie Nell Hughes who is a nationally known political commentator and who is a national spokesman for the Trump campaign. Linda Buckles is a sitting SEC member and President of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women. They are both Trump delegates.
Now, this is where it gets interesting. Charlie Cato and Laura Beigert are both Cruz delegates and were also running for seats on the Credentials Committee. Enter former Governor Don Sundquist. Remember Sundquist who is known and dishonored as the Republican governor who almost gave Tennessee a State Income tax? Although not loved by the rank and file Republicans he still has friends and influence in east Tennessee. He made calls and lobbied delegates to support Chris Hughes.
Remember, the State income tax fight? Scottie Nell Hughes, wife of Chris Hughes, at that time worked for radio talk show host Steve Gill. Steve Gill was a leader in the anti-income tax battle and unmercifully denounced and attacked Gov Sundquist on his radio talk show. Now the former governor resurfaces to help defeat a Cruz delegate and campaign for Scottie Hughes husband. Politics makes strange bedfellows !! Who would have ever put Steve Gill, Don Sundquist, and Chris and Scottie Hughes in the same bed?
Permanent Organization: Beth Campbell and Chad Blackburn. Chad Blackburn is Marsha Blackburn’s son. Beth Campbell is a sitting SEC member. Beth Campbell is a Rubio delegate and Chad Blackburn is a Trump delegate.
Platform: Victor Ashe and Connie Hunter. Victor Ashe is the former mayor of Knoxville and the former United States Ambassador to Poland. Ashe is a Rubio delegate and Hunter is a Trump delegate.
Delegation Chair: Senator Mae Beavers. Senator Mae Beavers and Senator Bill Ketron were both nominated for this position and as I understand it the Trump leadership did not really want Mae Beavers but she pulled it off. Both Beavers and Ketron are Trump delegates.
Of the delegates elected to leadership positions by the delegation, all were elected delegates except for John Ryder, Better Cannon, and Linda Buckles. They were delegates appointed by the Party to be Trump delegates. Also, while the term is hard to define, one might say all of the delegates elected to these positions were “establishment” except for Chris Hughes.
The big take away from this election of delegates to the committees, other than the roll of Don Sundquist, is the slight of Cruz delegates. Not a single Cruz delegate was elected to any of these positions. Of the eight committee positions and Chair, all but two were Trump delegates and those two were Rubio delegates.
This was a great opportunity for the Trump campaign to start building bridges but missed the opportunity by not having a single Cruz delegate on any of these committees. Remember, Trump won 33 delegates, Cruz 16 and Rubio 9 in our primary on March 1. Cruz delegates should have been given a seat at the table.