Saturday, June 4, 2022

Tennessee's Starbuck granted injunction, back on 5th Congressional Republican primary ballot

by Jon Styf | The Center Square, June 4, 2022-  Robby Starbuck was ordered to be placed back on the Republican ballot for the Aug. 4 primary in the 5th Congressional District in Tennessee after a judge granted his request for a temporary injunction on Friday night.

Starbuck had previously lost a request for an injunction in U.S. District Court but was granted the injunction by Chancery Judge Russell Perkins in Davidson County Chancery Court.

Perkins ruled that Tennessee’s Republican Party violated the state’s Open Meetings Act by voting 13-3 against his Tennessee Republican bonafides at a closed meeting.

"All other appropriate public officials are expected to immediately take steps to treat the Defendants’ April 11, 2022, decision as a nullity and restore Plaintiff, Robby Starbuck Newsom, also known as Robby Starbuck, to the ballot," Perkins wrote.

Tennessee Republican Party Chair Scott Golden told The Tennessee Star Saturday that the party would appeal the decision.

Starbuck’s lead attorney Eric Osborne of Nashville's Sherrard, Roe, Voigt and Harbison had argued the case in front of Perkins on Thursday, requesting the injunction based on the state law portion of the prior suit, including an open meetings claim against Tennessee's Republican Party.

"During a call with Mr. Starbuck in March, the TRP first indicated its meeting to decide the merits of the complaint against him (which would eventually take place on April 19, 2022) would be public," the suit claimed. "However, just days before the April 19 meeting, the TRP informed Mr. Starbuck he could participate by Zoom — but it would not be a public meeting. And, in fact, within 24 hours of that meeting, the TRP informed Mr. Starbuck that his representatives could not join him if he attended. And, ultimately, on the day of the meeting, the TRP told him he could not participate, either."

"BREAKING: WE DID IT! WE WON our court case!," Starbuck tweeted. "The court has instructed @TNGOP to tell the state that their decision to kick me off the ballot is invalid! Tennessee needs a fighter and we've proven with my relentless pursuit of Justice that I'll be the fighter TN needs!

"Lastly I want to make clear that when I say WE WON, I mean you, me, my family, justice, goodness, free and fair elections and most of all, faith WON. Faith guided me against all odds and advice. I trusted God and WE WON! Tennessee's NOT Cuba and voters WILL decide our election!"

Trump-backed Morgan Ortagus and Baxter Lee were also removed from the ballot by the Tennessee GOP on the same day.

In mid-May, U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw denied Starbuck's request for an emergency injunction based on federal law and instead sent that lawsuit to a magistrate judge.

Starbuck had filed the case against Golden, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins.

In his ruling, Crenshaw said that there was a question whether Golden was a state actor in his position as GOP chair. He also said that the court was not in charge of the GOP's executive committee following its own rules on the vote to remove Starbuck and the others from the ballot and said that a new state law limiting which candidates could run for the position was irrelevant after Hargett said it could not be enforced because it became law after the candidate filing date.

That law is subject to a separate suit, which Crenshaw cited, on behalf of Ortagus in front of Judge Eli Richardson.

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