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Mid-Morning Art Thread | Main | WaPo: Federal Agents Say They Have Enough Evidence to Charge Hunter Biden With Tax and Gun Crimes
October 07, 2022

The Morning Rant: Battling RINO Republicans Who Maintain Power in Deep-Red States

It is disappointing and frustrating, but there are conservative states that are deep-red when the votes are counted for statewide elections, yet they remain under the political control of liberals - albeit under the Republican banner.

You may know Mark Pulliam from his website, Misrule of Law (, which is often linked or discussed at conservative websites, or from legal articles he’s written for a variety of conservative publications.

One reason I’ve followed his writing closely is that like me, he is a refugee from a loony, left-wing city who moved to deep-red East Tennessee. Here in Tennessee, he’s found that the GOP old-boy network is not very interested in the conservative agenda or fighting the culture wars that caused Tennesseans to vote overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. In other words, much of the state GOP would rather join the Chamber of Commerce in advancing the left’s cultural agenda than battling to stop the left’s agenda.

Pulliam decided to try to be part of the solution, so he ran in Blount County (suburban/exurban Knoxville) for a spot on the State Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party. He ran as a write-in candidate and he won the race this past August.

The establishment would not stand for it, so even though the Tennessee Secretary of State had certified Pulliam as the winner, the state GOP retroactively nullified his eligibility and stripped his victory from him.

I’m going to circle back to Mark Pulliam in a moment, but this is an opportunity for me to write about something that’s been gnawing at me, and it relates to Pulliam’s situation.

Liberals and political opportunists who would be comfortable running for office as Democrats in blue or purple states tend run for office as Republicans in deep-red states. It’s the only way they can get elected. In the most recent Republican primary in my county, a little digging revealed that several candidates for down-ballot races (judgeships, commissioners, etc) were clearly not conservative, but the person who wins the Republican primary will win the general election. Name recognition is the most important thing in those races, so if a liberal can get a lot of yard signs out (funded by liberals and Democrats), he is likely to be the Republican nominee, which means he’ll win the general election.

In Hamilton County, TN, the Trump-bashing, RINO son of a former Republican Congressman won the Republican primary for mayor with only 35% of the vote.

Before Weston Wamp decided to run for this office, he courted the national media and received glamour treatment as a “young conservative” who dared to police other Republicans for questioning Joe Biden’s immaculate, fraud-free election. This was in The New Yorker:

Weston Wamp, a young conservative from Tennessee, is on a mission to convince others on the right that Joe Biden won the 2020 election

He subsequently decided to run for county mayor, riding his familiar last name and the lingering popularity of his father among Republicans. He also had a plan, it seemed, to get Democrats to vote in the GOP primary.

His two conservative opponents took 65% of the vote, but with strong election-day turnout for Wamp in heavily Democrat precincts, and with no runoff, he squeaked to a victory over Sabrina Smedley.

Stay with me, this is where things are about to circle back to Mark Pulliam’s battle with the Tennessee GOP State Executive Committee, and their bias toward liberals.

Ms. Smedley appealed to the State Executive Committee to overturn Wamp’s victory, citing "illegal Democratic crossover voting." She also accused Democrats of "party raiding in our election" at the behest of the Wamp campaign. The Executive Committee rejected her appeal, and certified Wamp as the winner.

At the time I thought that Wamp’s election was regrettable and dishonest, but that it was still legitimate. Wamp was able to get left-wing Democrats to vote in the Republican primary, successfully gaming the system which allows crossover voting. He won his stealth victory due to the state Republican Party not closing the primary. As preferable as it would have been for Smedley to become mayor, I thought it would have been inappropriate and a bit of a stretch for the Executive Committee to overturn Wamp’s victory.

But then I read about Pulliam’s battle, and how that same Executive Committee had no trouble overturning his election.

In this “Misrule” article, Pulliam discusses the extraordinary actions of the state GOP in stripping him of his victory.

Why are the apparatchiks in charge of the Tennessee Republican Party (TRP) so opposed to my election? The stated grounds for objecting to my write-in win to a seat on the SEC [State Executive Committee] —something that apparently has never previously occurred – is that I am not a “bona fide” Republican, as defined by the TRP bylaws. People who know me may be surprised by that claim. I am a lifelong Republican. I have voted in every election since 1976, and have never voted for a Democrat in a contested partisan election. I have been active in GOP politics my entire adult life, in Texas, California, and Tennessee. I have walked precincts, watched polls, attended state conventions, held county party offices, volunteered at GOP headquarters, donated to candidates, attended fundraisers, manned phone banks, and been active in many grassroots organizations. I personify the committed GOP activist. If I am not “bona fide,” no one is.

What, then, is the basis for overturning my election? As I smacked down each spurious charge, others popped up, in Whac-A-Mole fashion. In only the most casual manner, I learned that other “objections” to my election were being raised—by whom, I was never told. My alleged “sins”? I failed to pay a $100 “registration fee” to the TRP for GOP candidates whose name will appear on the Republican primary ballot. As a write-in candidate, my name was not on the GOP primary ballot (hence the term “write-in”), and in a June 15 telephone conversation the TRP’s Political Director confirmed that no fee was due in the case of a write-in. The TRP then changed positions and—weeks after the election–TRP Chairman Scott Golden claimed that I was delinquent in paying the $100. I promptly paid the $100. Too late, the TRP exclaimed! The election would be overturned…

If the state GOP could overturn Pulliam’s primary election on the preposterous grounds that he is not a “lifelong Republican,” then they could certainly overturn Wamp’s primary victory, considering that Wamp had been badmouthing Republicans to the national press, and because he only captured his 35% plurality because of Democrats voting in a Republican primary.

There are other deep red states (Texas, Utah, and probably many others) in which much of the Republican leadership is clearly hostile to the agenda of the party’s conservative base. It’s not enough to beat the Democrats in general elections if Republican party leadership wants Democrats to win in GOP primary elections. We’ve still got a lot of work to do here in solid-red states to keep liberals out of power.

If you’d like to read more about Mark Pulliam’s battle against the Tennessee Republican Party, here is his most recent opinion piece.

“The Establishment Strikes Back, Purging the MAGA Agenda in Tennessee” [The Tennessee Conservative – 10/04/2022]

(buck.throckmorton at protonmail dot com)

digg this
posted by Buck Throckmorton at 11:00 AM

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