Trouble in Paradise? (Part 17)
Blount County Conservative Activist Mark Pulliam Is Running for Chair of the Blount County Republican Party
Mark Pulliam, a Blount County resident whose August 2022 write-in election to the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee, District 2, was nullified by the SEC despite being certified by the Tennessee Secretary of State (as reported by the Tennessee Conservative News on September 8, 2022 with the headline “GOP Leadership Disenfranchises Blount, Polk County Voters In ‘Childish Display’”), has declared his candidacy for Chair of the Blount County Republican Party at its reorganization meeting scheduled for April 4, 2023 at the Louisville Town Hall. Details are at https://www.blountgop.com/2023-party-reorganization.
Pulliam, whose write-in candidacy for the SEC was endorsed by the Tennessee Conservative, is a retired lawyer who now blogs at Misrule of Law. A prolific writer, his essays appear in a variety of publications, including the Tennessee Conservative News. The controversial nullification of his election was criticized by conservative organizations including Tennessee Stands. Despite the TRP’s flimsy basis for the nullification, Secretary of State Tre Hargett declined to intervene, deeming the matter an “intra-party dispute” within the sole purview of the Tennessee Republican Party. The SEC, at the instigation of TRP Chair Scott Golden, risibly determined that Pulliam, a lifelong Republican who has voted in every election since 1976 and has never voted for a Democrat in a contested partisan election, was not a “bona fide Republican,” a conclusion that Pulliam mocked in an essay for the Tennessee Conservative News.
Pulliam, who has previously held leadership positions at the local and state levels with the Republican Party in California and Texas, formed an independent group, Blount County Conservative Coalition, and maintains a Facebook page (Blount County Conservative Sentinel) with over 1600 followers. He has appeared on Fox & Friends, Life, Liberty, and Levin, the Tennessee Star Report, and many podcasts and radio shows. His writings have been published in The Federalist, National Review, American Greatness, the American Conservative, Chronicles, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.
Ironically, Pulliam’s opponent in the race to be Chair of the Blount County Republican Party is likely to be Cindy Gaba Hatcher, an SEC Committeewoman who voted to nullify Pulliam’s write-in election and thereby to cancel the ballots of 300 Blount County Republicans. Pulliam’s platform is set forth in a post on his blog, “RINOs and the Establishment”: “In a county that voted for President Trump by over a 40-point margin (71%-27%), the GOP should hold every elected office and every appointed position. Our elected officials should embrace the GOP platform and be accountable if they do not.”
The Blount County reorganization meeting will not be a “mass convention,” as presumptively required by the TRP bylaws. Instead, by special exception granted by TRP Chair Scott Golden, Blount County’s reorganization meeting will be preceded by “precinct conventions,” a disfavored process that limits participation and allows the incumbent officers to manipulate the selection of delegates to favor insiders. At the last reorganization meeting, in 2021, Blount County insiders invited the notorious establishment henchman Ted Boyatt to serve on the credentials committee, even though he was not even a resident of Blount County! Pulliam encourages all Blount County conservatives to attend their precinct conventions and seek to be delegates to the April 4 reorganization meeting. Instructions below:
KEY DATES FOR 2023 BLOUNT COUNTY GOP REORGANIZATION
April 4, 2023 @ 6:00 pm: “County Convention” or “reorganization meeting” at Louisville Town Hall, 3623 Louisville Road, Louisville, TN 37777. This is where the actual voting on party officers by precinct delegates (see below) will take place.
March 28 & 29, 2023 @ various times: “Precinct Conventions” will be held at Louisville Town Hall. Each precinct (there are currently 28) will conduct a separate election to select “precinct delegates” for the purpose of voting at the April 4 reorganization meeting. (Only precinct delegates can vote on April 4.) Photo ID is required. “Bona fide” Republicans (as defined in the Tennessee Republican Party bylaws) can participate in the precinct conventions. The Contest and Credentials Committee* will determine if the “bona fide” standard is met. Each precinct can select a number of delegates determined by the amount of votes received by the Republican candidate for President (Donald Trump) at the preceding presidential election (one delegate per 200 votes).
Prior to the precinct conventions:
Determine what precinct you are in. Check your voter registration card, call the Blount County Election Commission (865-273-5920), or use this website: https://tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup/
Obtain your Voter Detail (voting record) from the Blount County Election Commission (in the County Courthouse) to verify your voting record. It is free and quick. You must request it in person and show your driver’s license. Assuming you qualify, bring your Voter Detail to the precinct convention in case you are challenged. If you moved to Tennessee from another state within the past four years, you may need to obtain a copy of your voting record from your prior state of residence to show that you are a “bona fide” Republican voter.
Assuming you qualify, make a $10 contribution to the Tennessee Republican Party online and get a receipt. The purpose of this is to satisfy the “active” component of the “bona fide” standard. The link is here: https://www.tngop.org/contribute-here
Register in advance for your precinct convention. The registration is online, and the link to the Blount County Republican Party is here: https://www.blountgop.com/2023-party-reorganization
If you have questions about the process, you may submit them by email to the Blount County Republican Party using this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is not as complicated as it sounds. If the grassroots participate in large numbers, we should be able to elect a majority of precinct delegates and cast our ballots for conservative officers at the April 4 reorganization meeting.
East Tennessee Conservatives (Susan and David Baugh) are coordinating attendance at the precinct conventions. You may contact them at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1289461001882904/ or by email @ email@example.com.
*According to current Blount County GOP Chair Scott Stuart, the Contest and Credentials Committee consists of Scott Stuart, Tanner Jones, Brad Lunde, Jim Snyder, and Linda Ollum.
From Blount County Republican Party website, https://www.blountgop.com/2023-party-reorganization
Every odd numbered year the County Republican Parties across the State of Tennessee are required to reorganize and elect new leadership.
Per the TN GOP Bylaws, the Blount County Republican Party will be reorganizing through a Precinct Convention Process. This process, which is laid out by the Tennessee Republican Party Bylaws, gives those who have been actively involved in the Republican Party a chance to gather together and elect both Precinct and County-Wide leadership.
To be eligible to participate in the Precinct Conventions, a person must meet certain requirements:
- Must reside in the Precinct;
- Must be registered to Vote in Blount County;
- Must have voted in three (3) of the last four (4) statewide Republican Primaries; and
- Must have been actively involved in the Tennessee Republican Party, the Blount County Republican Party, or a recognized affiliate of the Party (for the Blount County Republican Party, the recognized affiliates are the Blount County Republican Women and the Blount County Young Republicans).
- Photo ID will also be required.
Any issues related to eligibility will be determined first by the Contest and Credentials Committee for the 2023 Reorganization process. We are only able to check voter history for elections in Blount County. If you are relying on voting records from a different county/state, you will be required to bring those records with you. Questions for the Contest and Credentials Committee can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you believe you meet the qualifications to participate in your Precinct Convention, we ask that you please pre-register below so that we can keep the process moving as quickly as possible on the scheduled dates (which can be found in the schedule below).
If you do not meet the qualifications for the Precinct Convention, but would like to get involved, we encourage you to sign up on our “Contact Us” page. Every year we get new volunteers ready to support the Republican Party and help Keep Blount Conservative! If you are new to Blount County, or want to get newly involved with the Party, your participation is much appreciated. We encourage you to check out our monthly meetings, hosted by the Blount County Republican Women on the 4th Monday of the month, and/or attend our annual Lincoln Day Dinner and other special events throughout the year. These sort of activities will get you involved so you can meet new Republicans, support our Party, and be qualified to participate in the Precinct Conventions in the future!
This year’s Precinct Conventions will all occur at Louisville Town Hall, 3623 Louisville Road, Louisville, TN 37777 according to the Schedule below:
March 28 @ 5:30 p.m.:
- Board of Education
- Pellissippi Campus
- William Blount High School
March 28 @ 6:15 p.m.:
- John Sevier
- Maryville College
- Maryville Municipal
March 28 @ 7:00 p.m.:
- Chilhowee View
- Maryville High School
March 29 @ 5:30 p.m.:
- Eagleton Cafeteria
- William Blount Academy
March 29 @ 6:15 p.m.:
March 29 @ 7:00 p.m.:
- Maryville Jr. High
- Oak View
*Original List had dates/times for Big Springs, Mentor, and Oak Street Precincts. These precincts were removed in the last re-drawing of the District lines. If you are unsure of your voting precinct, you can check by clicking this Button:
2023 Precinct Convention Pre-Registration
Street Address Line 2
Postal / Zip code
Bottom of Form Those who are elected to serve as Delegates for their Precincts will go on to our County Convention on April 4 @ 6:00p.m. at Louisville Town Hall. At the County Convention, the Delegates will get the opportunity to nominate and vote on the Party Officers. All nominations will be made by the Delegates from the floor of the County Convention with one exception: nominees for the position of Chair are required to give ten (10) days prior notice to the Contest & Credentials Committee that they intend to run for Chair. Said notice can be provided by email to email@example.com. Any appeals or contests of the results of any Precinct Convention can likewise do so through email to firstname.lastname@example.org