State Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, provided a statement to The Post-Intelligencer Monday afternoon regarding the information reported by The Tennessee Journal and the Associated Press.
Griffey’s statement reads as follows:
“Ms. King’s allegations are inaccurate and appear based on innuendo and hearsay. As an initial matter, the 24th Judicial District has historically nominated Republican candidates by way of caucus.
“For example, a caucus was held in 2014 to nominate Carma McGee for the Chancellor seat. A caucus was held in 2017 to nominate Tas Gardner for the District Public Defender seat. Holding a caucus to nominate Republican party candidates is nothing new to this judicial district, and has many benefits, including, but not limited to, allowing candidates to conserve funding for the general election.
“Secondly, the decision to hold a caucus to nominate the Republican candidate for the Chancery seat vacatedby Carma McGee had nothing whatsoever to do with Ms. King being appointed by Governor Lee.
“The decision to caucus was made to ensure all 5 counties in the judicial district could participate in the nomination process.
“If a primary was held, the 2 largest counties in the district (my home county of Henry and Hardin) would have been entirely excluded from having any voice whatsoever in the process.
“For this reason, discussions regarding holding a caucus were already being held long before Ms. King was nominated by the Governor.
“It was a matter of fundamental fairness in allowing all 5 counties in the district to participate and was done in accordance with the TN GOP Bylaws. Ms. King was aware and had knowledge that the counties in the district were discussing caucusing before she received her appointment and she accepted the appointment.
“Ms. King could have chosen to participate in the caucus just as with a primary; however, in either instance, it is my understanding that King’s Republican status would have been challenged inasmuch as she did not qualify to run on the Republican ballot under TN GOP Bylaws based on her voting record.
“An additional option for King was to run on the ballot in the general election as an Independent.”