Thirty-two Tennessee tea party leaders have signed a letter calling for the resignation of Chris Devaney as state Republican chairman for allegedly violating party rules with an endorsement of Sen. Lamar Alexander in the 2014 primary. (Previous post HERE)
A news release on the letter from the “Beat Lamar” organization — it says the Executive Committee should fire Devaney if he doesn’t resign — is below. The full letter text (pdf) is HERE.
Meanwhile, Brent Leatherwood, tells The Tennessean (HERE, part of a political notebook) that the reported endorsement statement, made in a party fundraising letter, was a “vendor error” and Devaney has talked with state Rep. Joe Carr to explain the mistake.
Asked today for comment on the “Beat Lamar” letter, Leatherwood sent this reply via email:
“As we have said before, the letter wasn’t an endorsement and shouldn’t be viewed as such. This is a case of someone disregarding facts in order to create an issue for personal political gain.”
Here’s the news release:
Spring Hill,TN–On Monday BEAT LAMAR and local Tea Party groups from across the state of Tennessee sent a letter to Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney demanding his resignation. Citing violations of the Tennessee Republican Party’s by-laws in which Devaney effectively endorsed incumbent Senator Lamar Alexander in a contested primary, the letter stated:
“In concert with the local Tea Party groups and activists in Tennessee that have signed this letter, BEAT LAMAR, a project of the Real Conservatives National Committee, an independent expenditure Super PAC, hereby demands your resignation as chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.”
BEAT LAMAR and the local Tea Party groups added a timeline for Chairman Devaney’s resignation, as well as a promise that should he fail to resign, the signators of the letter will undertake a “highly visible public campaign” to secure his ouster:
“In the event you have not submitted your letter of resignation as chairman to the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party by 5 pm on Tuesday, September 24, 2013, the signators of this letter will formally request that the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party fire you. In addition, we will immediately undertake a highly visible public campaign in which we will enlist the assistance of every member of the Tennessee Republican Congressional delegation, every Tennessee Republican state legislator, and every one of the state’s 95 Republican Party county chairmen to secure your ouster.”
“Constitutional conservatives around the country are putting the Republican establishment on notice,” said Michael Patrick Leahy, co-founder of BEAT LAMAR. “We are not going to let them get away with breaking the rules any more. They’ve tried to malign Ted Cruz in Washington, and they’re trying to shut out constitutional conservatives from fair primary elections here in Tennessee. We are simply not going to let them do that any more,” Leahy stated.
In addition to Leahy and BEAT LAMAR co-founder Lorie Medina, leaders of many of the most active Tea Party groups in the state signed the letter, including Ben Cunningham of the Nashville Tea Party, Mark West of the Chattanooga Tea Party, Lynn Moss of the Mid-South Tea Party, Doug and Kay and White of the Tri-Cities Tea Party, J. Lee Douglas, founder of the 9-12 Project Tennessee, Mary Cook of the Blount County Tea Party, David Vance of Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District Tea Party Coalition, Rosine Ghawji of the Memphis TEA Party, Gary Johnston of the Roane County Tea Party, Chris Beach of the Rutherford County Tea Party, and Keith Edward and Steve Lane of the Rutherford County Campaign for Liberty.
The letter to Chairman Devaney, dated Monday September 23, was sent via e-mail and certified mail today. All 66 members of the Tennessee Republican Party Executive Committee were copied on the email.
BEAT LAMAR is a project of the Real Conservatives National Committee, an independent expenditure Super PAC based in Spring Hill, Tennessee that focuses on the development of a conservative ground game infrastructure.