State Republicans Dismiss Challenge
Less than a week since a challenge to Republican sheriff candidate Bryan Graves was filed with the Tennessee Republican Party, contesting his status as a faithful member of the GOP, state party Chairman Ryan Hayes chucked the protest on Thursday, clearing the way for the former sheriff ’s chief deputy and highly decorated National Guard first sergeant to pursue his party’s nomination in March.
“Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes has dismissed the challenges to the bona fide status of Mr. Graves,” TNGOP Executive Director Brent Leatherwood told the BUZZ Thursday afternoon. “Additionally, we had Mr. Graves sign a loyalty pledge to the Republican Party. Because of this, he will be allowed to seek the Republican nomination for sheriff.”
On training maneuvers with the Guard at present, Graves was additionally validated at a meeting of the Monroe County Election Commission on Thursday evening, when it voted unanimously to accept the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards Training, or POST, Commission’s approval of Graves’ law enforcement qualifications.
With the vote, the election commission accepted Graves’ name to appear on the Monroe County Republican primary ballot on March 1.
On Friday last week, five registered GOP voters of Monroe County filed the challenge against Graves with the Tennessee Republican Party, questioning his status as “a bona fide” Republican as he had not voted in two of the last four Republican primaries. Graves countered their claims and said he had voted for his boss, Sheriff Bill Bivens, who was the top law enforcement official from 2006 to 2014 and under whom Graves served as a roads captain and chief deputy. A look at Graves’ prior voting record revealed he had voted Republican before 2006.
With Graves on the March Republican primary ballot will be Sheriff Tommy Jones and former deputy and school resource officer Albert Medina.
Facing one another in the Democratic primary will be ex-Sheriff Bivens and longtime sheriff ’s deputy and Madisonville police officer Gudger Bill Bivins.
Independent candidate for sheriff, Loudon County Sheriff ’s Detective Patrick Upton, will not be required to run in
the primary election, but will appear on the county general election ballot on August 4.
The Monroe County Election Commission approved Republicans Marsha Raper and Richard Kirkland and Democrat Martin Howard for the March primaries.
Early primary voting begins on February 10 and continues through February 23.