Smedley Contests Results of May 3 Primary

Over two weeks after narrowly losing the Republican Primary for Hamilton County Mayor, Sabrena Smedley has filed a complaint contesting Weston Wamp’s victory.

The basis of her complaint is massive alleged crossover voting by registered democrats.

But there’s a problem with that.

“Tennessee is an open primary. You do not have to declare a political affiliation. You can pull whichever primary ballot your gut tells you to pull, your conscience. Whatever drives you to vote, you can pull that ballot,” said Rachel Campbell, Chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

It’s true — the law does not prohibit democrats from voting for a republican in the primaries, or vice versa.

But Smedley still alleges a coordinated effort to get democrats to vote for Weston Wamp, citing an article from the Chattanoogan that suggests text messages were sent to democrats, soliciting GOP votes.

“We organize to elect democrats. We have not ever; we did not this time; we will not ever in the future organize in any way to elect a Republican into office. Our mandate, our drive, our passion, is to elect democrats. However, there is an open primary in Tennessee. You can pull whatever ballot you want,” said Campbell.

According to her appeal, Smedley is seeking remedial action either in the form of her being declared the Republican Nominee, or the results of the election being set aside.

Smedley refers to crossover votes by democrats as “illegitimate,” but, legally speaking, it’s not clear that they are.

“This is a time where we need to be lifting up democracy, small d democracy. We need to be shoring up our election systems, or at least our belief in our election systems. How terrible of her to suggest that because she didn’t get her way, and it didn’t go the way she wanted, that somehow the election is rigged,” Campbell said.

Categories: Chattanooga, Elections, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News