Macon County Chronicle

May Primary Election Confusion Clarified

As of press time, both the Macon County Republican Party and Macon County Democratic Party have intentions of participating in a May 2010 Primary.

While the decision for each party to have a primary is not surprising, it was a series of letters submitted to the Election Commission that left members wondering if there would be one at all.

According to Macon County Administrator of Elections Tammy Smith, each political party chairman was sent a letter around September 1, by the Macon County Election Commission office, notifying them of the options the party had, concerning the 2010 county elections.

Smith released this statement regarding the recent events leading up to the parties’ latest announcements:

On November 13, 2009, the Macon County Election Commission received a letter from the Republican Chairman (Nicky Rittenberry), stating that Republican Party was NOT going to have a primary. The Macon County Election Commission met on Monday, November 16, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. and they honored their request officially, as stated in the minutes.

On November 18th, the Macon County Election Commission received a letter from the Democratic Party stating that they would have a primary IF the Republicans had a primary. This letter was discussed by the Macon County Election Commission at a meeting held on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 4:00 p.m.

On November 20, 2009, Nicky Rittenberry brought a letter to the Macon County Election Commission office stating that the Republican Party DID want to have a May Primary election. Therefore, a meeting was called by the Macon County Election Commission Chairman, Glen Donoho, for Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 4:00 p.m.

As Administrator of Elections, I called Nicky Rittenberry on Monday, November 23, 2009 to ask him to supply, to the Macon County Election Commission, which county offices they were requesting to be on the May Primary ballot as required by T.C.A. 2-13-203(d). He stated that he would bring that information into the Election office before the meeting scheduled for November 24, 2009.

On Tuesday morning, Republican Party Chairman Nicky Rittenberry came into the Macon County Election Commission Office and stated that the Republican Party was going to wait until after a county-wide Republican meeting was held on December 10, 2009 to officially call a May Primary. Therefore, as administrator of elections, I informed Chairman Donoho, and the scheduled meeting was called off in order to save the county money for the meeting.

In a discussion with Nicky Rittenberry at approximately 9:30 this morning, December 3, 2009, he stated that the Republican Party will be meeting soon, and they do have intentions of calling a May Primary for Macon County. The meeting will be published in the newspapers next week.

A statute requires a county political party executive committee to give a county election commission a written notice at least 60 days before the qualifying deadline if they intend to hold a county primary for all or some of the county offices eligible for a primary election. The last day to give written notice is December 20, 2009 for the May 4, 2010 Primary. The qualifying deadline is February 18, 2010.