A routine check of voting histories by the Rutherford County Republican Party has called into question Greg Brooks' eligibility as a primary road superintendent candidate.
“As I told the committee last month,” Rutherford County Republican Party Executive Committee member Tim Rudd explained at a meeting Tuesday night, “it would appear all candidates running in the GOP Primary meet the minimum criteria to run as a Republican with the single exception of Greg Brooks.”
Brooks was not present at the meeting and was unavailable for comment.
The Tennessee Republican Party has strict rules as to who can run as a Republican.
According to the state GOP bylaws, candidates must be active in the local party, be vouched for by an officer of the state party or have voted in a Republican primary in two of the last four election cycles to qualify as a “bona fide Republican.”
For example, Democratic Assessor of Property Candidate Rob Mitchell has voted as a Republican in three primary elections in the past and no Democratic primary elections, which qualifies him as a bona fide Republican.
But, Brooks has not voted in any primary elections, save the one he is currectly running in, he must meet one of the other requirements.
No one from the state party or any member of the county's state legislative delegation has vouched for Brooks.
County GOP Chairman Austin Maxwell said he only met Brooks at the party's Christmas party, where he announced his intention to run for road superintendent.
“This is not an endorsement or denouncement of any candidate ...” Maxwell said. “He has not been active in our party and his voting record speaks for itself.”
And his voting record is a little suspect.
Documents from the Rutherford and Franklin counties Election Commissions show Brooks voted in two elections in Franklin County since moving to Rutherford County in 2004, which could be illegal.
This issue is cloudy because state law allows voters to live in one county, yet legally vote in another, as long as they own property and intend to return to that county.
Which means if Brooks was living in Rutherford County but owned property and intended to return to Franklin County, then his legal residency was in Franklin County.
“If a person living in Rutherford County and voting in Franklin County without an intention to return to Franklin County has committed voter fraud and has committed a felony offense,” Rudd said.
But, because Brooks only changed his voter registration in October 2011.
“If Mr. Brooks intends to return down there, … then he doesn't meet the one-year residency requirement,” Rudd said.
In short, he either voted illegally in Franklin County or hasn't been a resident of Rutherford County long enough to legally hold office here.
To complicate matters more, the deadline to remove Brooks from the ballot has passed and there is a real possiblity he could win the primary to become the GOP road superintendent candidate.
If Brooks does win the nomination, only a local judge can remove him from the August ballot because of illegal actions, Rudd said.
“If he gets the nomination, then he's the nominee,” Rudd said. “Only the voters and the legal system can judge him now.”