“I am, indeed, a bona fide Republican,” Road Superintendent primary candidate Greg Brooks said in response to recent allegations.
Last week, the Rutherford County Republican Party heard a report from member Tim Rudd about Brooks voting history and if, indeed, he is a “bona fide Republican.”
“Recent allegations that I am not a Republican are inaccurate,” Brooks continued. “The statements, including the timing of their release, appear to be politically motivated.”
A routine check of voting histories by the Rutherford County Republican Party called Brooks' GOP cred into question and, in turn, his eligibility as a primary candidate for road superintendent.
“As I told the committee last month,” Rudd explained at last Tuesday's meeting, “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.”
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.”
Brooks has not been active in the party, voted in any primary elections, save the one he is currently running in, nor has anyone from the state party or any member of the county's state legislative delegation has vouched for him.
But Brooks takes issue with how the situation came to light.
“I am a life-long Republican and wholly support the Republican Party and its goals,” he said in a written statement.
Brooks said no one has officially challenged his status as a Republican.
“If my status as a Republican had been challenged, I would have provided the necessary voucher confirming that I am, indeed, a bona fide Republican,” he said.
He also pointed out he was certified by the Tennessee Highway Officials Board as qualified to hold the office, as well as completing a qualifying petition.
“I have also complied with all of the laws to be registered as a local voter,” Brooks said.
But that brings up another issue with his voting record.
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.
Brooks changed his voter registration in October 2011, making his legal residence Rutherford County.
But, according to state law, candidates must be a resident of the county for a year before they are eligible to hold public office.
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.
Brooks did not comment on his residency in the statement.