“I can tell you the Mt. Juliet Republican Women support me and want me to serve, and I want to serve,” said Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet.
When the Mt. Juliet Republican Women voted Lynn as president in December, it also gave her a seat on the Wilson County Republican Party Executive Committee. Lynn said she voiced her opinion during the executive committee’s Jan. 2 meeting, the first Lynn attended in her new capacity. Not long after the meeting, she was removed.
“The first thing they did was try to unseat me,” Lynn said. “They pulled out a rule from the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women that says you can’t be a candidate for election in a contested primary. I wasn’t a candidate at the time.”
The Tennessee Federation of Republican Women’s bylaw said, “Should a club president file for election to public office involving a primary, excluding the state executive committee of the Tennessee Republican Party or as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, support publicly a candidate in a primary, advocate a split party ticket or support a candidate running on an opposition ticket, she must resign from the office she holds.”
“This bylaw was pulled by the Wilson County Republican Party, not by the Mt. Juliet Republican Women. I want to make that clear,” said Lynn, who helped start the Mt. Juliet Republican Women.
Terri Nicholson is chair of the Wilson County Republican Party.
“The issue lies exclusively with the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women,” Nicholson said. “That was an internal issue with the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women, and it’s been handled.”
Nicholson would not comment further on Lynn’s removal.
“This is an internal issue, and it has been handled. I have no further comment,” said Barbara Trautman, president of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women in an email to The Democrat.
Ann Calabria, acting president of the Mt. Juliet Republican Women, issued a statement to The Democrat on behalf of the group. Calabria did not attend the Jan. 2 Wilson County Republican Party Executive Committee meeting.
“The Mt. Juliet Republican Women feel that it is unfortunate that the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women were dragged into the continuing Wilson County Republican Party political battle,” Calabria said in the statement. “Wilson County could be the strongest conservative county in the state if this conflict were to cease, but under the current circumstances, that seems unlikely to happen.
“Susan Lynn was rightfully elected to be the president of the MJRW. As our president, she has never endorsed a candidate in the current gubernatorial race nor prior, and at the time of the misleading of the TFRW, she had not declared candidacy in the current race. According to the TFRW bylaws, she would have become ineligible only after paperwork is filed in April.
“Some battles are not worth fighting. So, Rep. Lynn has asked the MJRW to elect a new president, and she hopes to serve in another position in the club. We continue to work toward continued Republican unity.”
Lynn picked up a petition Jan. 5 at the Wilson County Election Commission office, following her removal last week as Republican Women of Mt. Juliet president, but she hasn’t since turned in her paperwork to officially run for re-election to the District 57 House seat she currently holds.
She also contends she didn’t endorse any one candidate for governor.
“I have said nice things about some of the candidates, but it wasn’t an endorsement,” Lynn said. “And I haven’t said anything about any candidate after I became president. The rule says president, not a citizen prior to becoming president.”
After she received the news she was removed as president, Lynn pleaded her case with the federation.
“I called the federation and explained I wasn’t a candidate and hadn’t supported any one candidate,” Lynn said. “I appealed, and it’s on appeal.”
So far, Lynn is the only potential candidate to pick up a petition in the District 57 House race, though Jeremy Hayes and Wilson County Commissioner Dan Walker have expressed interest in running for the seat in the Republican primary, which will be Aug. 2. The qualifying deadline is April 5 at noon, and the withdrawal deadline will be a week later.