A message from our HCGOP Chairman Joe DeGaetano

Dear Hamilton County Republicans:

As you may know, Judge Neil Thomas has announced that he will be stepping down from the Circuit Court bench in October. The Tennessee Trial Court Vacancy Commission announced this week that it will meet on August 30th to interview applicants and submit the names of three nominees to Governor Haslam, who will appoint one of those people to serve as Circuit Court Judge until August 31, 2018. The Governor’s appointee will stand for election, in the May 2018 primary and August 2018 general elections, to serve the remainder of Judge Thomas’ term (which expires in 2022). Applications for the appointment are due August 3rd, and the Nominating Commission has encouraged “all candidates to submit applications as early as possible.”

After deep reflection with my family, and at the urging of many fellow Republicans, I have decided to apply for the Governor’s appointment to serve as Circuit Court Judge, and to run for election in the May 2018 Republican Primary.

Regrettably, because Rule 4.1 of the Tennessee Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits a judicial candidate (whether for election or appointment) from holding an office in a political organization, I am required to step down as Chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party in order to seek the appointment to serve as Circuit Court Judge.

I plan to submit my application for the appointment later this week, at which time my resignation as Chairman will be effective. According to Article 5.7 of the By-Laws of the Hamilton County Republican Party, the Vice Chairman “shall automatically assume the office of Chairman . . . , on a temporary basis,” if that office becomes vacant. Then, “[t]he County Executive Committee shall proceed to meet and elect, by majority vote, a new Chairman . . . within thirty (30) days after such vacancy occurs.” I have spoken with Vice Chairman Marsha Yessick, and she is willing and eager to serve as Chairman until the next County Convention in 2019. She will call a special meeting of the County Executive Committee within 30 days for the purpose of electing a new Chairman to serve until that time. In light of her great work thus far, particularly in organizing our successful Lincoln Day Dinner, I am confident that Vice Chairman Yessick would make an excellent Chairman.

Although I regret not being able to continue serving our Party as Chairman, I know we will remain in good hands, and I am grateful for the trust you placed in me in allowing me to serve. Thank you very much.

Very truly yours,

Joe DeGaetano