Tennessee Supreme Court bucks Robby Starbuck from GOP primary at behest of party leaders

"The law now is that parties don’t have to face their voters to explain why they’re removing a candidate," Starbuck said.

Updated: June 10, 2022 - 11:44pm

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The Tennessee Supreme Court on Friday sided with the state's Republican Party and issued a ruling to remove Tennessee Republican House candidate Robby Starbuck from the primary ballot.

Starbuck, a longshot candidate was barred from appearing on the 5th Congressional District primary ballot after the party voted to do so in a closed meeting on the grounds that he did not meet the party's requirements to stand in the race. Starbuck, however, won over the Davidson County Chancery Court last week and secured a ruling in his favor to restore him to the ballot.

Shortly thereafter, the state GOP filed a petition to appeal the ruling, with several high ranking Tennessee Republicans such as Attorney General Herb Slatery among the signatories.

The embattled candidate on Friday announced via Twitter that he had been removed from the ballot. "A very sad day for Tennessee voters who will be disenfranchised by today’s TN Supreme Court decision to overturn the State Court’s order to keep me on the ballot," he wrote. "As a result, my name has been removed from the ballot. The precedent this sets is shocking."

"The law now is that parties don’t have to face their voters to explain why they’re removing a candidate," he continued. "They can just decide they only want a few select party puppet options." Starbuck went on to highlight that, in Republican-dominant Tennessee, such a practice would effectively mean the party could choose the state's representatives and officials behind closed doors.

"In a super majority state like ours that means many reps will be SELECTED in secret instead of ELECTED," he said.

Starbuck appeared on "Just the News, Not Noise" on Tuesday and blamed the party establishment for working against candidates who back former President Donald Trump, saying "[w]e've got a lot of establishment people still... in the Republican Party on the state level, and they fear America first candidates."

The primary will take place on Aug. 4 and will include nine other candidates.