Marty Von Schaaf elected chair of Hamilton County GOP

The Hamilton County Republican Party on Saturday elected former Chattanooga Pachyderm Club president Marty Von Schaaf as its new chairman. A nominating committee earlier had submitted Von Schaaf’s name at the top of a slate of candidates, hoping for a unanimous vote. However, outgoing chair Delores Gross Vinson received a nomination from the convention floor, turning the race competitive.

Von Schaaf had come under fire from some Republicans for having supported disgraced former sheriff Billy Long, a Democrat, for election to office as well as during the sentencing phase of Long’s federal trial.

UPDATE: the remainder of the nominating committee’s slate, including Allison Brewster for Vice Chair, was also elected.

Journalists were not allowed into the Republicans’ convention. This decision was opposed by former chairwoman Vinson.

Special election today

The polls have just opened in Tennessee House of Representatives District 98 and Tennessee Senate District 18. Today’s election is a primary, but as each district heavily favors one party, it is very likely (certain in House 98) that the winner will be chosen today. The general election for Senate District 18 is March 4.

Click here to see who’s running in the House District 98 Democratic primary.

Click here to see who’s running in the Senate District 18 Republican primary.

Winslow v. Saltsman update

This is a follow-up post to the story that broke this morning wherein Robin Smith’s former communications director Mark Winslow filed suit against U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann’s chief campaign consultant, Chip Saltsman.

Chattanooga TV station WRCB posted a story on its website containing a few more details, and later uploaded the complaint. The suit seeks $750,000 in damages for “defamation and tortious interference with a contractual relationship.” It alleges that Saltsman somehow acquired a confidential employment agreement that had been stored in Tennessee Republican Party chair Chris Devaney’s office, and that Saltsman then distributed that document to the media.

Winslow suing Saltsman

Fallout from the bitter Third District GOP primary continues as Mark Winslow, a top campaign aide to Robin Smith, has filed a lawsuit against Chip Saltsman, who was a key campaign adviser to U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and now works as the congressman’s chief of staff.

According to a copy of the summons, W. Gary Blackburn, John Ray Clemmons, and J. Michael Clemons of Chaffin, Burnsed & Blackburn, along with Raymond Throckmorton, have filed on behalf of Winslow in Davidson County Circuit Court.

Details of the civil action are not yet known.

The Fleischmann campaign had accused Smith of mishandling Tennessee Republican Party funds while she was chair, including what were said to be inappropriate payments to Winslow, who was Smith’s chief of staff before she resigned to run for office.

Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.