Tag Archives: Alan Woodruff

Kookogey Google News dislodged from my Feedly, and other gobbledygook

The “unannounced candidate” announced that he is not a candidate. Kevin Kookogey will not join Rep. Joe Carr in challenging U.S. Lamar Alexander.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, however, retains his spot in my list of potentials.

Chairmen to battle for clerk spot: Hamilton County Commission Chairman Larry Henry made it official today: he will go up against School Board Chairman Mike Evatt (son of the late former Sheriff H.Q. Evatt) in the race for Circuit Court Clerk. Incumbent Paula Thompson is not seeking re-election.

Actually, that should be “former…Chairman Larry Henry” as the Commission today elected Fred Skillern to its leadership post. Skillern, who has been the chair previously, is quoted as saying that he seeks to “run a well-oiled machine”—a machine, that is, that couldn’t get past a 3-way tie for vice-chair and had to postpone the vote.

I don’t know about you, but a famous question from Blazing Saddles came to mind as soon as I saw this news release.

Where did our rules go? Ask the Supremes.

In other news, Pete Drew is running again. I don’t know how many people can claim the title “perennial candidate” in more than one city, but my eye is on this guy, who can boast of running in multiple states (not at the same time, naturally).

Constitution and Green Parties gain ballot access

There is big news in the ongoing battle for minor party ballot recognition in Tennessee. If you’ll recall, a federal judge struck down Tennessee’s ballot access laws as unconstitutional, after a lawsuit by the respective state entities of the Constitution Party, the Green Party, and the Libertarian Party.

As a result, the Tennessee General Assembly changed the law in 2011. However, the parties saw the change as nominal at best, and so two of them (Constitution and Green) sued again. The court agreed, and issued a ruling that covers multiple fronts. From the Tennesseean, which Richard Winger faintly praised as the only news outlet to report on the story:

[Judge William J.] Haynes declared that minor parties cannot be forced to conduct primaries, as required by state law. Plaintiffs’ Attorney Alan Woodruff says primaries are too expensive for smaller parties, and that nominating conventions would relieve that burden.

The judge enjoined the state from banning the words “independent” and “nonpartisan” in a party’s name as it appears on a ballot, stating the ban violates free speech rights.

He said the state’s requirement that major parties be listed highest on ballots followed by minor parties was unlawful. He ordered the state to hold a drawing to determine ballot order.

Winger also correctly notes that the Nashville paper left out a key element of the story, namely that, based on past petition performance, the Constitution and Green parties are automatically included on the 2012 ballot in this state:

The decision also puts the Constitution and Green Parties on the 2012 ballot, based on the evidence that in the recent past, both parties did collect several thousand signatures on petitions to get on the Tennessee ballot.

Of course, now they need to round up some candidates to run. Also, I wonder if the Tennessee Libertarian Party regrets its decision not to join in the latest lawsuit. (That said, Winger points out that they may not have been automatically ballot-qualified even if they had.)

Incidentally, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in this suit is Alan Woodruff, who is running for Congress in the 1st District—as a “Blue Dog” Democrat.

Congressional race roundup, District One

Alan Woodruff is running for office in the 1st Congressional District. He calls himself a “Blue Dog” Democrat—an increasingly rare breed these days—and hopes to win the party’s nomination and go on to defeat the incumbent, Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, in the 2012 general election.

Woodruff ran for Congress two years ago, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a Libertarian Party candidate. Or was it as a Green Party candidate? Both, actually. Sort of. He secured the nomination of the Libertarian Party of New Mexico, and later changed his affiliation from Libertarian to Green. But then the Green Party was found not to have ballot access after failing to receive enough votes in 2008, and lost a challenge in the courts to have its candidates on the ballot.

Enter the Constitution Party of Tennessee, which, together with the Green Party of Tennessee, has filed a lawsuit challenging the new ballot access guidelines put in place after a federal judge ruled that the old ballot access laws were unconstitutionally restrictive. The new lawsuit claims that the reforms were not sufficient and thus ballot access by minor parties remains unfairly prohibitive. The two attorneys for the plaintiffs are Darrell Castle, the national Constitution Party’s nominee for Vice President in 2008; and Alan Woodruff.

In December, I asked Woodruff about his 2010 New Mexico run, his being listed as a candidate for multiple parties, and his decision to run as a Democrat in Tennessee while representing a third party’s lawsuit for greater ballot access.

He quickly answered with this response (excerpted):

In 2008, I was retained as attorney for a coalition [of] minor parties in New Mexico who wanted to challenge the state’s ballot access laws that impaired the ability of minor parties, and their candidates, to be included on the ballot. One of the laws we were challenging was a law barring “fusion” candidates — candidates nominated by more than one party. To have standing to challenge that law, I was nominated by both the [Libertarian] and Green parties. In the 2010 election cycle my candidacy was more for purposes of our lawsuit that any expectation of actually making the ballot or being elected.

…[M]y experience … advocating for the interests of disenfranchised voters motivated be to become a candidate for the 1st congressional district which has become so dominated by ultra conservatives that the average voter has no effective voice. Before my temporary relocation to New Mexico, I lived in Seviereville [sic], and voted Democratic and suffered the dominance of Republican control of the 1st District. Now I intend to change that.

I also asked the Tennessee Democratic Party if there were any concerns about having a congressional candidate running with their party affiliation but representing the Green and Constitution parties in the lawsuit. Brandon Puttbrese, party spokesman, replied that there were none, saying that “it’s a fairness issue. Is it fair that any party be blocked from the ballot? No.”

The first day to pick up petitions for the August 2012 primary is February 6. If no other candidates run, Roe and Woodruff will face each other in the November general election.