Should the DeKalb County Democratic Party choose its nominees for county offices by convention rather than a primary?
In order to ensure that bona fide Democrats are nominees of the Democratic Party, a party by-laws amendment has been proposed to authorize the DeKalb County Democratic Party Executive Committee to choose the nomination process for the following county offices: County Mayor, General Sessions Judge, Circuit Court Clerk, Sheriff, County Clerk, Trustee, Register of Deeds, Road Supervisor, Assessor of Property, County Commissioners, and Constables. Having a convention rather than a primary would allow Democratic candidates to save money on primary costs and spare money to spend for the general election. The cost to the taxpayers of holding a primary is approximately $20,000.
The proposal does not apply to the city mayors and aldermen and school board members because they are non-partisan positions
Under the plan, candidates interested in becoming a party nominee for a county office would have two months prior to the convention to send a letter stating why they wish to seek the party nomination and provide a brief biography by the time of the mass meeting. The mass meeting would be held one week prior to the convention allowing potential candidates an opportunity to formally announce their candidacies.
The nominating convention composed of the executive committee would nominate and elect candidates who have sent letters to the executive committee for consideration. Candidates would be given an opportunity to address the executive committee and to answer questions by the committee. Anyone receiving a majority vote from the committee would become the nominee for that office representing the Democratic Party. If no one receives a majority vote on the first round, the top two ranking candidates would be voted on again by the executive committee.
Party nominees selected by the convention would be on the August General Election ballot to run against any Republican and or Independent candidates for those offices. However anyone who fails to receive the nomination of either party cannot then run as an Independent in the general election that year. Under state law, (TCA 2-5-101) no candidate in a party primary or party caucus may appear on the ballot in a general election as the nominee of a different political party or as an independent
The DeKalb County Republican Party has historically chosen its party nominees for county offices by caucus consisting of delegates chosen from each district of the county.
The DeKalb County Democratic Executive Committee is made up of twenty members, including a man and woman from each of the seven county commission districts along with the party officers, chairman, vice chairman, secretary, and treasurer, as well as two ex-officio members including an Hispanic and Young Democrats representative.
A Biennial Reorganization Convention to elect party leaders will be held on Saturday, March 25th at 10:00 a.m. at the DeKalb County Courthouse.
Two meetings will be held. The first meeting will be for the sole purpose of reorganization in order for the convention to officially elect the executive committee. That is all the business according to the state bylaws that can be presented at the first meeting. Immediately following the reorganization convention, an executive committee meeting will be held where the proposed bylaws change will be considered by the board. The executive committee will open the floor to hear from everyone in attendance who wishes to express concerns. After taking comments, the committee will vote on whether to move forward with the proposed bylaws change, to make other changes, or to drop the proposal completely.