Republican Congressional candidate Robby Starbuck off the ballot — again

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Posted at 1:52 PM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 16:11:06-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — After a back and forth in court, Robby Starbuck is off the ballot again for the 5th Congressional District.

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Tennessee GOP didn't violate the state's open meetings act in making the decision to remove Starbuck from the ballot back in April. A chancery court reversed that decision earlier this week before the Tennessee Supreme Court heard the case, which stemmed from Starbuck suing to restore his name as a candidate.

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the GOP wasn't held to the same standard for other government meetings, and that the chancery erred in opining so.

"For the reasons stated above, we hold that the trial court erred as a matter of law in declaring that the defendants violated the Tennessee Open Meetings Act by deciding in a non-public meeting that Mr. Starbuck was not a bona fide Republican. As a result, we hold that the trial court erred in granting the temporary injunction," the justices wrote.

Starbuck responded noting the result was an "unbelievable loss for the system" for how people decide elections.

"I am heartbroken for the people of Tennessee that was allowed to happen," Starbuck wrote in a statement. "This is not the end for my campaign. We have other options that we will imminently seek out."

The seat — held by now retiring Democrat Jim Cooper — has caused a stir in political circles after the Tennessee legislature redrew the lines for the district, which includes a portion of Nashville. As it stands now, the map carves Davidson County's current District 5 into three different districts.

The new District 5 takes shape with six counties: south Davidson, east Williamson, west Wilson, pieces of Lewis, parts of Maury and a slice of Marshall County.