(Headline USA) Conservative candidate Robby Starbuck has been restored to the ballot in Tennessee’s 5th congressional district after a Nashville judge ruled the state party lacked the legal justification to disqualify him.
In April, the Tennessee GOP knocked him and another Republican candidate, Morgan Ortagus, off the ballot, claiming he did not fulfill a bylaw requirement mandating that candidates vote in three of the past four Republican primaries in order to be eligible to run.
A state court ruled last Friday that the party flouted the state’s Open Meetings Act by holding the vote to remove him from the ballot in private, thereby preventing public discussion on the matter.
“I think it says everything about the situation that they held this meeting in secret because they knew that if it was in public, it would be filled with people who would have put a lot of pressure for them to do the right thing and give our voters their voice,” Starbuck said, according to the Washington Examiner.
“This is giving a voice back to the people in middle Tennessee and allowing them to do the most American thing — choose who you want to represent you.”
The party could appeal the court’s decision, but it faces a June 10 deadline for finalized ballots. The primary election is slated for Aug. 4.
Starbuck said he hopes to repair his relationship with the Tennessee GOP.
“Now that the decision has been made, do you know I’ve already put out there I have mercy for the people who did this?” Starbuck said.
“I’m willing to forgo that [damages suit] and just take a loss on that if it can bring everybody together and ensure that we can have a clean fight for the primary and then go to the general working together to win and to, you know, ultimately have a majority in Congress.”