The Cheatham County Democratic Party has called for a local primary election for county and municipal offices to be held in conjunction with the Presidential Preference Primary on March 5, 2024.
This is the first year that Democrats will hold a primary election in the county, after the Cheatham County GOP held a primary for the first time in the 2022 election cycle.
For the 2024 local election cycle, there are 11 open positions:
Cheatham County School Board Seats for Districts 2 (Pleasant View), 3 (Ashland City) and 6 (Kingston Springs);
County Highway Superintendent;
Assessor of Property;
Council seats in Ashland City, Kingston Springs, Pegram and Pleasant View; and
Mayors for Ashland City and Pegram.
According to Cheatham County Democrats, prior to the 2022 elections, local elections were nonpartisan and county officials were elected in the general election. The group said that in 2021, the General Assembly enacted legislation to give county parties the authority to determine if they would hold primaries and “the Republican Party did so immediately.”
Despite this, the Cheatham Democrats said they made the decision to keep partisan labels out of local politics for the 2022 election cycle, and in consequence it “revealed a good bit of voter confusion.”
“After much deliberation, which included input from the community, previous candidates and previously elected leadership, it was concluded that Democratic voters deserve to be represented on the ballot at all levels,” the Cheatham County Democrats said.
“There is still strong consensus amongst Cheatham County Democratic Party members that local level politics should be nonpartisan and cooperation between elected officials is critical to facilitate the needs of the community,” the group continued, adding, “Good governance means elected officials, regardless of their party affiliation, must represent and serve all the people.”
The Cheatham County GOP Chairman, Perry Keenan, said that during the group’s monthly May meeting this year, they voted to not hold a primary for the 2024 election cycle. But due to Democrats calling a primary election, the state GOP is requiring a Republican primary in Cheatham County as well, according to the group’s leader.
The “saving grace” in all of this, Keenan said, is that no taxpayer money will be used to hold a primary election for either party since the vote will fall on the same day as the Presidential Preference Primary on March 5, 2024. Keenan estimated that it costs the county $40,000 to $50,000 in taxpayer dollars to hold a primary election when it is not held in conjunction with a Presidential election.
Candidates may still choose to qualify to run for office as “Independent” in this upcoming election cycle, but Independent candidates will not be voted on in the March 5 primary and will be named on the General Election ballot only.
Those candidates who want voters to see their names on the ballot in both the Primary and General Elections will need to qualify as Democrat or Republican.
The deadline to qualify to run for these offices is December 14, 2023 at noon.
If you are interested in running for office as a Democrat or want to work to elect others to office, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in running for office as a Republican, contact email@example.com.