County-Level GOP Primaries Confuse Some At Nashville Ballot Box

Signs litter the lawn of Granbery Elementary in south Nashville. Unlike previous judicial elections, voters in Nashville are having to choose whether to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Signs litter the lawn of Granbery Elementary in south Nashville. Unlike previous judicial elections, voters in Nashville are having to choose whether to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

It’s been a confusing day for some voters unaccustomed to choosing between Democrats and Republicans in county elections. In Nashville, Republicans are holding a rare judicial primary – the first since 1996.

Pat Cron is a lawyer who says he forgot that the Democratic primary in Nashville typically decides who will assume jobs like district attorney, county clerk and general sessions judge.

“I was a little befuddled going in and didn’t think about the fact that it’s a primary election, and so I mistakenly told them Republican up front. And there’s nobody to vote for if you vote in the Republican primary.” – Nashville voter Pat Cron

When he realized all the Republicans were uncontested – meaning they automatically advance to the August General Election – Cron requested a Democratic ballot.

Those GOP candidates for judge will have a tough time considering the city’s historical partisan leanings, but they are not random Republicans running for office. The state party has made a concerted effort to get more involved in local offices.

The GOP has also pushed this year for primaries in Maury, Rutherford, White and Coffee counties.

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