Catoosa County GOP Denies Candidates on Primary Ballot | Local News – Local 3 News

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Judge Don Thompson has ordered Catoosa County deputies to escort the candidates when they re-submit the paperwork to qualify.
Judge Don Thompson has ordered Catoosa County deputies to escort the candidates when they re-submit the paperwork to qualify.
Judge Don Thompson has ordered Catoosa County deputies to escort the candidates when they re-submit the paperwork to qualify.
“I don’t know what kind of special x-ray machine they’ve got when people walk in that they can look at you and go ‘nope, you’re not a republican’ and ‘yes, you are a republican,'” said Harris.
A Catoosa County judge released a new order that allows four candidates to re-qualify for the May 21st ballot through the election commission.

UPDATE: A judge issued a new order that has allowed four candidates in Catoosa County to re-qualify for the May 21 ballot through the election commission.
“It’s a battle we’ve been fighting since Monday morning, 9 o’clock. It should not be this hard to give the voters a choice on who they want to vote for,” said one of the candidates, Steven Henry.
This is in response to the Catoosa County GOP continuing to deny those candidates a spot on the republican primary ballot.
“If you want people to continue believing in the ability of the Republican party, then you have to make sure that they are voting in a way that’s consistent with our platform,” said Georgia Republican Assembly President Nathaniel Darnell.
Judge Don Thompson sustained his restraining order on Thursday, allowing the candidates to re-qualify.
The republican party was told by the judge they had until the compliance hearing on Friday morning, and it would cost them if they refused.
Candidates Jeff Long, Vanita Hullander, Larry Black, and Steven Henry have until noon to get on the ballot to qualify ahead of the may elections.
The GOP will continue to be fined until then. Candidates will be able to file directly with the election commission, but this is most likely a temporary decision.
“I want to make it clear that this fight is not over. They will be battling to get us removed from the ballot, so don’t think today is the end of it. It’s just the start of more litigation to take the rights away from you,” said Henry. 
“There’s going to be appeals filed of course. I expect that the judges behavior is going to be overturned,” said Darnell.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Catoosa County Republican party has denied four candidates a spot on the republican primary ballot despite Judge Don Thompson sustaining his restraining order allowing the candidates to re-qualify. 
Judge Thompson told the county GOP Thursday they had until 8:30am Friday, the scheduled compliance hearing, to allow this. They continue to deny candidates Jeff Long, Vanita Hullander, Larry Black, and Steven Henry and will face repercussions. 
“The judge said that for every hour they don’t qualify there is going to be a thousand dollar fine per member of the executive committee. He didn’t threaten jail time, but he did note that if there is contempt then he does have the ability to give jail time of up to twenty days,” said Catoosa County Attorney Jeremy Jones. 
PREVIOUS STORY: A judge has denied the GOP’s request to dismiss a temporary injunction that would have kept four candidates in Catoosa County off the May ballot.
The local GOP chair told Commissioners Jeff Long and Vanita Hullander they were not qualified to be on the Republican ballot in their bid for re-election.
Judge Don Thompson has ordered Catoosa County deputies to escort the candidates when they re-submit the paperwork to qualify.
Judge Thompson has also ordered that those deputies turn on their body cameras during the encounter to make sure their qualifications are submitted.
If the local GOP party refuses to accept the qualifications again, they could be fined $1,000 an hour for each candidate who is denied.
Stay with the Local 3 News app for updates to this developing story.
PREVIOUS STORY: Incumbent Catoosa County Commissioners Jeff Long and Vanita Hullander were told Monday by Catoosa County GOP Chair Joanna Hildreth that they do not qualify for the party.
This means they are not allowed on the Republican primary ballot when residents vote in May. 
“Party officials have deemed that you have to, you need to come to them and be qualified as a real republican,” said District 2 Catoosa County Commissioner and Vice Chairman, Chuck Harris. “Sixteen people are making the choice for 70,000 people in Catoosa County.”
The deadline to qualify is noon on Friday and Harris says the commissioners may not meet that deadline. 
“They cannot qualify without the good graces of the Catoosa Republican party, and the Catoosa Republican party just told them they will not get those good graces,” said Harris.
Both Long and Hullander lawyered up, and had them present Monday. Harris says this is when they officially knew they were not on the list of approved candidates. 
“I don’t know what kind of special x-ray machine they’ve got when people walk in that they can look at you and go ‘nope, you’re not a republican’ and ‘yes, you are a republican,'” said Harris. 
Local 3 News was not allowed inside the republican party headquarters where the board was making their decision. Our team was asked to leave the property. 
We reached out to Long and Hullander and the Catoosa County republican party. We were not provided with a statement from any. 
The Catoosa County republican party general meeting is Monday at 6:30 PM at 120 General Lee Dr.
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