In the September 18 edition of the News-Leader, Jennifer King of Huntingdon stated some of her reasons for resigning from the position of chancellor over the 24th Judicial District just nine days after she was appointed to the job by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.
But in her resignation letter to the governor, which has since been obtained and published by multiple media sources, King points squarely at actions taken by Rep. Bruce Griffey of Paris and his wife, Rebecca, as the primary cause of her resignation.
King accuses the Griffeys of actively cooking up “back door deals” to force the Republican parties of the five counties in the judicial district to reverse an earlier decision to hold public primary elections and opting instead to determine who will be the party’s nominee for her position in the 2020 election by caucus.
Rebecca Griffey was among the applicants for the chancellor spot, but she was not selected as a finalist for the job.
King states in her letter that the Tennessee Republican Party violated its own bylaws in forcing the caucus, which she says will make it easier for a select few to pick a preferred candidate, rather than leaving the choice up to the district’s voters.
“I became an attorney to serve the people, the real people who work hard every day to support families,” wrote King. “The same people deserve more from this flawed system than having their county judiciary be a pawn in the hands of a few individuals.”
Records provided to the media by Lee’s administration reveal that Rep. Griffey sent a letter to Lee earlier this year urging him to chose his wife as chancellor, and when she did not get selected as a finalist, Griffey sent a second letter to the governor warning that picking one of the top two male candidates would “look sexist and misogynistic.”
Griffey also wrote in that letter that King was unfit to hold the position of chancellor.
In a response published last week in the Paris Post-Intellingencer, Rep. Griffey claims that “Ms. King’s allegations are inaccurate and appear based on innuendo and hearsay.”
Griffey further stated that the 24th Judicial District has a history of nominating Republican candidates through caucus, and cites several examples of this.
“Holding a caucus to Nominate Republican Party candidates is nothing new to this judicial district,” states Griffey, “and has many benefits, including, but not limited to, allowing candidates to conserve funding for the general election.”
Griffey also points out that, even if a primary were held, King’s status as a Republican would be challenged due to her past voting record.
Since her resignation, King has returned to private law practice with her husband at King & King, PLC in Jackson.