Bill stripping primary voters' ability to select U.S. Senate nominees advances in Tennessee state Senate

Bill stripping primary voters' ability to select U.S. Senate nominees advances in Tennessee state Senate

March 26th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

The Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville.

The Tennessee State Capitol in downtown Nashville.

Photo by The Tennessean /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Republican and Democratic primary voters no longer would call the shots on who their U.S. Senate nominees would be under a bill that advanced today in a Senate panel.

Instead, the power would go to the respective Republican and Democratic party caucuses in the General Assembly. Voters still would be able to decide in the general election between party candidates.

Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plain, the bill's sponsor, complained in the Senate State and Local Government Committee today that U.S. senators were appointed by state Legislatures until 1913 when a "mad rush" of progressivism gave the decision over to voters.

As a result, Niceley said, it "doesn't matter who's in control" in Washington.

"This is sort of just jerking their chain," he said. "If we don't do this we don't deserve to be here."

The bill passed on a 7-1 vote with one senator abstaining. If it were to pass both chambers of the legislature, it would take effect after the 2014 elections.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.