Williamson County, Tenn., Voting Guide | July 2024

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Hi. It’s Jared Sullivan.

I began this (sporadic) community newsletter after the Covenant massacre last year and promised to keep Williamson County folks informed about big-deal political happenings in our community. That’s why I’m writing to you today. Because it’s time to vote.

Early voting for school-board seats and the August 1 primary began late last week and runs until July 27. (Sorry I’m just now sending this email; life got busy.) There’s a lot at stake, so please don’t sit out this election, as sick of following politics as you might be. A few resources: you can check to see if you’re registered to vote and which districts you live in here. And early-voting locations are listed here. Now the races…


This isn’t a primary; it’s the real deal. Four of the GOP candidates — Tony Bostic (District 1), Dennis Driggers (District 3), Claire Reeves (District 9), and Tonya Hibma (District 11) — are endorsed by the pro-voucher 1776 PAC. So if you’re a Republican (or at least vote for Republicans) and want Williamson County to continue to have great public schools, it might be a good time to cross party lines. (I’ve outlined some of the problems with vouchers and “school choice” policies here.) 

Here’s who I believe deserves your vote and will fight for our great public schools:

District 1: Elmer A. Mobley
District 3: Diane Cochran
District 5: Jennifer Aprea
District 7: Melissa Wyatt
District 9: Shandus Parish*
District 11: Tony Caudill

*The District 9 race is of special note. The Republican candidate, Claire Reeves, is not only pro-voucher, but her husband, Lee, who’s running for a seat in the General Assembly, was also affiliated with the anti-government extremist group Moms for Liberty. Shandus Parish, Reeves’s Democrat opponent, has received the endorsement of at least one sitting GOP member of the WCS board for her sensible stances. She would, by all accounts, do a great job.


Vote to REPLACE Dwight Tarwater

When Tarwater was a corporate defense attorney, he fought against the workers who were sickened at the TVA Kingston coal-ash cleanup, and he will not be a friend to average Tennesseans on the bench. 


OK, now the primaries: the Republican candidates are, as ever in Williamson County, an extremely mixed bag, ranging from moderate to let’s-defund-the-government types. Here’s the GOP sample ballot. Most races are uncontested. Here are the two contests where your vote really matters (I mean, your vote always really matters, but you get it):

U.S. House of Representatives District 5
VOTE FOR: Courtney Johnston. Because Andy Ogles should be unseated.

T.N. House District 65
VOTE FOR: Brian Beathard. This race is for Sam Whitson’s seat, and it’s important. Beathard’s Republican opponents are (1) Lee Reeves, who loves vouchers and was affiliated with Moms for Liberty, and (2) Michelle Foreman, who aligns herself with noted cousin-marriage proponent Gino Bulso and wants to sue local schools over books. I’m hoping that Reeves and Foreman split the extreme rightoid, Trump-did-nothing-wrong, don’t-tread-on-me vote and Beathard coasts to victory, but one can never be sure.

(I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that a guy named Tres Wittum is running against Marsha Blackburn in the GOP Senate primary, but, based on interviews he’s given, it’s almost impossible for me to tell whether he’s any less odious than she is, so you’re on your own there.)


Here’s the Democratic ballot. As with the GOP races, I’m not going to list uncontested races; just contested ones: 

U.S. Senate
VOTE FOR: Gloria Johnson. So she can beat Marsha in the general.

T.N. House District 61
VOTE FOR: Claire Jones. Because Jones stands the best chance of beating Gin Bulso in the general, and she’s trying to build a pro-child, pro-education, pro-healthcare, pro-gun-reform coalition.

My name is Jared Sullivan. I was previously an editor for Field & Stream magazine, and I still love to hunt and fish and shoot. But I believe that we need thoughtful gun laws to ensure the safety of our children and of our fellow Tennesseans. My wife, Caroline, and I both grew up in Franklin and are doing much of the organizing behind Common-sense Tennessee, with help from our dear friends Lauren and Henry Martin. Feel free to contact me here, or by filling out the below form.