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  • Writer's pictureTodd McKinley

My Views Regarding Partisan School Board Elections

Updated: Jun 2

Title: My Views Regarding Partisan School Board Elections


First off, if a “life-long Republican” as my opponent claims to be, is given the option to run as a Republican or as an Independent, they run as a Republican. If not, then we as voters must surmise the person running as an “Independent,” is perhaps in fact not a Republican. This is an assertion I can make, especially after looking at my opponent’s track record in public office and the dirty tricks he had a hand in perpetuating in recent elections. Also, one would think a “lifelong Republican” would at one point or another attend a Republican event from time to time, but I’ve never seen him at one, nor have the dozens of real lifelong Republicans that I’ve spoken with.


Pretending to be above partisan politics while actively engaging in partisan political races during the 2022 Republican Primary for Sullivan County Commission in District 6 that saw two candidates my opponent supported elected to office, while one has recently stepped down in disgrace from the Kingsport Police Department and likely the county commission in-the-near-future shows that my opponent isn’t above partisan politics, he’s just bad at it.


In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need political parties, school boards, or in short governments. But the reality is, we live in a world that’s nowhere near perfect, where the radical left has infiltrated many of our nation’s schools, hijacked school boards, national teachers’ unions, not to mention institutions of higher learning, and governments all to indoctrinate the youth of this nation to inflict their will on society. The evidence has been on full display for decades and especially in the last several years has gone off the deep end at full speed, and they’re looking to take our nation down with them. That’s why it’s important to know the basic political ideology of anyone running for public office, especially our school boards.


On one hand, many if not most Republicans (especially me) will fight against “woke” indoctrination. I’ll ensure that in Sullivan County boys and young men regardless of what they “identify” as; will never compete against girls and young women in sports and I’ll stand like the Rock of Gibraltar against males using female restrooms all while getting indoctrination the left has pushed for decades out of the classroom and allow teachers to simply teach the various subjects free from outside influence that has no purpose in the classrooms.


Saying you're above Partisan Politics and Partisan Elections is either shortsighted or more likely a farce, a misleading way to pull the proverbial wool over the eyes of the voters. Regardless, I'm happy to proclaim that I'm the Republican nominee for the Sullivan County School Board in District 5. As I’ve said for years, “It’s not about electing a Republican, it’s about electing the right Republican,” and in this race, I’m the right Republican.


After all, many voters for many different reasons don’t do much research especially when it comes to local candidates for office, which is why it’s important to have a Republican “R” next to the best candidate’s name. In other words, it lets the General Election voter know that there at least has been some vetting that has taken place, especially in a General Election where the other option on the ballot is either a Democrat or an Ambiguous Independent.


My Opponent's Thoughts

This section contains my opponent's thoughts regarding partisan school board elections in bullet point, and my remarks are in bold. My Source: Randall Jones Sullivan County School Board: Views on partisan School Board Elections (

• Boards of Education are charged with governing the school district so that all students receive the best educational opportunities in order to graduate prepared to enter a postsecondary institution or the workforce.


Me: I agree, which is why being a bulwark against bad ideas and ensuring the public has a real voice on the Sullivan County School Board is so important, instead of doing business the way it’s been done in recent years.


• Teachers and administrators are expected to be non-partisan in the classroom, and no less should be expected of our School Board members.


Me: I agree that teachers and administrators should be non-partisan in the classroom but look around and you’ll find that’s not been the case across the nation. I disagree that school board members “should be expected” to be non-partisan. After all, no rational adult is truly non-partisan, and even if every office at all levels across our country were held as “non-partisan” elections, bad actors the leftwing have supported in recent decades would slide into public office with even more ease. At least most Republicans believe and support teaching every subject free from any political biases, including right-wing bias, unlike Democrats and any Ambiguous Independent. Which again means it’s about “electing the right Republican.” #VoteTodd


• Prior to November 2021, all elections for school board members were required to be conducted on a nonpartisan basis, and no person seeking a position on a board could campaign as the nominee or representative of any political party. Tennessee Code Annotated 49-2-201, as revised in 2021, now allows school board elections to be conducted on a partisan or non-partisan basis. The new legislation allows county parties to declare whether a race will become partisan.


Me: On one hand, this is fine anecdotal information, but does nothing to sway the argument for or against partisan school board elections. On the other hand, it lets me know that some State Legislators realized the problem we were facing by continuing to hold elections “the way we’ve always done it,” and hoping for better results.


• This decision in Sullivan County was made by the political parties, not the citizens.


Me: A political party holding a partisan election is well within the rights of that organization, protected by the 1st Amendment. I would hate to think that an elected official in Sullivan County hates the 1st Amendment. Also, candidates don’t have to run as a Republican, they can still choose to run as an Ambiguous Independent and bypass all primaries, be they Republican or otherwise. In other words, as my opponent is suggesting, the Sullivan County Republican Party's decision to hold a Republican Primary in some way while adding an option for would-be candidates, doesn't matter. To put it another way, imagine my opponent is inviting you to his version of a taco bar where instead of being able to choose between beef and chicken, he is giving you only one option: tofu.


• Most School Board business such as setting the budget, adopting policy, hiring a Director of Schools, and most remaining duties of the School Board are independent of partisanship.


Me: This is a flat-out nonsensical point, as every decision we make in life is based on choice, and choices made by a school board are all made from a truly ideological standpoint, not made in an alternative universe where every decision made is good and virtuous. Not to say every Republican is an angel or beyond reproach, but when it comes to the types of decisions that are made by any school board, if given the choice of which candidate will make those decisions either a Republican or an Ambiguous Independent, I pick Republican every time.


• School Board members, in order to faithfully carry out their duties, should be free from the influence of political parties and enabled to act as they believe is best for the students, staff, and families of the schools they represent.


Me: Again, another nonsensical point, candidates are chosen by the voters, not political parties, also most local campaigns are funded mostly by the candidate and sometimes partially by local donors, and any amount kicked in by a local political party is such a small amount.


• Tennessee voters often decide which primary to participate in based on campaign developments.


Me: What? “campaign developments,”


In the real world, voters choose the candidate they can best relate to, in other words, “which candidate would you rather break bread with.”

• The partisan balance in Tennessee means many local elections are decided in the primary, with the large cities leaning heavily Democratic and most other areas leaning heavily Republican.


Me: Moot Point!


• It is my belief that the General Election allows all registered voters to participate in the process.


Me: In Tennessee, all registered voters can vote in any Primary Election and any General Election which is the next opportunity to vote for the right Republican. #VoteTodd

Todd A. McKinley, BA, MSL


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