Lawmakers in the Tennessee House rejected a proposal Wednesday that would’ve required political affiliation to participate in statewide primaries.
The legislation is the brainchild of the executive committee of the Tennessee Republican Party.
The group passed a resolution last year asking the legislature to close state primaries. But that didn’t stop GOP lawmakers from opposing it.
The bill failed in a House committee after 14 members, including most Republican lawmakers, voted against it. Only two lawmakers supported the proposal.
Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, was among those opposed to the measure. He pointed out the party is doing well.
"We have 7 of the 9 congressmen. We have both U.S. senators. We have the governorship. And somehow we are getting something wrong?" Faison said. "I’m disappointed at those at my party who think that what we are doing is not right and somehow we got to fix it."
Other lawmakers also questioned the bill’s impact.
"To say thay because they don't want to declare a party at that time, that they can't participate in a particular primary is in fact disenfranchising people's right to vote," Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, said.