Prominent County Official from Rutherford County making public switch to the TNGOP; 3rd former Democrat this week to make switch

Tennessee Republican Party, April 11, 2015

Rutherford County Property Assessor Rob Mitchell Officially Switches to the Republican Party

Prominent County Official from Rutherford County making public switch to the TNGOP; 3rd former Democrat this week to make switch

It was a festive atmosphere at the Rutherford County GOP headquarters as Assessor Rob Mitchell officially rejoined the Grand Old Party.

It was a festive atmosphere at the Rutherford County GOP headquarters as Assessor Rob Mitchell officially rejoined the Grand Old Party.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—During the 2014 election cycle, Democrats suffered historic losses at the county and judicial level across the state as the Tennessee Republican Party used its phenomenally successful voter engagement program, “Red to the Roots,” to urge Tennesseans to back GOP candidates.

The program helped ensure more Republican candidates filed for office than ever before and it helped elect the most GOP nominees ever in a coordinated statewide effort. The shockwaves of the initiative’s success will be felt for years to come as the TNGOP now has an identified political bench for future races.

That long-term outlook, and the TNDP’s continued slide away from mainstream Tennessee values, now has a notable county official in Middle Tennessee making a public profession he is joining the Republican Party.

At a press conference held today in the Rutherford County Republican Party headquarters, Rob Mitchell, the Rutherford County Property Assessor, signed a public oath of allegiance to officially join the Republican Party. Surrounded by local Republican leaders such as State Senator Bill Ketron, State Senator Jim Tracy, State Representatives Bryan Terry, Rutherford County Ernest Burgess, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney, and TNGOP State Executive Committee Members Tim Rudd and Kelsey Ketron, as well as Rutherford GOP Chairman Rick Peppers, County Trustee “Teb” Batey, Circuit Court Clerk Melissa Harrell, Public Defender Gerald Melton, Andy BrunelleHoward Wall, Paul Johnson, and Lou Ann Zelenik, Mitchell exclaimed, “It feels good to be home again!”

This change has not been easy for me since I believe that once you make a commitment you stick to it and I have rarely faltered from this ideal. I have not changed. I will always make certain that every person receives a fair deal from this office. But I have come to the conclusion that I must become part of a political party that reflects the beliefs I hold dear, including my belief in God, my family, my country, and my community,” remarked Mitchell.

Congressman Scott Desjarlais stated, “Our Party continues to prove it is the home of individuals committed to serving our citizens and solving problems. Rob has long been a conservative leader in Rutherford County. I’m proud to now call him a fellow Republican and look forward to continue working with him.”

Senator Ketron stated, “Rob has been a valuable public servant for Rutherford County and he is also a dear friend. He’s been a conservative for years and it is fitting that he officially rejoins the Republican Party, the place where his heart has always been.”

Chairman Devaney added, “In its continued lurch to the left, the Democratic Party is leaving behind mainstream individuals who believe in less government, fiscal responsibility, and more freedom for individuals. Rob Mitchell is a perfect example of that. He has a demonstrated ability to govern in a common sense, conservative fashion—something that is anathema to the liberal Democratic Party of today. Honestly, this is more of a homecoming for Rob who’s been a valuable part of the GOP before. So it’s an honor to welcome a conservative leader like Rob Mitchell back to the Tennessee Republican Party.”

Rob Mitchell has run his office as a guardian of taxpayer dollars. Within the first three months of taking office, he corrected inequities in the treatment of property owners unjustly removed from the agricultural Greenbelt program. The Property Assessor’s office resolved over 750 property appeals that had gone before an administrative judge. This action alone saved the county countless dollars in rulings that would have cost us far more in judgments,” said Rudd, Republican State Executive Committeeman for the 13th District.

Rob Mitchell is a former Republican Precinct Chairman and former Young Republican. The Republican Party promotes conservative principles of making sure the playing field is fair and level for everyone. We believe in a smaller, more efficient government and doing more with less. This is how Rob Mitchell has operated his office as Property Assessor. Rob, welcome home,” said Chairman Peppers.

Mitchell’s Party switch comes on the heels of two other local Democratic officials taking a public oath of allegiance to join the Republican Party earlier this week. Anderson County Register of Deeds Tim Shelton and Anderson County Clerk Jeff Cole both made a switch earlier this week. Coverage of that announcement may be found here.

Devaney concluded, “With historically low numbers in the General Assembly and unprecedented losses last fall at the county and judicial level, even I didn’t think things could get much worse for Tennessee Democrats. Today, they have.”

Background

  • Rob Mitchell defeated incumbent Republican Bill Boner in the 2012 general election. Boner was enduring a sexual harassment scandal and questionable assessment inequities.
  • Under his leadership, the Property Assessor’s office has resolved over 750 property appeals that had gone before an administrative judge—saving countless taxpayer dollars in Rutherford County.
  • In all, Rob Mitchell has ensured the Property Assessor’s office has returned over $750,000 to the county general fund.

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