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GOP to keep Mannis on the November ballot in 43-18 vote

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) — Eddie Mannis is officially the Republican nominee for House District 18.

That ruling, coming in a 43-18 vote by the Republican Party of Tennessee Wednesday night.

“The final vote is 43 no votes, 18 yes votes. The contest is denied. Eddie Mannis is the nominee for House District 18,” the party announced via their conference call.

It comes nearly a month after Mannis won the primary. The outcome was disputed in the last few weeks by Mannis’ Republican opponent Gina Oster.

Oster wrote a letter to the GOP chairman Scott Golden saying that the primary was “decided by 99 votes to the benefit of Mr. Mannis.” Oster went on to allege that Mannis’ campaign actively solicited Democratic voters to vote in the Republican primary.

Legal counsel for Eddie Mannis released the following statement on those allegations:

“The Mannis campaign worked diligently and effectively throughout the primary election to convince voters that their candidate was, and is, the best choice for district 18. Mr. Mannis is a person of impeccable integrity and at no point during his campaign did his campaign directly solicit democrat voters to cross over, even though doing so does not violate Tennessee’s election law in any manner. This implication is ridiculous and is a sour grape approach after the Republicans in district 18 have cast their vote in the August primary. Mr. Mannis, the duly elected Republican nominee for the Tennessee House of Representatives, District 18, will continue to stay focused on winning in the November General Election and then honorably serve his constituents in an effort to solve the problems so many Knox County families face daily. – Billy Stokes, Legal Representative to Eddie Mannis for State House, District 18.”

The Tennessee Republican Party ultimately denied Oster’s contest and re-confirmed Mannis’ primary victory.

Mannis said the vote gave him a sense of relief after what he calls a tough few days and weeks.

“Listening to the will of the voter is really what should have been done, and I’m grateful for the confidence that the 43 members had in me. It’s just a relief for a day or two, and then on and fighting hard. There’s a lot more pressure now than ever before, I’ve got a lot riding on me at this point, and so we’re going to work hard,” he said.

Meantime, Oster said she is going to move on and take this as a learning experience.

“I stood up for something that I believed in. It was definitely not popular. It’s been a hard few weeks that I decided to do that, but for me it was right because I have been a Republican all my life, and I value our party and I feel like if you’re going to have rules you need to stick by those rules,” she said.

Oster told us she is not considering taking any further legal action.

Mannis now goes on to face Virginia Couch in November.

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