HomeNewsMCCR looks to build on momentum from elections

MCCR looks to build on momentum from elections

The scene was a celebratory as it was tired on the night of March 5.

Members of the group the Madison County Constitutional Republicans had gone 3-for-3 in the challenged primary races for the Republican nominations for Jackson-Madison County Schools Board seats.

In doing so, they seemingly already have two of their endorsed candidates on the Board in September when new members are sworn in since there is no opposition officially filed for the general elections in August.

There were plenty of smiles, congratulations, expressions of gratitude for help and work done in previous weeks to help those who needed it in winning.

In one way, the person at the center of it all was physically on the periphery of the scene at T.J. Mulligan’s in the Thomsen Farms area of North Jackson where they gathered to watch election results.

“I’m happy, but I’m tired right now,” said Ray Condray, who started the MCCR group last fall after hearing about a similar group in Sumner County that formed a couple years earlier and began working independently of its own county’s Republican Party chapter of ensuring candidates for local offices held beliefs of the party itself.

The group endorsed five Republican candidates. Two – Marcia Moss and Brandilynn Taylor – were unopposed on this night. But Moss will be pitted against Democrat Dwight Jones in August, less than a year after they were opposed for the County Commission’s appointment for the seat for two months after former Board member Scott Gatlin resigned. Taylor will be running against three independent candidates including incumbent Janice Hampton and a Democrat in August.

The other three endorsed candidates were Shane Barnes, Glen Gaugh and incumbent Debbie Gaugh.

Barnes’ win was possibly the biggest of the three as he knocked incumbent Sherry Franks out of her seat.

Debbie Gaugh had two opponents challenging for the position she’s held for four years representing the southern end of the county on the Board.

They were the two who won with no opposition in the general on the ballot.

Glen Gaugh, however, won the nomination, but he also moves on to an opposed general election with his opponent being another incumbent, independent candidate Ken Newman, as they vie for the chance to represent the northeast part of the county on the Board.

Condray’s answer was quick when he was asked what a sweep for the MCCR’s candidates means.

“It means that there are more people than some around here think who believe in what the Republican Party stands for and want to make sure that all of our elected officials do what they’re supposed to do according to the Constitution,” Condray said.

Condray has gradually stepped out into the public light of local politics in recent years. On Jan. 6, 2021, he was the main person who organized a Stop the Steal rally at the Madison County Courthouse that included a few local and state elected officials speaking at that. He was the main person who formed the local conservative grassroots organization, We the People, to be a place for people of similar beliefs to gather online in their Facebook group and in person with monthly meetings to see there are those who hold conservative values high. He was among the more vocal people who opposed the notion of children being allowed into a drag show in the fall of 2022 before he announced his own candidacy for Jackson Mayor in 2023, pushing incumbent Mayor Scott Conger into a runoff.

All of that was before one of his fellow members of We the People, Londa Rolfing, pointed him to the Sumner County Constitutional Republican group.

It took a few months before the group, who operates independently of the Madison County Republican Party, gained traction in Sumner County and won its first election.

“I guess if you look at it that way and want to compare, then you could say we’re further along,” Condray said. “But I know anything we’ve done has been mirroring what they’ve done before us, so like just about anything else, anyone who’s the first to do anything usually takes longer to accomplish anything than anyone else who comes along behind them.

“But I’m confident that these wins aren’t just a few political wins in which people I agree with will eventually win elected office. This is hopefully the start of the people of our county seeing that we want to maintain conservative values here at home.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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