Rhea GOP treasurer accuses Cobb of belly-bump - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Rhea GOP treasurer accuses Cobb of belly-bump

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DAYTON, TN (WRCB) - Tuesday night's meeting of the Rhea County GOP ended on a terse note, with the group's treasurer accusing the meeting's parliamentarian of a physical confrontation.

"Folks, if we had this many people here at our meeting, we would have the strongest Republican party in the state," recalls Jim Cobb, Rhea County's former Tennessee state representative of how the meeting began.

But Rhea GOP treasurer Gary Drinkard says it ended with Cobb physically threatening him.  "Over the last four years, he has threatened with me with violence three times," says Drinkard.

Drinkard says Cobb took their ongoing political battle to a new level, following the election of Linda Pendergrass as Chairman of the Rhea GOP.

Drinkard says it began when Cobb's wife Suzanne confronted him outside party headquarters after the vote.
"His body language didn't make me feel very comfortable," says Cobb, who says it was then that he got out of his truck to defend his spouse.
"That's when he rushed up to me and gave me, for him what was a belly bump, but for me, it was more of a chest bump. He's quite a bit taller than I am," explains Drinkard. 

"He got in my face, as close as he could get, I thought his lips were going to touch my face and he called me," a profane list of names says Cobb, who adds he's recovering from abdominal surgery just last week, and is in no physical condition to do what Drinkard is alleging.

The Dayton Police Department did confirm with Channel 3 that they did send a squad car here to the Rhea County GOP headquarters around 9:03 Tuesday night in response to a disturbance call. When the responding officer arrived on scene, he allegedly did not find either of the parties involved, and we're told the incident didn't rise to the threshold of filing a police report.

Both men admit to a recent history of disagreements with one another. But the latest incident suggests the intra-party anger is escalating.

"He pointed to these stairs and he said 'Lets go up there and I'll finish this' and I said Jim, I'm not going anywhere with you. If you want to beat me up, you do it right here," says Drinkard.

"Why don't you hit me? Why don't you hit me? Why don't you hit me?"  It was so close I could taste his breath," recalls Cobb of Drinkard trying to goad him into a confrontation.

This isn't the first allegation of impropriety leveled against the Spring City Republican. Cobb was indicted in 2012 for allegedly threatening an opponent's campaign worker. Cobb was exonerated from the charge when the case went to trial. Cobb lost the race to eventual winner Ron Travis by a little more than 100 votes.

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