Republican Ted Cruz's presidential campaign is rejecting a call to drop an anti-Shariah activist as his state chairman for Tennessee.
Kevin Kookogey, a former chairman of the Williamson County GOP, has criticized Republican Gov. Bill Haslam over the role of a Muslim staffer and a council that has advised two state departments on Islamic affairs.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said keeping Kookogey would serve as what the group called "an endorsement of anti-Muslim hate."
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Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier in an email called it "completely absurd to assert that defending American law under the U.S. Constitution is anti-Muslim."
Kookogey planned to mount a GOP primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander last year, but abandoned that bid when he was unsuccessful in his effort to consolidate tea party support.