The Tennessee Republican party is re-defining what it takes to run for office as a GOP candidate.

Party leaders are now touring the state to explain any candidate must prove they are active in the party.

The new requirements mean candidates also must have voted in at least three of the four most recent statewide Republican primaries or have another Republican vouch for them in a way that satisfies the state party chair.

The chair and other party leaders will handle any protests or appeals.

"You want to know the people running for Republicans are real Republicans, just like you want to know if they're a Democrat that they're a real Democrat," Knox County GOP Chairman Buddy Burkhardt said.

LMU Duncan School of Law professor Stewart Harris explains this move is constitutional and adds clarity to the bylaws.

"Since James Madison and Alexander Hamilton formed the nation's first political parties, those parties have struggled to define themselves. Sometimes they aim for a broad appeal, as with Ronald Reagan's "Big Tent." Sometimes they impose a narrower orthodoxy. That may be what is happening here," explained Harris.

Knox County mayoral candidate Glenn Jacobs is among a group concerned about the changes. He spoke Tuesday explaining his concern over the rules keeping out good ideas.

"I do worry these changes could impact people and discourage those who want to run for office and make their voices heard," said Jacobs.

Former State Republican Party Chairman Susan Richardson Williams doesn't view the changes as sweeping or prohibitive for old or new republicans.

"The party is much larger than it was in the past. You've got some people who would like to go in to our primaries from time to time and vote against the candidate who would be the best one for the primary," explained Williams.

Nov. 17 marks the first day candidates can pick up petitions to run for office in 2018.