From the Bristol Herald Courier:
“Mr. Williams was thinking more of himself than the unity of the Republican Party, which is unfortunate,“ said Republican Jerome Cochran, former primary opponent of Williams. Many republicans call it a betrayal of the party, especially after Williams pledged to vote for Mumpower hours earlier. “Then for him to go back on his word then not only to vote against Jason, but the turn around and vote for a democratic speaker pro tem,“ said Cochran. The political slight of hand didn’t completely surprise many who know Williams. Restaurant owner Russel Holtsclaw says Williams votes along county lines rather than party lines. “He votes for what is best for Carter County,” said Holtsclaw. He believes Williams is in a better position to push his agenda like road projects like the Siam Bridge Holtsclaw crosses with his school bus everyday. “I have to cross that bridge every day and that’s not a good thing crossing that bridge,“ said Holtclaw. Mumpower supporter Dale Cook was just as surprised and disappointed, but is glad a republican now holds the seat. “It’s not the worst thing that could have happened,“ said Cook. Many republicans however question whether Williams is a republican in name only. “His first two votes were against the Republican Party, so we’ll see if he’s still republican or not,“ said Cochran.
Jan 14, 2009 7:13 AM
Scott Dismuke types up a draft of the kind of presser the Tennessee Republican Party should have released following the election of Rep. Kent Williams as Speaker of the House:
"While we are dissapointed with the results of today's leadership elections, we are still committed to working to create opportunities for all Tennesseans at this critical time in our state. We will work with Speaker Williams to make sure that all Tennesseans are proud of their elected officials, but more importantly, tackle the very tough issues facing our state. At a time when Tennesseans are struggling to pay their electric bills, pay their mortgage, keep their jobs and put food on the table, we firmly believe that it is time to put people before politics. There will be a time and place for the events of today to be dealt with, but right now, it is time to put politics to the side and start working together to ensure our government effectively works for all Tennesseans."Of course, this is what they actually said.
Jan 13, 2009 10:07 PM
Now, like or not, if trends continue the way they have been electorally in this state, in 2010 we will likely be looking at an increased Republican majority in the state House. The question is: Will Jason Mumpower be the next Republican speaker or does his failure to solidify Williams mean that Jason Mumpower will likely not be the Republican nominee next time around? Williams will be blamed for being a traitor, sure. But will Mumpower also be blamed for failing to see this potential break and take steps to block it? Discuss.
Jan 13, 2009 8:40 PM
The income tax fighting former state senator sends out her condolences to her conservative homeys on the election of Speaker Kent Williams:
“This is a bitter night for of my fellow Tennessee Republicans. I have been in Nashville during trying times and know how disappointing it is when the will of the voter is ignored. Many hoped that after November, the smoky back rooms of Nashville could be sealed off for good. It seems that the same politics as usual that threatened a back door income tax almost a decade ago has re-emerged to overturn the message of the ballot box. The voters put 50 Republicans in the House to change the way our state does business. Now it appears that 49 of them must work harder to ensure their will is carried out.”
Jan 13, 2009 7:58 PM
And the TNGOP will be making sure there are none after the name either:
State Rep. Kent Williams' tenure as a self-proclaimed Republican Speaker is likely to be very short-lived, as a challenge to his status as a bona fide Republican is already moving forward at a fast pace. Eighteen members of the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee have signed a written document, presented tonight to Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Robin Smith, challenging the "bona fide" status of Rep. Kent Williams as a Republican. The action, which triggers a review under Party bylaws, comes after Williams broke his signed oath (and multiple verbal promises reported in various media and made to various Republican lawmakers and party officials even as recently as Tuesday morning) to vote for the House Republican Caucus nominee for Speaker, Rep. Jason Mumpower. "Williams put personal ambition ahead of honor and lied his way into the Speaker's chair," said Bill Hobbs, Communications Director for the Tennessee Republican Party. "Elected by Republican voters in the historic 2008 elections that saw Republicans win a majority of House seats for the first time since 1868, Rep. Williams chose to betray his party and his constituents. Party bylaws – which Williams was aware of - provide a clear and straightforward process for the challenge to Williams' status as a bona fide Republican as a result of his actions today. We expect the process will move quickly." If Williams is stripped of his status as a member of the Republican Party, he will not be permitted to run on the Republican ballot in 2010. Upon entering a reception these evening, committee members presented their challenges pursuant to the Tennessee Republican Party Bylaws. “Action will begin immediately to address the actions of Rep. Kent Williams,” responded Robin Smith, TN Republican Party Chairman. “His commitment today was not to Republican Principles, but to the blind and shameless pursuit of personal power. He cast his vote for a Pro-Tax, Pro-Gay, Pro-Abortion, Anti-Gun Liberal Democrat to preside in leadership against all 49 of his Republican colleagues.” “This challenge will move swiftly to honor the character and integrity of the 49 members of the Republican House Caucus who stand committed to the Republican principles and the voters who support them. Acting like Ronald Reagan in Carter County but Jimmy Carter in the Capitol has resulted in an official challenge of Mr. Williams's status as a Party member," Smith said. "I look forward to the work ahead with our state leadership to strengthen our party, grow our party and honor the wishes of Tennesseans by electing a true Republican as Speaker of the Tennessee House.” "If Rep. Williams is stripped of his membership in the Republican Party in a process in accordance with the bylaws of the Tennessee Republican Party, the Party will insist that Speaker Williams no longer be referred to in media accounts or state government websites as a Republican," Hobbs said.SEE ALSO: Chris Sanders
Jan 13, 2009 7:49 PM
From the Office of the Governor:
"I offer my congratulations to Lt. Governor Ramsey and Speaker Williams on their election to leadership positions today. I look forward to working with them and members of the House and Senate to address the needs of our state on a bipartisan basis. Now that we are past the drama of today, I ask all members of the General Assembly to join with me in leading in a manner that serves the best interests of the people of Tennessee. "Lt. Governor Ramsey and I have shared a respectful and productive relationship during my time as Governor, especially since he became Lt. Governor two years ago. He has provided strong leadership in the Senate, and I look forward to continuing to work with him and his members in the coming months. "I have enjoyed working with Speaker Williams during his time in the General Assembly, especially his service last year on the Joint Study Committee on Long Term Care, and congratulate him on his election as Speaker today. I know he is reasonable, intelligent and fair and will serve admirably as Speaker of the House. "I feel certain that the natural tensions of today will dissolve quickly and we'll quickly turn our attention to a productive, bipartisan legislative session that addresses the serious issues facing our state.
Jan 13, 2009 3:56 PM
Rep. Kent Williams met with boos after pulling off shocking win
Jan 13, 2009 1:55 PM
Jimmy Naifeh declares the 50-49 vote official and calls for the swearing in of Rep. Kent Williams as Speaker of the House. The assembled crowd in the legislature's gallery were there to see the historic elevation of an elected Republican to the office of Speaker of the House. And that's exactly what they got. REACTIONS: Ken Whitehouse Sean Braisted The Associated Press Nashville is Talking Liberadio Andy Sher Cara Kumari Silence /breaking_news_m_12.shtml">Mike Warren WPLN Gene Patterson Calvin Rye Jama Oliver Knox Views Say Uncle Kingsport Times Josh Arrowood Enclave Ilissa Gold A Tennessee Conservative Grand Divisions Blue Collar Muse Aunt B. Matthew Hurtt Mike Slater
Jan 13, 2009 1:36 PM