The chairman of the state Republican Party declared today that the Speaker of the Tennessee House is no longer a Republican.
GOP Chair Robin Smith says Kent Williams bargained away power the state party had been seeking for years, when he teamed with all 49 Democrats to become Speaker.
“This party raised over two million dollars over the last year. We spent that … over two million dollars to win legislative victories. And the stated goal from the start line to the finish line when we broke the tape, was to have the… majority in the House of Representatives and …the state Senate for the purposes of leadership.”
Smith says four out of five Republican Executive Committee members voted to kick Williams out of the party.
She says the GOP is following a paragraph in its bylaws that requires party members to vote for its leadership nominees in the General Assembly’s organizational session.
At the state capitol, Williams made a brief statement, saying he will remain a “Carter County Republican.”
If Williams had wanted to run for the leadership office, Robin Smith say he had the chance during the Republican Caucus race.
“This gentleman could have run as speaker of the House in November, or as speaker pro tem, and he did not offer himself up as a candidate. Instead he agreed to bargain away the importance of his vote and become the nominee of the Democrat caucus.”