Alleged Stanley sex scandal shrouds Republican fundraiser
1,300 attended the 33rd Annual Statesman's Dinner, raising more than $500,000
State Senator Paul Stanley
22-year-old McKensie Morrison
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee Republicans hosted the 33rd Annual Statesman's Dinner on Saturday night.
The event, which is the GOP's largest fundraiser, brought in more than $500,000 and was attended by 1,300 people.
Talk during the politicians' press conference, however, was dominated by the alleged extortion of Senator Paul Stanley over his affair with 22-year-old legislative intern McKensie Morrison.
Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey said he first learned of Senator Stanley's involvement in an alleged extortion plot over an affair with the intern last Wednesday.
"I told him I thought about the only thing I could control was that he needed to step down from his leadership position, as far as Chairman of Commerce," Ramsey said.
Ramsey told the media that Stanley is a close personal friend who told him he was having marriage problems nearly two months ago.
"First of June, end of May he was in my office, he told me he and his wife were going to be separated," said Ramsey, "and obviously we had a good conversation about that. Both of us were upset about that."
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Gibbons said that Stanley will "have to make a judgment call as to whether he can be effective by staying in the State Senate."
Whether Stanley should remain a senator is an issue each of the candidates chose to leave up to Stanley and the people who voted for him.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam told the media that "all of us hopefully are serving because we really want to be effective at what we're doing. Paul's going to have to decide, can he serve his constituents the way he originally wanted to."
U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp, also running for Tennessee governor in 2010, said the Stanley situation is a distraction from the party's message.
"It's disappointing for all of us in elected office when another person falls, because we all sink another inch and we're all obligated to try to honor the public's trust," Wamp said.
At this point, Senator Stanley has said he has no plans to resign.