House snubs Mumpower, elects another Republican speaker - WKRN News 2

House snubs Mumpower, elects another Republican speaker

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Rep. Kent Williams Rep. Kent Williams
Rep. Jason Mumpower Rep. Jason Mumpower
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

The Tennessee House has its first Republican speaker in 40 years, but the lawmaker who won did it without the support of the GOP.
     
Rep. Kent Williams of Elizabethton was elected speaker on a vote of 50-49 Tuesday by getting the votes of every Democrat, plus his own.

Williams upset Rep. Jason Mumpower, who got all the other GOP votes.

The results were loudly booed by the Republicans who had expected to see Mumpower become the first GOP speaker since 1969.

Even the state's Web site briefly listed Mumpower as "Speaker". It was quickly changed.

Williams acknowledged that he likely now will be kicked out of the Republican Party, though he promised to run the House in a bipartisan manner.

In a statement, Robin Smith, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, said, "Kent Williams has betrayed his constituents and the people of Carter County in breaking his pledge - his signed oath - to vote for the nominee of the Republican caucus for Speaker of the House.  He lied, in a quest for personal power, in league with Democrat Speaker Jimmy Naifeh and House Minority Leader Gary Odom, in their desire to retain power despite the results of the 2008 elections."

In a statement, Robin Smith, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, said, "Kent Williams has betrayed his constituents and the people of Carter County in breaking his pledge - his signed oath - to vote for the nominee of the Republican caucus for Speaker of the House.  He lied, in a quest for personal power, in league with Democrat Speaker Jimmy Naifeh and House Minority Leader Gary Odom, in their desire to retain power despite the results of the 2008 elections."

In a statement, Governor Bredesen offered his congratulations to Speaker Williams.

"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," the statement said.  "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."

*The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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