Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Update on TN GOP Chairman - Smith Exploring Options

As I noted yesterday, Tennessee Republican Party Vice-Chairman Robin Smith is exploring her options. I think that she'll eventually put her name forth as a candidate for the Chairman's role being vacated by Bob Davis.

Today's Chattanooga Times Free Press seems to indicate that I am correct in my suspicions. After some time to reflect and pray on the matter, I think you'll see Robin as a serious and formidable contender for the position.

On other fronts, my phone rang off the hook yesterday. I have yet to speak with any State Executive Committee member who endorses the idea of Van Hilleary as Chairman, although it is clear that Van likes the idea. I haven't heard one way or the other on Ed Bryant, and I'm waiting until tomorrow to contact him so that he can spend the 4th with his family. As was noted yesterday, Jim Bryson isn't a candidate for the position.

Several legislators are looking at running, and it is my position that they should not run unless they are willing to resign their elected position. My objection is two-fold.

First, there are the new ethics laws. Bob Davis addressed this yesterday in the conference call, referencing the limited role that Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey was able to play in the Statesman's Dinner this past year. Rep. Campfield says that the Ethics Commission believes that the Party Chair could raise funds during the legislative session. I don't see how they can read T.C.A. Sec. 2-10-310(a)(1) and come to that conclusion. My disagreement on that point is noted and, like their opinion, worthless. While the Commission would first hear the case, they are not the final arbiter of the issue. A case brought by the Democrats seeking to hurt the GOP in Fred Thompson's home state would eventually end up in the courts. It would be that judge's opinion (more than likely a chancellor in Davidson County, whom, if memory serves, are all Democrats) that would matter. Is that a route that Republicans want to take in an important election year that could be the most important for the Party at the state and national level in recent history?

Second, I have a beef with legislators wanting to hold a full-time job - heck, it's more than a full-time job - as Chairman and continue to serve in the legislature. As one grassroots activist said to me yesterday, our legislators haven't passed one bill of consequence for conservatives this entire past session. As that activist put it, the legislators need to work on being better legislators before they try to add running an entire state political party to their list of responsibilities. I might not be that harsh, but you have to remember that these people who are so led to serve in the legislature are also husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, church members, community activists, entrepreneurs - and the list goes on and on. It's hard to be excellent at all of those roles, and it just seems a bit audacious to try to add Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party to all of that when there are others who are less burdened.

That being said, people are going to do what they are going to do. If Bill Dunn - who has been rumored to be interested - decides that he is being led to be Chairman and resigns his position in the legislature, I am announcing here and now that I will be a candidate to take his seat in the State House.

In any case, this is going to be an interesting month for our Party.


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