Jan 13 2009
03:32 pm

In a real surprise, Kent Williams won by a 50-49 majority. It appears he received all of the Dem votes, and voted for himself.

Rachel's picture

Pardon me while I go laugh

Pardon me while I go laugh my head off. Mumpower must be apoplectic.

R. Neal's picture

You gotta be shitting me!

You gotta be shitting me! Hahahaha!

Nicely played.

R. Neal's picture

Kleinheider has the play by

Kleinheider has the play by play:


(Check out the rookie vote faux pas.)

GDrinnen2's picture

Williams signed a pledge to

Williams signed a pledge to vote for a Republican for Speaker.

As someone just said to me on the phone: "It's amazing what you can do with 2 months to plan."

GDrinnen2's picture

The House Republicans feared

The House Republicans feared something was not right. That is why they fought the recess. However, with Rep. Weaver's mishap, they had some extra planning time. I'm not sure it would have made a difference, but who knows.

R. Neal's picture

Williams signed a pledge to

Williams signed a pledge to vote for a Republican for Speaker.

Well, I reckon he did. And he got 49 Dems to go along, including Nafieh?

That is hilarious.

Maybe there's still hope.

KO's picture

Well played,

Well played, grasshopper.


R. Neal's picture

TNGOP Chair Robin Smith On

TNGOP Chair Robin Smith On Speaker Williams

“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.”

Somebody call the Waaamubulance! Heh.

Rachel's picture

Maybe somebody should send

Maybe somebody should send Robin Smith a bottle of that "Tears of Impotent Rage."

Russ's picture

I haven't seen The Game

I haven't seen The Game played this skillfully in a long, long time.



GDrinnen2's picture

What I have heard is that

What I have heard is that the someone told Williams he would be kicked out of the party if he voted for a Democrat for one of the constitutional offices.

I'm interested to see the reaction. When Kurita provide a one vote majority for Ramsey in the Senate, she was called a "traitor" and other not as nice names by Democrats. Of course Republicans praised her "level headednes". I like watching people navigate flipping slides of the same issue.

jbr's picture

Goose and gander.

Goose and gander.

R. Neal's picture

The January Surprise

CBT's picture

"I haven't seen The Game

"I haven't seen The Game played this skillfully in a long, long time."

You mean since Chuck Bolus was sworn in early?

Something tells me this Williams quote will be brought back up again and again:

“I want to state today, unequivocally, that I pledge to vote for a Republican for Speaker of the House. I have every reason to expect that the Republican nominee will be Leader Jason Mumpower. We are grateful that the people of Tennessee have given us the opportunity to lead. We will make them proud.”

To say this isn't a pledge to vote for Mumpower is like Bill Clinton trying to define what isn't sex.

Williams - a "Republican" elected with 49 Dems and 1 Republican (himself). Should be an interesting session, starting with election of Constitutional Officers.

In the end, maybe Williams wants to retire after this term and doesn't care. I'd say Jerome Cochran won't have trouble raising money. Maybe this is Williams' payback to all the fellow Republicans he fought with over the years.

R. Neal's picture

This is so shocking it

This is so shocking it brought CBT out of the woodwork. Heh.

starting with election of Constitutional Officers

That's in a joint session, though, right? Republicans still have a 69-64 advantage in a joint session, I believe.

(Or maybe 68-65 now. And apparently they can't count on newbie Weaver to understand what they are voting on, so maybe 67-66?)

Joe P.'s picture


conservative blogger david oatney was on the scene this morning prior to the vote and posted the following:

"Jason Mumpower still says he's 'on top' of the Williams situation, and Williams was notably cheery when I saw him in the hall today."

notably cheery. yep.

R. Neal's picture

Maybe Kent Williams will

Maybe Kent Williams will resurrect the Mike Williams NASCAR party and join it.

Justin's picture

Was he the one who had his

Was he the one who had his picture taken all dressed up like Dale Earnhardt?

R. Neal's picture

Was he the one who had his

Was he the one who had his picture taken all dressed up like Dale Earnhardt?

Yeah, this guy, from his page in the Tennessee Blue Book:

Konelated's picture



That just put a ray of Democratic hope in my eyes.
Slick, I'll give 'em all the credit due. That was slick. And feels so good here in Bristol.

I'll make sure to have an extra large smile on my face the next time I see Jason in the church parking lot.


Rachel's picture

Lois DeBerry re-elected

Lois DeBerry re-elected speaker pro tempore.

Did Williams just leave the Republican caucus?

GDrinnen2's picture

My guess is Williams is done

My guess is Williams is done after this term. He had a hard fight this past election, and I'm not sure he could withstand another. The Democrats have two years to try and win a few seats back or this is only delaying the inevitable.

I wonder what the House R's do now? Certainly Williams will nominate some R's as committee chairs. What does that do to those members status in the caucus? My guess is McCord may lock up a committee chairmanship.

KC's picture

I don't guess Reps.

I don't guess Reps. Campfield and Dunn are going to take this too well.

I think in two years from now the Republicans in the House will have to work harder to maintain control in 2010 than they think they will.

Right now the national Democrats aren't pointing fingers and laying blame for the economic mess we have.

They're keeping their powder dry.

By 2010 we'll have more details about what led to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, and, I may be wrong, but I don't think it's going to make the Republicans look good.

There could be a backlash against Pres. Obama, but my guess is, after the local job losses just this past week, 2009 is only going to see more of the crisis unfold, and that will hurt doctrinaire Republicans in 2010.

Andy Axel's picture

I don't guess Reps.

I don't guess Reps. Campfield and Dunn are going to take this too well.

Campfield [follows verbatim]:

How do you describe what happened today? How can you? We all had great hopes for Tennessee. For helping education, the second amendment, life, a whole host of ideas. We all now realize those hope are more or less gone now at least for all intense and purposes.

Somehow, Camp, if your idea of helping education is on par with your execution of the English language, I'll rest a little easier tonight, buddy.


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

R. Neal's picture

Campfield [follows

Campfield [follows verbatim]:


If it weren't for Dems and DINOs in the statehouse that the TNGOP hate on so much we'd be dead last in every category of social wellbeing instead of near the bottom in most.

Justin's picture

If it weren't for Dems and

If it weren't for Dems and DINOs in the statehouse that the TNGOP hate on so much we'd be dead last in every category of social wellbeing instead of near the bottom in most.

Thank God for Mississippi.

Ragsdale2010's picture

He honored his committment, he voted for a Republican

he just forgot to them them all he was voting for himself.

Dwayne's picture

This is so funny, after

This is so funny, after everyone had already crowned Mumpower. I would say that the Repubs might learn a lesson in humility but they never seem to learn. The only regret I have is that Repubs are not totally put in charge of the budget to show the voters how incompetent they really are in fiscal matters.

Andy Axel's picture

Tennessee politics is always

Tennessee politics is always good for a cheap laugh.

Mumpower certainly didn't count on the incestuous nature of the power structure in that chamber. (Nor did I, for that matter.) As for life handing you a sack of lemons, Odom and Naifeh appear to have made some lemonade here.

Just goes to show that partisan loyalty is a currency whose value ain't half of what it's cracked up to be.


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

GDrinnen2's picture

I watched the whole thing

I watched the whole thing streaming on the new general assembly website.

Most disappointing was the fact that Naifeh sat beside him for the rest of the session and could be heard to give him step-by-step, word-by-word directions. Williams appears to be a pawn at best.

My favorite moment came when, during a recess, Williams thought the microphone was off and said to Naifeh "Sure am glad I have thick skin". In the background you could hear yelling and screaming.

Someone suggested to me today that the House R's may decide to disallow anymore Williams in the caucus.

R. Neal's picture

And now from the careful what you wish for department...

Pith in the Wind: Naifeh Outsmarts Republicans Again

Q: You said some bills bottled up for years will come to the floor? Will that include the abortion resolution?

Williams: Yes. Abolutely, that'll be the No. [1?] priority. That will come to the floor, I can assure you of that.

Q: What else?

Williams: Some of the gun bills that have been killed over the years. There won't be any committees loaded down to kill legislation. That's not going to happen.

Q: So who's in control, Republicans or Democrats?

Williams: Republicans are in control. 50 to 49.

Maybe the celebration was premature?

Andy Axel's picture

I think that's absolutely

I think that's absolutely true. The GOP is still going to be serving up family values for breakfast.

Still, I am a little bemused by the collective outrage on the GOP side here. Did they expect Naifeh to have a lie-down or something? Did they expect Gary Odom to collapse in a fit of the vapors?

During l'affaire Kurita, many of the GOP faithful were insisting that her vote was "just politics." I guess that's only "just politics" when the outcome of the power play in question accrues to their own benefit. Har-dee-friggin'-har-har.

So Mumpower is now bereft. You gotta wonder just how the guy pissed on Williams' post. There's a lot more to this story and I would assume that those in the know aren't in the mood to tell tales. Yet.


Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! Special holidays, Sundays and rates!

bill young's picture

"Next time it's for keeps"

So said Harry Tindell to Betty Bean in The Shopper about the 2010 state house elections a little over a month ago.

Welcome to next time & the Democrats are playing for keeps.

What this does is break up the monolithic power of the Republicans in the house.Now there is not a straight line of power from the speaker to the officers to the committee chairs controled by the Republican caucus.

What this means is that the Republicans cant organize a united fund raising campaign nor a groundgame from the house majority leadership in 2010.

Everything I said on earlier threads about the power of the house Republican caucus is out the window.Yes I'm refering to the Harry & Haslam postes.

We will see how it plays out but Betty got it first from Harry Tindell.."Next time it's for Keeps" & Next time started today...
& the Democrats won.

By the way any chance Harry Brooks gets chair of the education committee?

Anonymously Nine's picture

Sunshine Law?

Oh, that's right it doesn't apply to them. They're special.

It is so humorous to see some of the same people who went insane over Black Wednesday celebrate this little coup.

Jack Mac will probably gloat in the daily paper.

Why is it so great for backroom politics in Nashville and so evil in Knoxville?

Bueller? Anyone?

Justin's picture

Do you ejaculate in your

Do you ejaculate in your pants every time the Knoxville News Sentinel is mentioned?

Elrod's picture

Context, bab

The context is very different. In Knoxville we had a Commission that decided, behind closed doors, to extend the life of their terms in violation of state sunshine laws.

In the legislature, we had a party that couldn't hold its caucus together to vote its ideological extremist firebrand into the Speaker's chair. Maybe if Mumpower wasn't such an overambitious and hubristic jackass he would have won some goodwill from Williams.

Nobody's picture

I have known Kent Williams

I have known Kent Williams for almost 30 years and I can honestly say that he doesn't give a rat's ass about being a rank and file anything and dances to the beat of his own drum. He considers himself a conservative republican based on what HE thinks a conservative republican is, not what the party tells him a conservative republican is. He doesn't do anybody any favors that go against what he believes. He is nobody's puppet and has a genuine respect for both Democrat's and Republicans. He wants the democrat controller to stay controller not because of what party he belongs to, but because he believes that the person (Morgan? i think) has been doing a great job for many years and there is nobody out there that is going to step in and do better.

That being said, I know he had Naifeh stand next to him because, quite frankly, Kent has only been a politician for 2 years and doesn't exactly know how to fully run a meeting based on Roberts Rules of Order. As such, you could tell that he was pretty nervous and he just needs to practice a little more.

Bottom line is that Kent doesn't see red or blue, he just sees that everyone in that chamber are Representatives and should all work together for a common good. Democrat or Republican does not matter. He's like the Republican Obama.

jcg's picture

an anecdote from the galley

A close friend from Nashville sent this to me. She had just spoken to Chris of TVC. Needless to say the environmental community was not looking forward to the reighn of Mumpower.

"Just talked to Chris Ford, TCV exdir [TN Conservation Voters], who had schlumped up to the Leg
to watch the mumpower coronation.
He said that the atmosphere among Dems is just like the election of
Obama--euphoria. Plus, he told me that all the
legislative staff is appointed by the speaker, roughly 100 people,
and that they'd all expected that Mumpwer would let them
go and bring folks from E. TN over. He said that they were all
standing in the halls watching the closed circuit TV, dancing, hugging
and screaming "Naifeh, naifeh, naifeh!" Total pandemonium.
Chris was saying that this changes everything. TCV and everybody has
to go back and rewrite all their plans--but in a good way.

He was sitting in the gallery with a friend and laughing about this,
and then got roughed up by another man up there who was
not happy about the outcome. (Chris is a really big guy). The
trooper up there asked Chris if he wanted him to intervene, but Chris
said he'd handle it, and then he and this republican traded Fuck Yous
and left."

Bbeanster's picture

Yeah, Campfield is whining

Yeah, Campfield is whining about friends of his who quit their jobs and moved to Nashville in anticipation of Speaker Mumpower throwing out all the legislative staff and hiring them. Sounds like there were a lot of premature resignations -- chicken, egg, anybody?

And for Knoxvillians, it just looks like Tuesday was a bloody mess for the GOP -- the carnage in the Lege, Scoob and R. Larry going at one another locally and the news of the schoolboard dude giving his wife a gun barrel in the belly for Christmas. Bad day for the heroes of the GOP.

KC's picture

Campfield is whining about

Campfield is whining about friends of his who quit their jobs and moved to Nashville in anticipation of Speaker Mumpower throwing out all the legislative staff and hiring them.

Surely not!

I thought for Rep. Campfield and his supporters "government" is NEVER the answer!

SteveMule's picture


You should check out the Right wing-nut blogs!
All I can say is Schadenfreude!
Schadenfreude! Joyous Schadenfreude!

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!


KC's picture

This is what you get when

This is what you get when you play the "us against the 'evil'them" card all the time, and you can't reach out to anyone except other true-believers.

This wing of the Republican party brought this all entirely on themselves for acting so self-righteous and above everybody else.

Rep. Campfield criticized his primary opponent Ron Leadbetter of wanting to "work" with Democrats. If the House Repblicans had showed any generosity to ANY Democrats, yesterday could have been easily avoided.

Instead they lost their power, because they wouldn't share any of it.

There's a lesson there for them, but I wonder if they'll learn it?

Thag13's picture

One of the most active and

One of the most active and highest rated Diaries on Daily Kos is about what happened yesterday in Nashville.

Folks not from Tennessee in the thread are having a big kick out of it and are wanting the state dems to come up to DC to show'em how its done...

No Matter Where you go, There you Are!!!!

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