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Tenn. GOP leader candidates focus on clout instead of bickering over House speaker

Staff Report • May 27, 2009 at 12:00 AM

The Tennessean is reporting that candidates seeking to lead the Tennessee Republican Party say they are more concerned about keeping their history-making majority in the legislature than whether the House speaker should be allowed to regain his party credentials.Republicans in November gained majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly for the first time in 140 years, including a 50-49 edge in the state House. But those victories were tarnished when Republican Rep. Kent Williams of Elizabethton banded together with all of the chamber's Democrats to win the House speaker's election by one vote.Robin Smith — who announced earlier this month that she was stepping down as GOP chairwoman — took the hard line on Williams' defection and spearheaded a party decision to strip him of his Republican credentials for the 2010 elections.Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele also has criticized Williams' actions. CLICK HERE for the full report.

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