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Old 11-06-2008, 15:30   #1
TNGlockman
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Naifeh out as speaker of the house?

I guess that I was so bummed out about the presidential election that I didn't even think about the Tennessee state elections until I read this column today in the paper.

Maybe with Naifeh gone we can get that bill passed that would allow us to carry in restaurants where alcohol is served.

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Being known as D-Covington just doesn't have the same ring to it as speaker of the House.

But Jimmy Naifeh is about to get used to all sorts of new things. Like a smallish legislator's office instead of Suite 19, with its conference room and expensive new carpet. Like waiting on low-level state Democratic Party officials to return your call rather than having an open door to the governor's office. Like getting a giant "na-na-na-na-boo-boo" from Republicans whom he has routinely shunned for sweet committee appointments.


If what goes around does, indeed, come around, it just did.

Unless Naifeh can put together an alliance of Republicans and Democrats to give him back the gavel, he's out of there, thanks to election returns that gave the GOP its first majority in the Housesince 1971.

Naifeh became speaker in 1991, promising sweeping ethics reform and a return to decorum on the House floor. He pushed for a dress code and banned popcorn fights and vodka-laced Donald Duck orange juice cans.

But over the years, those vows for a new way of doing things grew mushy. As Naifeh's power grew, he became a master of the political game — with staying in power the prize.

Political brawl around corner?
The speaker controls the committee system, which controls what bills live or die. Naifeh's been an unabashed partisan, sending GOP legislation to the deadly "black hole" subcommittee with a nod and a wink.

He's a good ol' boy who hosts an annual coon supper, a fellow who thawed what was initially a chilly relationship with the governor to become acloseally.

All of that adds up to a guy that state Republicans will take great delight in ousting. Naifeh is already working to try to pull together a bipartisan collection of votes to stay put. That will fail. How do you bargain with a burned bridge? Two Republicans want the job, and it looks like Tennessee is in for a good old-fashioned political brawl.

Minority Leader Jason Mumpower, from Bristol, leans toward the far right on the conservative meter. He can be dogmatic and in-your-face. Former state GOP Chairwoman BethHarwell, a veteran Nashville lawmaker who was co-chair of John McCain's campaign in Tennessee, is a moderate with deep relationships with Davidson County Democratic lawmakers.

Tennessee may be a red state, but it is also a moderate state. There is already talk that the GOP's marquee players will step in and push for Harwell, out of concern that Mumpower is just too out there. She also is considering a run for governor, and being speaker would be an excellent trampoline.

But Mumpower is the highest-ranking Republican in the House, and it will be hard for them to turn him down. The state's Grand Old Party looks a lot like the dog that finally caught the car it was chasing. It was a lot of fun getting there. But now what will they do with it?
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Old 11-06-2008, 21:53   #2
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Old 11-26-2008, 21:13   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve24 View Post
I guess that I was so bummed out about the presidential election that I didn't even think about the Tennessee state elections until I read this column today in the paper.

Maybe with Naifeh gone we can get that bill passed that would allow us to carry in restaurants where alcohol is served.

And hopefully get rid of the stupid ban on park carry too
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Old 12-01-2008, 16:27   #4
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I have family that lives in Tennessee, and I keep an eye on the politics. It wouldn't shock me to see enough of the sheeple cross the aisle and vote for Naifeh because he's "So Powerful"

I hope I'm wrong...
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Old 12-02-2008, 15:43   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1006TSW View Post
I have family that lives in Tennessee, and I keep an eye on the politics. It wouldn't shock me to see enough of the sheeple cross the aisle and vote for Naifeh because he's "So Powerful"

I hope I'm wrong...
Yeah, I hope you're wrong too. This thing is still too close for comfort, and as a matter of fact, there was another article about it in the paper today.

Quote:
House Republicans unanimously elected Jason Mumpower as majority leader on Monday, positioning the Bristol lawmaker to eventually take over the body's leadership from long-time Democratic speaker Jimmy Naifeh.

Mumpower's rise from minority to majority leader became possible because of Election Day gains that netted Republicans four seats and a 50-49 majority over Democrats, who have controlled the House since Reconstruction except for two years in the late 1960s when the body was evenly split with one independent.

As snow whirled outside the windows of the House chamber, Mumpower joked about a conversation he had on the way to the caucus meeting, saying, "It would be a cold day when Republicans took control of the House."

"And so it is," he said. "My friends, this is the first time in history that House Republicans have been gathered on this floor as the majority party."

There was little suspense in the voice vote. All 49 caucus members present voted for Mumpower, who ran unopposed and had received pledges from all 50 Republicans to support a GOP speaker, with the understanding that their nominee would be him.

All the Republicans members have also agreed to vote for a GOP speaker pro tempore, the number two position in the House, largely ending speculation that some kind of bipartisan power-sharing deal could be struck with Democrats.

The Republican majority leader is automatically the GOP nominee for speaker and the caucus chairman is nominee for speaker pro tem, according to the party's caucus bylaws. If both are elected when the full House has its organizational meeting on Jan. 13, then the caucus will hold another election to replace them.

The only moment of drama on Monday came in the vote for caucus chairman, which was one of two contested elections. In the secret balloting, GOP members elected Rep. Steve McDaniel, a former minority leader from Parkers Crossroads, to the position.

Support is criticized
McDaniel survived a challenge for that post from Rep. Frank Niceley, of Strawberry Plains, who sharply criticized Mc-Daniel's past support for Naifeh as speaker, his votes in favor of raising taxes, and his support of income tax legislation.

Niceley said that he had been a "true believer" throughout his 20 years in the House and that fellow Republicans should reward him for his loyalty, not "the man who votes for the other team."

GOP members voted for McDaniel nonetheless. Afterward, Niceley said caucus members voted for McDaniel — one of a group of Republicans who have voted for Naifeh in the past — to ensure that he voted for Mumpower when the House convenes in January.

"He was kind of holding the caucus hostage, so that if they didn't give him the speaker pro tem, he may go back and vote for Naifeh again as he has in the past," Niceley said. "I feel like they had to buy him."

McDaniel said he considered himself to be both a conservative and a pragmatist, and that Republicans supported him because of his experience in the House leadership.

"I didn't know what (Niceley) was going to say, and quite frankly it didn't matter to me what he said," McDaniel said.

Despite the pointed words in the House chamber, Niceley afterward congratulated McDaniel and shook his hand as they passed one another at the elevators outside the House chamber.

Positions are filled
Mumpower afterward said he felt that there was a "friendly" atmosphere at the meeting, and said he was "ready to move forward working with the leadership team that was elected."

"I think we're as united as we've ever been," he said.

The caucus filled several uncontested positions, in-cluding Rep. Glen Casada of College Grove as assistant leader, Rep. Kevin Brooks of Cleveland as caucus vice chairman, Rep. Debra Maggart of Hendersonville as whip, Rep. Jon Lundberg of Bristol as floor leader, Rep. Judd Matheny of Tullahoma as secretary, and Rep. Joey Hensley of Hohenwald as treasurer.

Freshman GOP lawmakers also elected Rep. Barrett Rich, of Somerville, as assistant floor leader.

Before the meeting adjourned, Mumpower urged every Republican to come to Nashville before the Jan. 13 House session, to be sure to be present for the speaker's election.

With a one-vote edge over the Democrats, a single absence could scramble predictions for a GOP speakership.

When Rep. Curry Todd told members that he was having knee replacement surgery, Mumpower said jokingly, and possibly with a slight tone of nervousness: "You'll be back and healed up by the 13th of January, won't you?"
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:27   #6
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Well....I'm not sure if I am more, or less, hopefull for change.
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