Haslam Backs Williams’ Republican Status

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, a candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, says that House Speaker Kent Williams should be able to run for re-election as a Republican.
“While I didn’t like the whole process involved in his selection, I don’t think throwing someone out of the party is the answer,” Haslam said in a brief interview Thursday at the Legislative Plaza.
“I just don’t think it’s wise to throw somebody out of the party who wants to run as a Republican,” he said, adding that Republican voters can make such decisions.
State Republican Chairman Robin Smith earlier this year declared that Williams is no longer a “bonafide” Republican, meaning he cannot qualify to run for re-election next year as a member of the party.
Haslam is apparently the second GOP gubernatorial candidate to indicate support for Williams. U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp visited Williams at his Elizabethton restaurant last weekend in a show of support, according to a Tri-Cities TV station.
On the other hand, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, also a candidate, was highly critical of Williams for joining with Democrats to have himself elected and indicated support for Smith’s decision earlier this year.

2 thoughts on “Haslam Backs Williams’ Republican Status

  1. Rick

    Well that means it’s Haslam or Wamp for governor for me! Finally, someone has the guts to speak out to do the right thing. The voters should always have the final say. Of course I’d like to see Wamp keep his seat so Robin Smith is out of the picture completely, where she belongs.

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