Haynes says he’s resign House seat if elected TNGOP chair; Rep. Littleton also interested

State Rep. Ryan Haynes says he will resign from his state House seat if elected state Republican chairman, reports Georgiana Vines. That would be a contrast to Beth Harwell, now speaker of the House, who continued to hold her state representative seat while serving as state GOP chair from 2001 until 2004.

“I will not stay in the Legislature and hold this position. Whoever gets into this needs to devote full-time,” Haynes said.

Karen Brown and Ken Gross, two Knox Countians on the 66-member GOP Executive Committee who will be deciding the next chairman on April 11, said Friday that they believe Haynes has a good chance of being elected.

“Ryan anticipated this was coming. He was prepared for it. He has enough backing that he felt like he would get it,” Brown said.

Gross said he has been contacted by state Rep. Mary Littleton… who also is interested in the post but that he is supporting Haynes.

“I think his chances are extremely good,” Gross said. “He put his name out there and started contacting Executive Committee members.”

Devaney announced Monday he is stepping down April 11 to become executive director of the Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti headquartered in Chattanooga. He was re-elected in December to a fourth term over former state Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Carr. Carr sought the chairmanship after losing to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in the August primary.

Haynes said the “rumor mills” had begun that Devaney was going to resign so he started putting himself into a position to seek the position. Once an email on an announcement was issued on Monday, “I was ready to jump out there to start meeting with Executive Committee members.”

He said he is crisscrossing the state to do it.

“I’ve spoken to a supermajority. I feel confident. It’s up to them and no one else. Any kind of outside influence doesn’t have that much affect. They’re pretty independent,” Haynes said.

Note: Littleton, from Dickson, is a former vice chair of the state GOP executive committee.