Outgoing state Sen. Jim Summerville claimed this week that he’s always been a pariah in the state Republican Party; and accused Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of selling state committee leadership positions, reports The Tennessean.
Summerville then turned his attack to Ramsey, claiming the latter predicted Summerville’s ouster after his 4-year term began in 2010.
He claimed there was never a mutual political relationship between himself and Republican officials.
“They didn’t want me in the first place. They wanted Doug Jackson,” Summerville said. “I was completely a freak. I think that if you have a majority of the vote it’s called democracy, but they didn’t think so.
“It goes back to that,” he added.
Summerville defeated longtime Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson for the Senate seat in 2010.
Summerville then accused Ramsey (R-Blountville) of selling Senate committee chairmanships, referring to a PowerPoint presentation during a Republican caucus meeting two years ago that documented the committee chairpersons and how much money they gave to the caucus.
…Ramsey responded to Summerville’s accusation Monday afternoon through his communications director, Adam C. Kleinheider, via an email to The Herald.
“I continue to pray for Sen. Summerville,” Kleinheider wrote on Ramsey’s behalf. “He is clearly working through some personal and legal problems that I hope are resolved quickly and without further incident.”
Ramsey then denied selling the chairmanships.
“As to his specific allegation, it is absolutely false,” Kleinheider added. “Contributions to the Senate Republican Caucus are, and have always been, completely voluntary.”
Local media pressed Summerville on previous remarks attributed to Ramsey about the voluntary nature of those monetary contributions.
“Well yeah, if you want your chairmanship you better volunteer to give $25,000,” Summerville replied. “(Ramsey) told me that (Mae Beavers) had $25,000 in her campaign account and she would not give it. “He told you the press, ‘I put her out because I didn’t agree with some of her decisions,'” he added.
…Summerville filed a complaint with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation about the purported “cash-for-chairmanships” scheme, and talked with investigators “back in the late summer, I guess.”
A TBI spokesperson recently confirmed receipt of Summerville’s complaint, but reported the investigation was turned over to the Attorney General’s Office.
Summerville said he hasn’t been in contact with the Attorney General’s Office; and wants “fairness” and “justice” to result from the investigation, but called that a “long shot.”