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VOL. 124 | NO. 38 | Wednesday, February 25, 2009

GOP Head: Ideology Not Cause for Williams Ouster

AP

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SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Ideology didn't factor into Tennessee Republican Party Chairwoman Robin Smith's decision to kick House Speaker Kent Williams out of the party, she says.

Smith told a weekend gathering of Bedford County Republicans that the Williams ouster has been unfairly portrayed, the Shelbyville Times-Gazette reported.

"There's a lot of people that want to make this story about the conservative chairman of the Republican Party kicking out a moderate," she said. "He's probably more conservative than I am."

Smith called Williams "very pro-life, very pro-family."

She told the group that Williams was stripped of his Republican affiliation for banding together with the chamber's 49 Democrats to win the speakership by one vote over Republican Rep. Jason Mumpower of Bristol.

Smith said he never offered himself as a potential GOP nominee before the speaker's election last month.

The party's decision means Williams can't run as a Republican in 2010. But Williams, of Elizabethton, says he still considers himself to be part of the Republican caucus, and that the GOP still holds a 50-49 advantage in the chamber.

___

Information from: Shelbyville Times-Gazette, http://www.t-g.com

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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