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Update: Robin Smith reacts by vowing to beat Williams in 2010. "Our purpose is to stand on our principles and be the voice of Republican voters across the state of Tennessee. Their charge is to conduct their legislative agenda."
In defiance of their party leadership, House Republicans have voted to allow Speaker Kent Williams to attend their caucuses. The vote took place secretly Monday evening, Tom Humphrey is reporting.
Not surprisingly, GOP leader Jason Mumpower isn't much interested in talking about it.
"I think the sentiment is to allow Kent to come into the meetings," he said during a brief interview today. Mumpower said he assumes that will include the right to vote on caucus matters. Mumpower refused to provide any details of the vote, but other Republican legislators say a substantial majority favored Williams' continued presence at caucus meetings. "I don't want to betry the confidence of caucus members," said Mumpower in declining to give vote totals.
The full caucus voted to welcome
Williams on the same evening that the new "country boy" Republican caucus held its first meeting and admitted the speaker. Some rural caucus members said then that they wanted Williams to attend the full caucus meetings, too. Apparently, it finally dawned on these knotheads that it's not a good idea to piss off the House speaker.
"Country boys can count to 50. Those city boys can only count to 49," Rep. Frank Niceley said.