published Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Smith leaving, Brock and Swafford seek state GOP post

The race to succeed Tennessee Republican Party Chair Robin Smith is already under way.

Lookout Mountain businessman Oscar Brock and state Rep. Eric Swafford, R-Pikeville, are both seeking the post, which Ms. Smith expects to leave May 30 in order to explore a race for the Republican nomination in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District.

It was unclear whether Chris Devaney, state director for U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who also lives in Hamilton County, will seek the post.

Speaking Saturday, Mr. Brock, 46, said he has been talking for weeks to the 66 members of the state GOP Executive Committee, who will elect the new chairman, in anticipation Ms. Smith might leave.

“I’m pretty close to a majority vote right now,” Mr. Brock said, adding he plans to spend the weekend making calls.

He called his chances of persuading a majority of the members to back him “excellent.”

Mr. Brock, the son of former U.S. Sen. Bill Brock, R-Tenn., is a member of the executive committee. In 2007, he ran and lost to Democrat Andy Berke in a special 10th Senate District contest. The district is heavily Democratic.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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