Tennessee: GOP House member backs Democrat as comptroller

Tennessee: GOP House member backs Democrat as comptroller

January 12th, 2009 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

NASHVILLE - A Republican House member said today that he plans to support Democrat John Morgan's bid for another two-year term as comptroller over expected GOP candidate Justin Wilson.

"I'm voting for John Morgan for comptroller," said Rep. Kent Williams, R-Butler. Mr. Morgan has "been a tremendous help for me and my constituents," he said "He's been in that office a long time."

Republican legislative leaders, who in November gained control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 140 years, hope to replace Mr. Morgan as well as Treasurer Dale Sims and Secretary of State Riley Darnell, both Democrats.

The comptroller, treasurer and secretary of state are elected by the 132 members of the General Assembly. Republicans won a slim 50-49 majority in the 99-member House while in the Senate, the GOP increased its control to 19-14.

Rep. Williams, whose independence has sometimes drawn criticism from fellow Republicans, said he remains undecided on whether he will back the GOP's candidate for treasurer, saying it "depends on which candidate our party chooses."

He said he does intend to support a Republican for speaker. House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol, is running for speaker and hopes to oust longtime Democratic Speaker Jimmy Naifeh of Covington when the 106th General Assembly convenes Tuesday.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.