NASHVILLE -- State Rep. Ryan Haynes has been elected chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.
Haynes was elected by the GOP's executive committee on Saturday to replace Chris Devaney, who stepped down just months into his fourth term to become executive director of the Chattanooga-based Children's Nutrition Program of Haiti.
Haynes, of Knoxville, won a majority of votes on the first ballot, defeating fellow Rep. Mary Littleton of Dickson and Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain.
Under Devaney's chairmanship, Republicans gained supermajorities in both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly and took seven of nine of the state's U.S. House seats. Still, he has faced criticism from tea party-styled members of the executive committee over contentious issues such as the effort to require party registration to vote in GOP primaries. Devaney opposed closed primaries.