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Newly appointed House State Government Chairman Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, left, speaks with Rep. Kent Williams, I-Elizabethton, after a floor session in Nashville on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.

NASHVILLE -- A GOP lawmaker from Knoxville says he intends to run to succeed Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney of Lookout Mountain as the party's chief.

Rep. Ryan Haynes said in a letter to the GOP's state executive committee members that he wants to serve a "party that stands on solid principles and protects the values of Tennesseans."

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Devaney announced earlier today that he will resign April 11 to become executive director of the Chattanooga-based Children's Nutrition Group of Haiti. A special meeting of the SEC will decide who succeeds him.

Former state Rep. Joe Carr, R-Murfreesboro, who unsuccessfully opposed U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., in last summer's GOP primary and then lost a December challenge to Devaney in the State Executive Committee, said he is looking at the contest as well. 

"I maintained then (in December) and I maintain now there's a serious chasm in the Republican Party between the Tea Party/grassroots and the establishment donor class," Carr said. 

He warned "whoever becomes the party chairman better be cognizant of that because it's not something that's going to fix itself. You first have to recognize such a chasm exists."

Meanwhile, the name of Rebecca Ann Burke, a sitting state executive committee member, has also surfaced as a potential candidate.

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