Why Williams Has to GoToday is the day when we discover whether Kent Williams will be removed from the Tennessee Republican Party for failing to support the Republican nominee for Speaker of the Tennessee House:
Williams' party status has been in doubt ever since he joined with House Democrats to become speaker on Jan. 13. Even before the vote, the party had threatened to strip Republican lawmakers of their "bona fide" GOP status if they voted for a Democrat for speaker.At issue was Williams' commitment to support the Republican Caucus nominee, House Majority Leader Jason Mumpower. Williams and the other 49 GOP members had signed a pledge to support a Republican for speaker and speaker pro tem. He ended up voting for himself for speaker and a Democrat, Lois DeBerry, for the No. 2 position.
Williams has insisted that he had only pledged to support a Republican, and he did — himself. He has acknowledged defying expectations, though, saying, "things change" when asked about his votes.
If anything changed, it was that the Democrats made Kent Williams an offer.
Although I agree with this logic in principle, the reason Williams must be removed from the Republican Party is far more basic. If the party fails to remove him, it will send a message to those "Republicans" in districts far less likely to make a martyr of them for being booted that threats of action by the party for failure to support the Leadership are only that, and that there is no serious consequence for helping to keep the House under Democratic control.
Kent Williams has to go in order to enforce party discipline.