NASHVILLE, TN – The State Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party elected a new party chairman Saturday, selecting Chris Devaney, U.S. Sen. Bob Corkers state director and a former executive director for the Tennessee Republican Party.
Devaney becomes chairman immediately, replacing outgoing Chairman Robin Smith, who served as the party chairman for 22 months and led the party to a historic victory in the November 2008 elections.
The election of 2010 is the most important for our state in generations, Devaney said, and we will be focused on building our majority in the General Assembly and electing a Republican governor.
In the worst political climate for Republicans in decades – in a year that would see Republicans lose the White House, lose both houses of Congress, lose 100 state legislative seats across the country, and lose the majority in three state legislatures to the Democrats – Chairman Smith lead the Tennessee Republican Party to winning a majority in both houses of the state legislature for the first time since the elections of 1868.
In remarks to the committee before the vote, Smith stressed that there is work left to be done keeping the Republican majority in the legislature, and electing a Republican governor in 2010 – and that the party must never stray from its principles.
“I love working with the grass roots,” said Smith, pledging to remain a Republican activist even after she leaves the chairmanship.
The Republican victories of 2008 ushered in a new era in Tennessee governance. Not only do Republicans have a majority in the state House and state Senate, for the first time the party also holds the state’s three constitutional officer seats and have a majority on all 95 county election commissions and the State Election Commission.