Tennessee Republican Party

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Tennessee Republican Party
Chairperson Chris Devaney
Governor of Tennessee Bill Haslam
Senate Leader Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey
House Leader Speaker Beth Harwell
Headquarters 2424 21st Avenue, Suite 200
Nashville, Tennessee 37212
Ideology Conservatism
Fiscal conservatism
Social conservatism
National affiliation Republican Party
Colors Red (unofficial)
United States Senate delegation
2 / 2
United States House of Representatives delegation
7 / 9
Tennessee State Senate
28 / 33
Tennessee House of Representatives
73 / 99
Politics of Tennessee

The Tennessee Republican Party (TRP) is the affiliate of the United States Republican Party in Tennessee. It is often called the Tennessee Grand Old Party or the TN GOP.

Gov. Bill Haslam.


Upon its entry into the Union in 1796 Tennessee was strongly Democratic-Republican. Tennessee became a two-party system for more than 20 years during the Jacksonian era. The Democratic Party was formed by Jackson followers and this party was dominant against the rival Republican Party created by John Quincy Adams. But in 1835, there was a turn in power of party and a Whig governor was elected. Tennessee after the Civil War was part of the Democratic South for about a century. East Tennessee however remained strongly Republican. Even though the state was predominantly Democratic two different presidential elections won the state of Tennessee in 1920 and 1928. In the 1960s and 1970s Republicans made a push into the Democratic power when in 1966, Howard Baker was elected US senator. Then again Republicans made another push, when Winfield Dunn was elected governor, the first Republican Governor in over 50 years.[1]

Leadership and staff

The Tennessee Republican Party has had three different chairmen since 2005. On December 11, 2004, the State Executive Committee unanimously elected Bob Davis[2] as Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party to serve for the calendar years 2005 and 2006. He was subsequently elected to a second two-year term, 2007 and 2008, but resigned from the chairmanship in August 2007 to become Senior Adviser to presidential candidate Fred Thompson. The party's State Executive Committee then chose Robin Smith,[3] former chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party and vice chairman of the Tennessee GOP under Davis, to complete Davis's two-year term.

Republicans won a historic victory in Tennessee's 2008 elections, when the party won majorities in both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly for the first time since the Reconstruction Era election of 1868. Smith was unanimously re-elected at the end of 2008 to a full two-year term as chairman for calendar years 2009 and 2010. In April 2009, Smith announced her resignation in order to run for Congress in Tennessee's 3rd congressional district in the August 2010 Republican primary.[4]


  • The Chairman of the Republican Party of Tennessee is Chris Devaney,[5] who was elected in May 2009 and started serving as Chairman on June 1, 2009, to complete Smith's unfinished term after she resigned in order to run for Congress. Devaney previously was State Director for U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, and before that had been executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party under Bob Davis. In December 2012 Devaney was reelected to a 2-year term.[6]
  • Executive Director is Brent Leatherwood. He was formally the Communications Director for the Tennessee House Republican Caucus.[7]
  • Political Director is Walker Ferrell
  • Finance Director is Anna McDonald
  • Comptroller is Troy Brewer

Current elected officials

The Tennessee Republican Party controls the governor's office and a majority in both the Tennessee Senate and the Tennessee House of Representatives. Republicans hold both of the state's U.S. Senate seats and 7 of the state's 9 U.S. House seats.

Members of Congress

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

Statewide offices

Legislative leadership

Tennessee state senate

Tennessee state house

Current structure

Here is the structure of the party as of December 2011[8]

Elected officers of the state committee

  • State Chairman
  • Vice-Chairman
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Vice-Treasurer
  • National Committeewoman
  • National Committeeman
  • Geeral Counsel
  • Chief Counsel

State executive committee

The state executive committee (SEC) operates as the governing body for the state party. They establish rules and measures that best promote the success of the Republican Party and broadening of its base. The SEC serves as the TRP's state primary board and establishes to guide and direct County Republican Parties. One man and one woman are elected from each state senate district.[9]

  • 33 districts
  • 66 total representatives of the TRP
  • 33 are male
  • 33 are female

Notable Tennessee Republicans

Controversial elections

In the 2000 presidential election the Republicans wanted to embarrass the Tennessee native and president hopeful Al Gore in his home state. The strategy that he Republicans used was to portray Gore as an outsider that lost contact with the "Volunteer State" and that his views differed from before. The National Rifle Association joined the fight against Gore when they started to campaign for GOP and posted pro-George W. Bush billboards along the streets and highways. Throughout the campaign it was a dog fight but in the end the Republican Party had won Tennessee. 2,076,155 voters turned out in Tennessee and Bush won with 51.1% of the popular vote.[10]

Controversial comment

In 2008, the Tennessee Republican Party issued a press release that featured a photo of Senator Obama dressed in traditional Kenya clothing that the TN GOP called "Muslim attire" and used Obama's middle name "Hussein." Both Senator John McCain and State Democratic Chairman Gray Sasser decried the press release.[11][12]


  • In July 2009 state senator Paul Stanley resigned after being caught in a sexual relationship with a 22-year-old intern. Paul Stanley was known for running for family values.[13] Stanley resigned because he wanted to focus more on his family and better that since his indescretions. He was quoted saying "And just because I fell far short of what God's standard was for me and my wife, doesn't mean that that standard is reduced in the least bit."[14]
  • Keith Westmoreland a Republican Tennessee State Representative was arrested on 7 felony counts of lewd and exposing himself to girls under the age 16. He committed suicide before he could be prosecuted.[15]
  • Operation Tennessee Waltz was a statewide bribery sting, where 3 Democratic Senators and 1 Republican Representative were either convicted or plead guilty. 8 other people also either pleaded guilty or were convicted.[16]

Past elections

In 2008 the Republican won a historic victory, when the party own majorities in both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly for the first time since the reconstruction era election of 1868.[17]

Presidential elections

Like other Southern states, before 1960s Tennessee was a solid state of the Democratic Party. Since 1972 the Republican Party has won Tennessee in 7 out of 11 elections. It won Tennessee only except 1976, 1992 and 1996.

Past Republican governors


  • African American Development Council
  • College Republicans
  • Republican Jewish Coalition
  • Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Tennessee
  • Teenage Republicans
  • Young Republicans
  • Republican Women

Former Chairmen


  1. [1],History of Tennessee Politics.
  2. "Bob Davis, Jr". RDJ Group.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Robin Smith". RobinForTennessee.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Sher, Andy (May 16, 2009). "Tennessee GOP chief Smith to resign, study 3rd District race". Chattanooga Times Free Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Chris Devaney". Tennessee Republican Party.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. http://www.tngop.org/wordpress/2012/12/01/chris-devaney-re-elected-to-second-full-term-as-tngop-chairman/
  7. http://blogs.tennessean.com/politics/tag/brent-leatherwood/?repeat=w3tc
  8. [2], Current Structure.
  9. [3], SEC.
  10. [Steed, Robert P., and Laurence W. Moreland, eds. The 2000 Presidential Election in the South. Westport: Praeger, 2002. Print],
  11. Humphrey, Tom (February 27, 2008). "Tenn. GOP stands by "Anti-Semites for Obama" piece". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-05-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Sher, Andy (January 20, 2009). "Tennessee: Democrats say Obama will be fair to state". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved 2009-06-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. [4], Immorality of Tennessee state senator.
  14. [5], Paul Stanley,
  15. [6], Immorality of Tennessee state Representative.
  16. [7], Operation Tennessee Waltz.
  17. [8], Historic state election.
  18. List of Governors of Tennessee, List of Governors of Tennessee.
  19. Bill Haslam, State of Tennessee House Joint Resolution No. 248, April 21, 2011
  20. Locker, Rick (July 24, 2008). "GOP chair won't say whether Rove ordered media ban". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-01-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Sher, Andy (May 16, 2009). "Tennessee GOP chief Smith to resign, study 3rd District race". Chattanooga Times Free Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "GOP elects Devaney state party chairman". WAAY-TV. Associated Press. May 30, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links