Rumors and speculation about the possible end of the reign of 85 year-old John Wilder as Speaker of the Senate/Lieutenant Governor in Tennessee aren't fazing Wilder.
In a Democrat caucus yesterday, Wilder received the majority of votes from his fellow Democrats.
The vote was by secret ballot, so no one knows how many Democrats voted for the challenger Sen. Joe Haynes (D).
Wilder is well-known for his attack on federal law enforcement and vigorous prayerful defense of his Senate family when fellow Tennessee legislators were arrested during the Tennessee Waltz public corruption scandal of 2005.
A year-and-a-half after Wilder's prayerful entreaties, many members of Wilder's Senate family have been convicted. Others are still awaiting trial.
The most prominent of the indicted members of Wilder's Senate family is John Ford of Memphis, with whom Wilder served for around 30 years.
After the meeting, Wilder said he is confident that he has the 17 votes necessary to win when the vote of the full Senate is taken on January 9.
The current split in the Senate is 17 Republicans and 16 Democrats. Normally, that would mean that a Republican would be the Speaker of the Senate/Lt. Gov.
Wilder, however, has stated that he has the vote of at least one Republican (Sen. Mike Williams, R-Maynardville).
If all 16 Democrats vote for Wilder along with Republican Mike Williams, then Wilder has the 17 necessary votes.
Wilder's Democrat challenger Haynes, however, has stated that Wilder doesn't have all 16 Democrat votes. Haynes says that Sen. Jerry Cooper (D) will abstain rather than vote for Wilder.
If Cooper doesn't vote, Wilder would appear to have 15 Democrat votes along with the Williams (R) vote for a total of 16 votes.
The Republican Ron Ramsey would likely get the remaining 16 Republican votes.
Even with this possible 16-16 tie situation, Wilder "wins."
A deadlock means that Wilder keeps the position he currently holds until someone, Republican or Democrat, gets the magical 17 votes to make a change.
Wilder has hinted that he may have two Republican votes (Williams and ?). If he does, then he will be Speaker/Lt. Gov. outright even if the Democrat Cooper abstains.