It happened! It really happened!
Some people are in shock. Other people think that they just witnessed a miracle.
Senator Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) defeated 85-year old John Wilder (D) for the position of Speaker of the Senate/Lt. Governor.
Many prior posts have discussed this race: here, here, and here.
In the end, it was a Democrat who gave Ramsey the boost he needed. Sen. Rosalind Kurita (D-Clarksville) cast her vote for Ramsey.
After Kurita's voted for Ramsey, Mike Williams' vote (R-Maynardville) for Ramsey didn't even matter. When Williams' vote was cast at the end of the alphabetical roll call, he knew that Ramsey already had the votes.
It was easy for Williams to re-join the Republican fold and vote for Ramsey at that point. In an earlier post today, I speculated that if Williams saw that Wilder didn't have the votes, then Williams might vote for Ramsey.
Wilder didn't have the votes (due to Kurita), and Williams voted for Ramsey.
The final tally was 18-15. Ramsey got all Republican votes (17) plus (1) from Democrat (Kurita).
Wilder got all the other Democrat votes (15). Indicted Sen. Jerry Cooper, who had given early indications that he would abstain from voting, voted for Wilder.
There are several reports out there now. The Tennessean. The City Paper.
I have watched Kurita over the past year---in the state senate and as an early candidate for the Democrat nomination for U. S. Senate (against Sen. Harold Ford, Jr.).
Kurita is a strong and smart person. She has common sense, and she's nobody's fool. I don't agree with her on everything, but I admire the fact that she generally doesn't waffle all over the place. She stands for something and speaks up.
This time she saw what all the men saw---that John Wilder's better days are behind him and that it was time for a change in the Senate. The difference with Kurita was that she had the, shall we say courage, to do something to make a change.
No more Speaker's prayers from John Wilder for those caught up in the corruption of the Tennessee Waltz.