I asked Saltsman about his past relationship and he casually said that Nailah was “never a big fan” of his. This is definitely an understatement. Naifeh has served as Tennessee speaker of the house since 1991; however the likelihood of this continuing is in serious doubt after the control of the Tennessee House shifted this November to a 50 to 49 Republican control for the first time since 1971. With Republicans in charge, it appears that Republican House leader Jason Mumpower is set to take over as speaker. Much of the groundwork leading to the Republican takeover began when Saltsman was chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 1998 to 2002. In addition, Saltsman led a successful campaign to defeat the state income tax which was backed by a coalition with Speaker Naifeh and then Republican Governor Don Sundquist.
Now, with Speaker Naifeh smelling blood in the water, he has attempted to go in for the kill on Chip Saltsman’s rise within the Republican Party. Hopefully, RNC members will be smart enough to see through this smoke screen for what that attack truly is. Naifeh’s comments are nothing more than settling an old political score and attempting to wound a Republican who he perceives as a real threat.