Republicans seize control of Tennessee Senate speakership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Republicans seized control of the Senate speakership and the lieutenant governor title that goes with it Tuesday when a Democrat cast her ballot for Sen. Ron Ramsey.

The vote rejected another term for 85-year-old Sen. John Wilder, D-Mason, who has been speaker since 1971 and is the longest-serving presiding officer of a legislative chamber in modern U.S. history, according to researchers at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Ramsey, R-Blountville, was elected 18-15 with the votes of all 17 Republicans and Sen. Rosalind Kurita, D-Clarksville.

Two years ago, two Republicans voted with Democrats to thwart the same 17-16 Republican advantage and retain Wilder as speaker.

Wilder named one of those senators - Republican Sen. Mike Williams - Senate speaker pro tempore after he made the switch. But Williams cast his ballot for Ramsey on Tuesday.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)