Tennessee GOP head endorses McCain, despite pledge to stay neutral - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tennessee GOP head endorses McCain, despite pledge to stay neutral

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - State Republican Party Chairwoman Robin Smith has endorsed presidential candidate John McCain despite an earlier pledge not to commit to any candidate while the nomination remains contested.

McCain's campaign issued a release Tuesday that listed Smith among 19 party officials endorsing his candidacy.

At a Nashville conference with journalists last month, Smith said state party rules prevented her from committing to presidential candidates in a contested primary.

State GOP spokesman Bill Hobbs said Smith endorsed the front-runner in anticipation of him garnering enough delegates on Tuesday for the nomination over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, so her support does not conflict with party rules.

The state GOP came under criticism from McCain and other Republicans last week for a news release that used Democratic candidate Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein, and showed him wearing traditional Kenyan clothing.

 

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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