Naifeh still planning bid for Tennessee House speaker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Democratic House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh still hopes to retain the top post in the House even though his party lost the majority in the chamber in last week's elections.

Naifeh's 18-year run as speaker is the longest active tenure in the country. The House elects its leadership when the Legislature convenes in January.

Naifeh, of Covington, won't say where he thinks he can get the votes to overcome his 50-49 disadvantage in the House - especially after all 50 Republicans signed a pledge this week to vote only for a fellow Republican as speaker.

But Naifeh told reporters Wednesday there's still two months to go before the vote for speaker, and in his words, "a lot of things can happen in that time."

Naifeh says he won't run for any position but speaker and dismissed as false the rumors that he would resign if he wasn't retained.

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