Since several leadership positions in this week’s House GOP caucus elections are going unchallenged, some pundits are predicting few changes. But one name keeps drifting to the top of the endangered list.
Assistant Majority Leader Kevin Brooks (R-COG) is trying to hold off a spirited challenge from Rep. Jeremy Faison. Unlike some of the other contests, this one does not seem to break along ideological lines. Both men are considered to be on the more conservative end of the caucus, both have strong religious foundations, etc.
Where Brooks may have gotten himself in trouble is the perception that he has grown too chummy with the leadership clique and has been too passive when it comes to the establishment’s continued attempts at denigrating and marginalizing caucus conservatives. As one example, critics point to Brook’s failure to stand up for conservatives who were attacked by the Haslam/Tate-directed Advance Tennessee PAC, equating his silence with complicity in the sordid affair. Speaker Harwell’s silence on the attacks were bad enough, but having a conservative like Brooks clam up leaves some conservatives wondering whose side he is on.
Whether true or not, that perception has put some air under Faison’s wings. Conservatives are saying this race may be one of their best opportunities to display their displeasure with the way leadership is running the show.
Of course if Faison wins then allows himself to be co-opted, he can expect the same treatment next time around – but that would be cold comfort to Brooks.