Elimininating any doubt as to whether he had helped state Senator Paul Stanley make up his mind about resigning, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, the Blountville Republican who presides over that body and had secured Stanley’s resignation from his Commerce Committee chairmanship last week, said in Memphis Wednesday that he had communicated repeatedly with a reluctant Stanley on Monday and Tuesday, urging that the senator vacate his Senate seat altogether.
Ramsey said Stanley had offered some resistance to the idea. “He had a few reasons why he wanted to wait a day or two before he he resigned.” The Senate speaker said he had first asked Stanley to resign on Monday and urged that course on Stanley again on Tuesday. “I talked to him three times yesterday [Tuesday], just to kind of walk him through to where I thought he needed to be….He said he wanted to think about it.”
Ramsey was in Memphis at the Grove Restaurant in East Memphis for an Associated Builders and Contractors meet-and-greet affair, where he appeared along with two fellow gubernatorial candidates, District Attorney General Bill Gibbons of Memphis and Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam.
Answering questions after the ABC affair, Ramsey said that, after his initial verbal approaches, he had continued to insist that Stanley resign via text messages to the Germantown Republican, who has been mired for the last week in a sex-and-blackmail scandal stemming from his relationship with a former legislative intern. Stanley would eventually announce his resignation from the Senate late Tuesday afternoon.
Commenting on the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville had been among those publicly urging Stanley’s resignation, Ramsey said, “I’m not sure Mark Norris ever talked to him, from what I’ve heard, but I talked to him about three times.”
Ramsey said, “I am relieved that it’s over. I was very upset with Paul at the time over what he did. I didn’t condone what he did. As a matter of fact, I condemned what he did…. To be honest about it, I’m a human being, I felt sorry for other human beings. There’s no excuse for what he did, but we hope he’ll be able to move on and correct his life with his wife and kids.”
Meanwhile, said Ramsey, he was “looking forward” to the special election that will be held later this year to fill Stanley’s District 31 seat.