Freshman Democrats balk on reelecting Ramsey as Senate speaker

The state’s three freshman Democratic senators abstained from voting for the reelection of Ron Ramsey as Senate speaker and lieutenant governor at the outset of the 109th General Assembly.

There was no nomination of an opponent to Ramsey, a unanimous choice of the Senate Republican Caucus earlier, during the formal election proceedings on the Senate floor. But Sens. Lee Harris of Memphis, Sara Kyle of Memphis and Jeff Yarbro of Nashville all voted ‘pass’ in the voting. Veteran Democratic Sens. Thelma Harper of Nashville and Reginald Tate voted for Ramsey with all the Republicans.

The vote likely cements Ramsey’s previously-announced suggestion that he’ll base his appointments of Democrats to committees (previous post HERE) on seniority rather than on position in the minority caucus’ leadership. The five-member Senate Democratic Caucus earlier decided that would be Senate leader and would be caucus chairman – the two top leadership positions. (Previous post HERE.)

Harris, Yarbro and fellow freshman Democratic Sen. Sara Kyle of Memphis apparently joined together in picking Harris as their leader over Tate. They also joined in abstaining on going along with Ramsey as speaker.

In the House, Speaker Beth Harwell was reelected 98-0 with all 26 Democrats in the House supporting her.

Ramsey’s remarks upon his reelection, HERE.