Durham profile: ‘Spoiled frat kid’

The Tennessean has a profile story on Rep. Jeremy Durham that begins like this:

In the midst of a bustling legislative session, Rep. Jeremy Durham walked up to a group of lobbyists, looked one in the face and screamed: “F— you.”

The explosion continued. The group watched as the young Republican lawmaker grew red in the face, cursing out the lobbyist in front of House Speaker Beth Harwell’s office, one of the busiest areas at Legislative Plaza.

A lobbyist who saw the encounter in 2013 said it was “embarrassing” but not atypical for Durham.

“He’s like this spoiled frat kid. He’s like a frat boy,” the lobbyist told The Tennessean.

No one is surprised when a politician is outspoken or assertive. But after 20 interviews with The Tennessean specifically about Durham’s behavior, a portrait emerged of a young, ambitious politician whose determination to succeed has propelled his rapid ascent and alienated potential allies.

…Supporters say Durham is a dedicated lawmaker who represents the people who live in his corner of Williamson County, making him a target for Republicans who aren’t “true conservatives.” Even detractors say he’s a tireless worker who puts in the time needed on the campaign trail to win over constituents.

But fellow Republicans and others who’ve worked closely with Durham also describe him as overly aggressive, unpredictable, inappropriate, pushy, angry and quick to fly into a rage.

It’s the type of behavior throughout the years that’s led to meetings with human resources, burned bridges and, at least once, an arrest, according to documents and statements from observers.

“Jeremy Durham is a walking cancer for the caucus. The only thing bigger than his ego are the headaches he creates. From his questionable interactions with lobbyists to the way he berates staff and his inappropriate relationship with colleagues, this needed to happen a while ago,” said a high-ranking Republican official.

Note: Columnist Frank Daniels III takes a long look at the Durham doings. His closing lines:
The House Republican caucus chairman, Rep. Glenn Casada, R-Franklin, does not want to discuss Durham’s behavior with the public listening, which also feeds the gossip mongers, but if House leadership does not act decisively on Tuesday you have to wonder how broadly the questions about what legislators are up to will spread.

As the great American commenter and comedian Will Rogers observed, “Rumor travels faster, but it don’t stay put as long as truth.”