Effort to call Durham ouster session flops

Efforts to call Tennessee legislators into special session to expel Reps. Jeremy Durham and oe Armstrong from the House failed to get the needed signatures by Friday’s deadline, reports the Times-Free Press.

There were two petitions — one to expel only Durham, R-Franklin; the other to expel Armstrong, D-Knoxville, as well.

Both petitions fell dozens of signatures short of the required 66 or two thirds of 99 representatives needed to initiate the process.

“I think I’ll be relieved to be finished with Jeremy Durham issues,” said Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, who initiated the Durham-only petition. “I think the body has decided not to pursue that.”

Only 27 representatives signed McCormick’s petition to oust Durham, described in a state Attorney General investigation of having inappropriately approached or sexually harassed at least 22 women, most of them state Capitol female workers, interns and lobbyists.

Sixteen Republicans and 11 Democrats signed McCormick’s Durham petition.

Durham, 32, lost his GOP primary election Thursday after suspending his campaign earlier this summer following release of the attorney general’s findings.

Another petition circulated by House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, R-Frankin, sought to expel both Durham and Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, who was on trial this week in federal court on tax fraud charges. A jury is expected to resume deliberations on Monday.

Only 17 representatives, all of them Republican, signed Casada’s petition.

…Noting the House had “spent such a disproportionate amount of time dealing” with Durham, McCormick said he is “fine” with the majority of members’ decision not to take further action.

“I think I gave them the chance to make that decision and they chose not to do it,” he said.

The Nashville Post quoted McCormick saying that “I hope [Durham] gets the help that he needs, because otherwise he’ll never live long enough to collect that pension, because someone’s husband will kill him.”

Asked about the remark, McCormick said he made it “half jokingly” but added, “I think he really should get help and get his life together.”