McCormick to exit as House majority leader

After six years as state House Majority Leader, Gerald McCormick says he will not seek another term in the position for the next session of the General Assembly. His announcement Monday, first reported by Andy Sher, is likely to touch off a scramble among fellow Republicans who would like to succeed him.

Citing accomplishments he and Republicans have made since seizing a working House majority in January 2011, McCormick told fellow GOP caucus members in a letter that he is “incredibly proud of the work of the ‘People’s House,'” which he said has “confronted extremely difficult issues that were not taken lightly by any of us.”

McCormick, who is still running for re-election without opposition to his seat on Nov. 8, said in an interview he intends to continue serving in the 99-member House, where Republicans hold 73 of 99 seats.

The 56-year-old lawmaker’s announcement is expected to unleash pent-up ambition in the GOP Caucus and could conceivably trigger a major power struggle among Republicans’ sometimes-bitterly divided power factions.

“I am honored to serve the citizens of House District 26 as their Representative in the Tennessee General Assembly and I intend to maintain a strong and intensified commitment to the issues affecting us locally and statewide,” McCormick said in his letter to fellow Republican lawmakers.

“I will continue to serve my fellow Caucus members as you see fit, however, I announce today that I do not intend to continue as House Majority Leader in the upcoming session,” he said.