Tag Archives: gerald mccormick

McCormick for mayor?

State Rep. Gerald McCormick says he had no thought of running against incumbent Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke when he decided against another term as House Majority leader, but lots of people have raised the possibility since — and he’s not ruling it out.

Further from Andy Sher:
“That was definitely not on my mind,” McCormick said Tuesday of the idea of running for mayor. “It’s been surprising the number of people who’ve called me.”

Berke, a Democrat and former state senator, recently announced he is running for a second four-year mayoral term in the city’s March 7 election. City Councilman Larry Grohn last month announced he is challenging Berke for the non-partian position.

…The lawmaker, who noted he personally likes Berke, said “I’ve had people I respect very much” raise the issue in the days since about running for mayor. “I do not have any plans to run for mayor and if I had to give a quick answer the answer would be no.”

But, McCormick said, “I don’t want to close out the door completely.”

Berke, 48, has been embroiled in controversy after a domestic incident involving adviser Lacie Stone and her husband, Bobby. Bobby Stone has alleged his wife was having an affair with Berke. The mayor has denied the claim.

McCormick is a principal in the commercial real estate firm of Stone Fort Properties. He recently became a director with the investment banking firm of Decosimo Corporate Finance. In addition to overseeing Chattanooga-based Stone Fort, McCormick is assisting Decosimo in sourcing and executing sell-side advisory engagements and debt and equity raises.

Sunday column: On McCormick stepping aside

Gerald McCormick’s decision to step to the sidelines in the legislative theater probably will add another bit of drama to a developing political play over leadership of the Tennessee General Assembly, but it may not be as entertaining as some of the Chattanooga businessman’s past performances.

“You’re a disgrace to this state, pal,” McCormick told then-Rep. Kent Williams on the House floor back in 2009, just after then-Republican Williams had teamed with Democrats to be elected House speaker.

Just a couple of weeks ago, then-Rep. Jeremy Durham declared in an eight-page letter to legislators that McCormick had — during a “heated phone conversation” — used some rather explicit language to suggest that Durham had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior. The letter was a prelude to the House floor vote expelling Durham from his House seat, a move in which McCormick was otherwise instrumental. Continue reading

Carter also eyeing run for House majority leader

State Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, is telling supporters he “prayerfully” considering whether to seek the powerful Tennessee House majority leader position being vacated by Rep. Gerald McCormick, reports the Times-Free Press.

Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, has already announced she is running. House Assistant Majority Leader Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, is looking at the post as are House Republican Caucus Chairan Glenn Casada, R-Franklin, and House Health Committee Chairman Cameron Sexton, R-Crossvile.

In a posting on his Facebook page today, Carter, an attorney and former county General Sessions Court judge, said McCormick’s decision to not seek re-election to the House’s No. 2 post “came as a surprise to many people, myself included. Gerald has been a strong, capable leaders for 6 years and honestly, I’m sorry to see him go.”

Carter, first elected to the House in 2012, said he has “been humbled and frankly a little surprised by the amount of encouragement I’ve received to run for Majority Leader from people in my own district and across Tennessee.

“While my priority between now and Nov. 8 will be helping fellow members win re-election,” Carter wrote in his post, “I’ve decided to listen to supporters and prayerfully consider running for Majority Leader.”

McCormick announced earlier this week he would not seek a fourth term as Republican majority leader in the GOP-run House, saying he wanted to devote more time to his business.

Rep. Sheila Butt seeks majority leader post

State Rep. Sheila Butt of Columbia has become the first Republican to declare as a candidate to succeed Gerald McCormick as House majority leader, but The Tennessean reports that at least a couple others – Reps. Glen Casada of Franklin and Cameron Sexton of Crossville – are also interested.

Butt announced her candidacy in an email to colleagues, saying she wants to help the House Republican Caucus “move forward with wisdom, tenacity, civility and better communication.”

“I am confident that I can lead the Caucus in that direction,” Butt said, while saying that she realized during her time as Majority Floor Leader that House Republicans needed improvements in terms of communication.

Butt’s effort comes one day after McCormick, who has been Majority Leader since 2011, informed his colleagues that he was not seeking re-election to the chamber’s second most powerful position. McCormick, R-Chattanooga, is running for re-election in November.

…Sexton told The Tennessean Tuesday that he’s had “numerous members” call him and ask if he’d be interested.

“As members call and I talk to them over the next several weeks I’m going to see what they’re looking for,” said Sexton, who served as House Majority Whip before being defeated by former Rep. Jeremy Durham in 2014.

Sexton said it is “much too early” to be counting votes for the leadership spot and that the priority of the caucus needs to be focusing on making sure every House Republican running for re-election wins in the Nov. 8 general election. Continue reading

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.

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. Continue reading

McCormick bemoans Clinton, Trump as worst since 1856

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, on his Facebook page Wednesday, declared that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the “worst major party candidates since 1856.”

That election featured Democrat James Buchanan and Republican John Fremont, in addition to Millard Fillmore, who was the American Party’s candidate. Buchanan, who is frequently considered one of if not the worst president the country has ever had, ended up winning the race.

The Tennessean talked with him further on the matter:

When reached Wednesday evening, McCormick, who was a delegate for Marco Rubio, said he hoped Trump would be able to “get it together.”

“He needs to back off the statements he’s made about veterans,” McCormick said, pointing to the real estate mogul’s criticism of former Republican presidential nominee John McCain and Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son was an Army captain killed in Iraq.

…Although McCormick cautioned that under no circumstances would he vote for Clinton, when asked what he would do in the event that Trump doesn’t fix his ways, the House leader said, “I will vote for Chuck Fleischmann for Congress and for myself for state rep, and I’m not sure how many other places there will be on the ballot.”

McCormick calls for special session to expel Durham — and maybe Armstrong

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick today joined Democratic legislators in calling for a special session of the state Legislature to assure that Rep. Jeremy Durham is expelled from office so that he will not be eligible for a state pension.

McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said in a telephone interview that he was already working toward a special session, which he envisions as coming in September, when House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart of Nashville held a news conference earlier Wednesday on the subject.

McCormick said a September gathering would come after the scheduled August trial of Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, on federal tax evasion charges.

“If he is convicted, I hope Joe Armstrong will do the right thing and resign,” said McCormick. “If not, we can deal with that, too – get two cats with one stone, do all our scandals in one day and be done with them.”

Stewart noted that, if Durham remains in office until his current term expires in November, he will automatically be vested in the state pension plan and eligible to receive a lifetime pension of $300 per month.

Durham recently suspended his reelection campaign after public release of a state attorney general’s report detailing sexual harassment of 22 women, but did not resign. Under state law, a legislator’s term officially ends on election day in November.

“Why should we force taxpayers, including many victims identified by the attorney general, to foot the bill for a pension for Rep. Durham’s bad behavior?,” said Durham. “Speaker Harwell needs to call for a special session right now to keep the victims from being victimized again by supporting his retirement.”

McCormick said Stewart’s call was “good timing” because he “had the same idea” and is already working with fellow Republican legislators on putting together a special session call.

“We should do this on a bipartisan basis,” he said.

McCormick said he believes expulsion votes could be handled in just one day, at limited expense to taxpayers. He also said Legislators could consider revising the state law that allows legislators to vest in the state retirement system in just four years, perhaps switching to a five-year requirement that applies for most other state employees.

Armstrong is scheduled to go on trial Aug. 2 U.S. District Court at Knoxville. He faces no opposition in the Aug. 4 Democratic primary and no Republican is running against him in the November general election. He will face independent candidate Pete Drew, a former state representative who has identified with both major parties at times past, in November.

Note: Previous post on Stewart’s call HERE.

McCormick gets a new corporate finance gig

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, founder of the Chattanooga commercial real estate firm of Stone Fort Properties, is now affiliated with the investment banking firm of Decosimo Corporate Finance, LLC, according to the Times-Free Press.

In addition to McCormick’s leadership with Stone Fort, he will assist Decosimo in sourcing and executing sell-side advisory engagements and debt and equity raises.

McCormick has more than 20 years of professional real estate experience stemming from his time as an industrial property appraiser at the Hamilton County Assessor of Property’s office. Since 2004, he also has served as a state representative in the Tennessee State House and has been the House Majority Leader for the past six years. McCormick spent 12 years as a commercial real estate broker before forming his own company in 2009 – Stone Fort Properties – where he will continue to serve the needs of his clients.

“The breadth of Mr. McCormick’s experience and knowledge about all facets of the real estate and business markets will be valuable to DCF and its clients as we continue to provide much-needed investment banking services to the middle market,” said Tom Decosimo, managing principal at DCF, LLC.

GOP legislators promote three ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bills

Six Republican state lawmakers launched an effort Monday called “Blue Lives Matter” to increase penalties for assaulting, killing and attempting to kill law enforcement officers in Tennessee, reports Richard Locker.

The legislators will file three separate bills for consideration in the 2017 legislative session, which begins in January.

In an unusual move, the lawmakers created a website, tnbluelivesmatter.com, and a Facebook page, Tennessee Blue Lives Matter, to build support for their effort, which could face obstacles due to increased incarceration costs and possible philosophical differences over separating officers from other citizens. A bill to increase penalties for assaulting officers was filed three years ago but failed.

A proposal by Sen. Todd Gardenhire and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, both Republicans of Chattanooga, would elevate an assault of a law enforcement officer discharging or attempting to discharge official duties at the time from a Class A or B misdemeanor to a Class E felony, if the defendant knew or should have known the person assaulted was an officer. The elevation would increase potential jail time from 11 months, 29 days to up to six years, and the potential fine up to $5,000.

A bill by Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, and Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, would designate the killing or attempted killing of a victim “who was known or reasonably should have been known by the defendant to be a law enforcement officer,” as a “hate crime.” It would be classified as a Class A felony, the top level in Tennessee’s criminal code.

A bill by Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, and Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, would create a fine of $500 to $2,000 for the already-illegal public release of the home address of a law enforcement officer, unless release is pursuant to a court order or the officer gives permission. The statute cited by the bill specifically applies to custodians of public records and it is not clear whether penalties would apply to publication, as by the news media.

During a Nashville news conference to launch the effort, White cited the recent death of Memphis police officer Verdell Smith, killed when he was struck by a fleeing suspect after a Downtown shooting spree that injured three others. Smith was trying to clear pedestrians on a crowded Beale Street out of the fleeing suspect’s path when he was struck.

Note: Text of the draft bills is included on the website.