State Reps. G.A. Hardaway and Curry Todd got involved in “what looked like a near tussle” on the House floor Thursday before others stepped in to separate them, reports WKRN-TV, which caught some of the doings on camera.
The squabble began while Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis, was speaking on a bill that will make it more difficult to change the names of monuments of historic figures or remove them. (Note: It passed. Previous post HERE.)
Todd, a Collierville Republican, had moments earlier made a motion to shut off debate than failed by a few votes. Hardaway, a Memphis Democrat, approached Todd and a confrontation ensued. Secretary of State Tre Hargett, state Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, and Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville, all appear on the video to be trying to separate the two men.
Secretary of State Hargett declined comment, according to WKRN, while a spokesperson for Todd says it was it was just a discussion, no argument.
Further from Jeff Woods:
“Two gentlemen were having a passionate discussion,” was about all Hardaway would say about it a few minutes ago, although he did deny calling Todd “a racist sonuvabitch” as House staffers have reported it to Pith.
“I would not have called him that,” Hardaway said, laughing.
…According to staffers in the chamber at the time, Hardaway went to Todd and told him the debate wasn’t finished, and Todd told Hardaway to go back where he belonged or words to that effect—at which point chaos ensued. There was lots of finger pointing and shouting.
Reporters at the front of the chamber heard the commotion but couldn’t tell what was happening.
Legislative offices are debating who would have won the fight, and the smart money’s on Hardaway who looks stout.
“I saw the fear in Todd’s eyes,” said Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Nashville.