Governor Bill Haslam is backing current State House Speaker Beth Harwell, amid hints that a fellow Republican could challenge her control of the lower chamber, reports WPLN. Tullahoma Rep. Judd Matheny says he might try to unseat Harwell. A challenge from Matheny risks pitting more conservative House Republicans against the moderate Harwell, who has worked closely with Haslam.
Asked about the potential for such a challenge, Haslam told reporters he liked Harwell’s work in what he called a difficult role.
“I have a new appreciation for it. When you have 99 elected members, all of whom have a little different idea, it’s difficult to build that consensus, even if your party has a big majority. I think most people would look at the job Beth has done and be very, very impressed.”
Two years ago Harwell beat out Franklin Republican Glen Casada to take the speaker’s gavel, and now Casada says he’s not looking for a rematch. Harwell has preferred to keep the House from spending a lot time on gun bills – a stance that has drawn increasing ire from more gun-friendly lawmakers.
Gov. Bill Haslam will be supporting state Sen. Doug Overbey in his re-election bid against Republican primary challenger, Scottie Hughes, according to the Mountain Press.
Overbey’s Senate district includes Blount and Sevier counties. The governor had previously said he would back House Education Committee Chairman Richard Montgomery, who also faces a challenger in the Republican primary. A spokesman for the governor said Haslam is offering his “full support” for fellow Republicans Rep. Richard Montgomery and Sen. Doug Overbey in both their August primary contests and the November general election. (Note: No Democrat is running for either seat.)
Haslam told reporters recently he would be working for incumbents including Montgomery, with Press Secretary David Smith explaining Overbey will also receive that assistance. While the governor’s office is being careful to point out he’s not offering any full endorsements, Smith was willing to say Haslam “fully supports” both men in their campaigns. (Note: Say what, Dave??)
Meanwhile, a political action committee declaring ties to Tea Party groups has endorsed Hughes and declared Overbey too liberal and too tied to special interests. The news release is below.
Not so long ago, Bob Corker was not so sure he wanted another six-year term in the U.S. Senate because of frustration over congressional inaction, which he compares to “watching paint dry.”
“Most people who know me know that all last year, I really had to think about that myself,” he said in a telephone interview from his Washington office.”If you have led a productive life, you have to wonder it it’s worth your time being here.
“But, for what it’s worth, I have become more optimistic than I have been in a long time that we will rise up and deal with our nation’s problems … just because frustrations are so high, on both sides of the aisle.”
With his newly formed belief that congressional frustration levels are on the verge of reaching the breaking point, especially on the overriding issue of dealing with national debt, Corker said he decided to run again.
“I want to be part of solving that problem, and I think I will be,” he said.
News release from House Democratic Caucus:
(Nashville) – State Rep. Gary Moore Thursday announced his retirement from the Tennessee House of Representatives after eight years of service.
“Gary Moore is one of my best friends,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory). “I’ve worked with him for 25 years in the Nashville Fire Department and I’ve literally stood shoulder to shoulder with him working to protect the people in our community. His colleagues this morning expressed their gratitude for his institutional knowledge and recognized the hole he will leave in our caucus.”
Moore, who was recently elected President of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council, spent his years in the House fighting for working families and formerly served as Democratic Caucus Treasurer. He serves on the House Consumer and Employee Affairs and Judiciary Committees.
Moore resides in Joelton with his wife, Gloria. They have two children and four grandchildren. He represents District 50, is active in the communities he represents, and is a member of First Baptist Church, Joelton. He attended the National Labor College and Volunteer State Community College.
He served as a Nashville Firefighter for 30 years, and held the position of Captain for 11 years. He has over 40 years experience in developing various types of business and community organizations on a local, state and multi-state level.
With a profound concern for the environment, youth, senior citizens, veterans and the citizens of Tennessee, Moore is always willing to organize or become involved in any cause that will benefit them. He is a seasoned charity fundraiser, organized a citizens environmental group, is a founding member of “Get Kids Hooked on Fishing Instead of Drugs” and has organized Property Tax Assistance, Inc., a 501 ( c ) 3 that provides tax assistance to low income senior citizens.
“Gary will be missed as a colleague in the House, but we know he’ll still be around fighting for the causes we all stand for,” Turner said.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — House Transportation Chairman Philip Johnson says he won’t seek a sixth term this year.
The Pegram Republican made the announcement to fellow lawmakers on the House floor on Monday after telling colleagues that his wife, Allison, had beaten breast cancer.
Johnson said he plans to pursue work as a lobbyist following the mandatory one-year “cooling-off period” after leaving office.
Johnson becomes the fourth Republican to announce he won’t seek re-election to the House. (Note: There’s also one departing Republican Senatlr, Mike Faulk of Church Hill.)
Meanwhile, 10 Democratic incumbents are retiring from the Legislature this year.
Given that ten Democratic legislators so far have announced they won’t seek reelection to the seats they now hold, perhaps it’s noteworthy that the top House Democrat says he will seek another term. Ergo, here’s House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh’s reelection announcement press release:
RIPLEY, TN –Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley) announced today that he will seek re-election as State Representative this fall. House District 82, which Fitzhugh currently represents, formerly encompassed parts of Dyer County. After the 2010 census, it was redrawn and now consists of Crockett, Haywood & Lauderdale Counties.
“It has been my privilege to represent the people of House District 82,” said Fitzhugh. “While I’m sad I will no longer represent my many friends in Dyer County, I am excited about reconnecting with the people of Haywood County as we welcome them to the district.”
Tennessee State Representatives Scotty Campbell announced Wednesday he will not seek another term in the house, reports WCYB-TV.\ Campbell tells News 5 WCYB his long term personal and education goals are the reasons he cannot commit to another term.
He says he does not have a desire to become a career politician.
He thanked the voters of Johnson and Sullivan Counties for giving him the opportunity to serve them in the General Assembly.
Campbell, R-Mountain City, is a freshman lawmaker representing House District 3 who serves as a top aide to Kent Williams when Williams was speaker of the House.
He’s the fourth Republican legislator to announce he won’t seek another term in his current seat. (Two other representatives leaving the House, Joey Hensley and Frank Niceley, are running for the Senate.)
State Representative Mike McDonald (D-Portland) announced today that he will not be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for state representative from the 44th District this year, reports the Gallatin News..
After thoughtful consideration and conversations with my family, I have decided not to seek the Democratic nomination for state representative this year,” McDonald said. “This is my 18th year of public service and I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the people of Sumner County. Working together we have made real progress. The voters who live in the 44th District placed their trust in me and I have done my very best to be an effective and dedicated legislator,” McDonald said.
“I’m a native Tennessean and I love my home state. I will always be interested in public policy and the future of Tennessee. Also, I look forward to private sector opportunities and more time with my family. I wish to thank the voters who elected me nine times and made it possible for me to serve others. I am forever grateful to each and every voter and supporter and I will always treasure our friendships.”
— Note: With McDonald’s announcement, ten Democratic state legislators have now said they will not seek reelection to their current positions this fall.
(Note: Updates earlier post)
Mike Faulk said Thursday he would not seek reelection to a second term as state senator representing Claiborne, Grainger, Jefferson, Hawkins, Hancock and Union counties.
Faulk, a Republican who lives in Church Hill, said he wants to spend time with his mother, Rosella, 83, who is gravely ill with cancer and devote more time to his solo practice as an attorney specializing in “dram shop” lawsuits against those deemed responsible for accidents involving drunken drivers.
When the Legislature is in session, Faulk said, he works 70 hours a week in Nashville and is 300 miles away from his mother while she is ill. His decision, he said, is simply a matter of putting his attention where it should be.
Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey hailed Faulk as “a straightforward, level-headed guy who brought a lot of knowledge to the Senate” and who is stepping down “for all the right reasons.”
Faulk said he does not know who may seek to replace him in what has been known as Senate District 4, though now designated Senate District 8 after numbers changed in redistricting earlier this year. The district’s geography remains basically the same.
State Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, who lives in Jefferson County, said he is considering a run for the seat. Niceley ran for the Senate in 1994, losing to then-incumbent Democrat Danny Wallace.
Wallace, in turn was defeated in 1998 by Republican Sen. Michael Williams of Maynardville, who later became an independent and held the seat until defeated in 2008 by Faulk. Note: News release below
PULASKI, Tenn. (AP) — State Rep. Eddie Bass, a Democrat who had considered running for re-election as a Republican, is retiring from the General Assembly.
Bass, a former Giles County sheriff, told WKSR-AM on Monday that he is leaving the Legislature to attend to his growing private businesses. He is the eighth Democratic lawmaker to announce his retirement this year.
Bass’ flirtation with a party switch may have been thwarted when he angered Republican leaders by sponsoring a gun rights bill that they wanted to push off until next year.
The bill supported by the National Rifle Association would force businesses to allow employees to be allowed to store firearms in vehicles parked on company lots.
Bass is serving his third term in the state House after first being elected in 2006.