Harwell reelected House speaker, Casada majority leader, Williams GOP chair

House Speaker Beth Harwell won a new term in the office today, defeating Rep. Jimmy Matlock 40-30 in a House Republican Caucus vote.

Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin was elected House majority leader by a vote of 42-29, defeating Mike Carter of Ootelwah after a speech that included denouncing an anonymous blog that posted of a video of Casada in a bar with a young blond woman. Casada later said the video had been edited to eliminate other people present, including the woman’s date and that he is contemplating a libel lawsuit in the matter, believing it an “outrageous” and unfounded effort to “sabotage” his campaign for majority leader and his reputation.

(Note: The video referenced by Casada was posted by Rocky Top Politics, an anonymously written blog on Tennessee politics, HERE. )

Rep. Ryan Williams of Cookeville was elected House Republican Caucus chairman, gaining 47 votes to 23 for Rep. Kevin Brooks of Cleveland.

All voting was by secret ballot. A motion to let two absent members, Reps. Dale Carr of Sevierville and Kelly Keisling of Byrdstown, have a proxy cast their ballots was defeated.

Harwell, first elected speaker in 2011, acknowledged “the past year has been a difficult one on this body, but I commend you for remaining focused on what is important, and that is moving Tennessee forward.” She declared  there have been a series of accomplishments and “I will stand on that record anytime, anywhere.”

Matlock, of Lenoir City, told caucus members that Donald Trump’s election as president shows the American people were ready to move “in a different direction” and new leadership in the House would help do the same thing for Tennessee. He said that GOP caucus have told him there is a need to assert independence and “push back… do not allow us any longer to be led by the media or the administration.”

Other Republican leadership positions filled in the voting:

Caucus Vice-Chairman: Rep. Dennis Powers of Jacksboro.

Assistant Republican Leader: Rep. David Hawk of Greeneville.

Republican Whip: Rep. Timothy Hill of Blountville.

Republican Floor Leader: Rep. Micah Van Huss of Gray.

Secretary/Treasurer: Rep. Dawn White of Murfreesboro

Assistant Floor Leader: Rep. John Crawford of Kingsport and Rep. Ron Gant of Rossville

House members of the Fiscal Review Committee

Rep. Susan Lynn of Old Hickory

Rep. Pat Marsh of Shelbyville

Rep. Bill Sanderson of Kenton

Rep. Ron Travis of Dayton

Rep. Mark White of Memphis

Rep. Tim Wirgau of Buchanan

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