Gerald McCormick

Reps. Hawk, Johnson join McCormick in seeking to follow Harwell as House speaker

Former House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick was the first Republican representative to say he’d like to succeed Beth Harwell as speaker of the state House. The Tennessean reports Reps. David Hawk and Curtis Johnson say they plan to seek the post as well.

And current Majority Leader Glen Casada, as previously reported (HERE), isn’t ruling it out but says he’s waiting a while to decide.

Some quotes:

Hawk, R-Greeneville: “I realized in this past session that there’s a need for someone who can bring folks together…  I think that is one of my greatest skills. I know how to work with all members of the House, not only the Republican caucus but the legislature as a whole.”

…Johnson, R-Clarksville, has been speaker pro tempore for the last five years and he said his relationships with members of the House and Senate as well as his leadership skills make him stand out with strong qualifications.

“You have to have leadership skills, you have to have a steady hand on the wheel and you have to be level-headed for the job,” he said.

…Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, who lost to Harwell 40-30 in the vote for speaker during the current legislative session:

“Several people have encouraged me to run, but I think I’m going to see how the next few months go,” he said. “Rep. McCormick and Rep. Hawk are friends of mine and those two guys would certainly be really good candidates.”

House Speaker Gerald McCormick?

With Beth Harwell announcing her run for governor in 2018,  which means she can’t seek reelection to the House, state Rep. Gerald McCormick says he’s looking to succeed her as Speaker of the House in January, 2019, reports the Times-Free Press.

McCormick said with three two-year terms as majority leader under his belt — he chose not to seek the post last session and was named by Harwell in January as Finance subcommittee chairman — he believes he has “more experience probably than anybody else in the House dealing with governors and senators.”

“And that’s a lot of what the job entails, I think,” McCormick said. “I think I can step in on the first day and know what I was doing and try to get things moving in the right direction so far as our relationships with those folks go and understanding how the body works and how committees work.”

… McCormick’s successor as majority leader, former House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Franklin, is seen as another possible candidate to replace Harwell.

“I’ll look at it this time next year,” Casada said of a possible bid for speaker. “I’ve got a year of a lot of members leaving — it’s the governor’s last term. So we’ve got a lot of work to go and as majority leader I’ve got to focus on that.

“I can’t take my eye off the ball of being majority leader for the next 12 months,” said Casada, who expects 10 to 12 of the 73 Republican incumbents, including Harwell, not to seek re-election to the House.

Asked earlier about the possibility of Casada running, McCormick noted the Franklin Republican hasn’t been involved in the Finance Committee, which participates in negotiations with senators over the state’s annual spending plan.

Moreover, McCormick noted that in six years, he carried any number of bills for the governor.

“So I’ve got more experience from that standpoint,” McCormick said.

Rep. Carter seeks election as House majority leader

State Rep. Mike Carter, R-Oolewah, has announced he will seek election as state House majority leader, reports the Times-Free Press.

Carter becomes the second Republican legislators to declare plans to see the position since the current majority leader, Rep. Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga, declared he doesn’t want to continue in the position next year. Rep. Glen Casada, currently House Republican Caucus chairman, is also widely expected to seek the position, though he hasn’t announced yet.

“After much consideration and encouragement from House members across Tennessee, I have decided to formally seek the position of Majority Leader for the 110th General Assembly,” Carter said in a letter to fellow Republicans. “I am fully committed to this effort and am asking for your support.”

Carter said his “number one priority is to return the public’s respect to the House of Representatives as a body. I promise to always put the best interests of the Caucus before my own. When it comes to the majority party, the buck will stop with me.”

McCormick won’t run for Chattanooga mayor

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, who had been mentioned as a prospective candidate for Chattanooga mayor, has nixed the idea, reports the Times-Free Press.

“While being in Chattanooga all the time has its upsides, I believe I can do a better job for my community in the Tennessee Legislature,” he said. 

Currently, incumbent Democrat Andy Berke faces Republican Larry Grohn in the mayoral race.