glen casada

Harwell, Casada reject Democrats’ call for special session

In a perhaps unusual move, House Republican leaders have responded to Thursday’s House Democrats holding a news conference and issuing a press release urging a special legislative session on Medicaid expansion.  (Usually such Democrat doings are ignored.) They spurned the idea.

House Speaker Beth Harwell: “As Speaker of the House, I believe that instead of calling for a wasteful special session to expand a program that is failing, we as State Representatives and Senators should instead call on Congress to return healthcare back to the states without strings attached so we can begin to develop a better, more affordable program for Tennesseans.”

House Majority Leader Glen Casada“As Republican leaders of our state, we want to get rid of the disaster of Obamacare, not support a broken healthcare system that has become a drain on Tennessee families and backed insurance providers into a corner. 

Republicans want real solutions, not political promises that would result in more bureaucracy, higher costs, and drive a bigger wedge between patients and doctors. Obamacare has caused insurance rates to skyrocket to a point where the middle class can no longer afford coverage. 

Medicaid expansion has been an abysmal failure for those states that have participated. Here in Tennessee, we are committed to improving the health and quality of life for all Tennesseans through free market principles that demonstrate real results.

Note: The House Democratic Caucus press release is posted HERE.

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.

Did blog attack on Casada help him win majority leader post?

Rep. Glen Casada says an video showing him at a bar with a young woman was an effort to “sabotage” his election as House majority leader by trying to deceive lawmakers and others, destroy his reputation and wreck his marriage by implying untruthfully that he had been unfaithful to his wife. Others say the video, posted on an anonymous right-wing blog, may have helped him win the contest with Rep. Mike Carter, reports the Times-Free Press.

“These are outrageous tactics,” charged Casada.

He added that if elected “I will expose these people. Help me stop this.”

Carter later denounced the video, calling it beyond the pale… Carter said he “absolutely did not” have anything to do with the video posted on the Rocky Top Politics blog, which often attacks Republicans it disagrees with. The list includes Harwell and Gov. Bill Haslam.

“It was as big a shock to me as it was to him,” Carter said of the video. “It was a gross distraction. It was unfair to Glen and it was offensive to all of us.”

Casada and Carter were vying to replace Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, as majority leader, the No. 2 post in the chamber after speaker.

McCormick said he believes that instead of hurting Casada, the House GOP Caucus chairman, the video sealed the election for him.

“I’ve known Mike Carter for over 20 years and I would bet my house he was not involved in it,” McCormick said.

“I think you had some other people or groups involved in it. I don’t know who they are, but I think the caucus resented that at the last second, their coming in and basically trying to affect our caucus election,” he said.

“And I think it played to Glen’s favor,” McCormick added. “I think it boomeranged the other way and that’s what the caucus said.”

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

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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