Tennessee House GOP Renominates Harwell for Speaker

Nov 27, 2012

Members of the House Republican caucus on Monday unanimously nominated Speaker Beth Harwell for another term in charge of the chamber but ousted Rep. Judd Matheny from the No. 2 slot. Matheny, a Tullahoma Republican, was defeated by Rep. Curtis Johnson of Clarksville in a secret ballot.

Beth Harwell is a Nashville Republican.

Matheny announced in August that he was mulling a challenge to Harwell for speaker because he felt marginalized by other Republican leaders. He said they worked to dilute his key legislative initiatives ranging from loosening gun laws to battling what he perceived as the spread of Islamic law in the United States.

He later abandoned that bid in favor of another term in his current role, but by that point, Johnson had already begun to round up support for the position.

The speaker and the speaker pro tempore are the only positions elected by the entire House membership, but as Republicans hold 70 of 99 seats in the chamber, the official votes are expected to be little more than a formality.

Majority Leader Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga was unopposed for another term, and Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin was elected Republican caucus chairman, a position vacated by the primary defeat of Rep. Debra Maggart of Hendersonville.

Rep. Curry Todd, who was absent from the meeting, failed to be re-elected to fiscal review committee. The Collierville Republican has a court date this week in Nashville on drunken driving and gun charge.