December 6, 2018
Leadership Changes in the Tennessee Senate for the 111th Tennessee General Assembly
With leadership elections in the Tennessee House of Representatives completed, we turn our attention this week to the leadership elections in the Tennessee Senate. The Senate Republican Caucus and the Senate Democratic Caucus each held leadership elections this week in advance of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly, which convenes on January 8, 2019 at Noon. After the 2018 general election, Senate Republicans hold a 27-5 supermajority over their Democratic colleagues. There is currently one vacant seat in the Tennessee Senate.
On December 3, 2018, the Senate Republican Caucus met to elect their leadership for the 111th Tennessee General Assembly. Senate Republicans elected Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) to another two-year term as Speaker of the Senate. Lt. Governor McNally ran unopposed. Senate Republicans also elected Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) to serve as Senate Majority Leader. Senator Johnson defeated Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and will replace former Senate Majority Leader Norris (R-Collierville). Prior to his being elected to serve as Majority Leader, Senator Johnson served as the Chairman of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.
Senate Republicans elected Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) to serve as Chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus. Senator Yager defeated Senator Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) and Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and will replace former Chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro). Senator Ketron is now the Mayor of Rutherford County. Prior to his being elected to serve as Chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus, Senator Yager served as Chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee.
Senate Republicans also held elections for three other leadership positions within their caucus on December 3rd. Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) was elected to serve as Treasurer of the Senate Republican Caucus. Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) was elected to serve as Secretary of the Senate Republican Caucus. Finally, Senator Shane Reeves (R-Murfreesboro) was elected to serve as Chaplain of the Senate Republican Caucus.
On December 4, 2019, the Senate Democratic Caucus met to elect their leadership for the 111th Tennessee General Assembly. Senate Democrats elected Senator Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) to serve as Senate Minority Leader. Senator Yarbro will replace former Senate Minority Leader Senator Lee Harris (D-Memphis). Senator Harris is now the Mayor of Shelby County. Prior to being elected to serve as Senate Minority Leader, Senator Yarbro served as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Senate Democrats also elected Senator Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Senator Akbari will replace the aforementioned Senator Jeff Yarbro. Prior to being elected to the position of Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, Senator Akbari served in the Tennessee House of Representatives and representing Tennessee House District 91 in Shelby County.
In addition to electing a new Minority Leader and new Caucus Chairman, Senate Democrats elected Senator Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) to serve as Democratic Floor Leader and Senator Sara Kyle (D-Memphis) to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Finally, Senator Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) was elected to serve as Democratic Whip.
Vacancies in the Tennessee Senate
There is currently one vacancy in the Tennessee Senate in Senate District 32 that was created when former Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) was appointed by President Trump and subsequently confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the newest federal district judge for the Western District of Tennessee. A special election will be held to fill the seat vacated by Senator Norris with a primary election scheduled to take place on January 24, 2019 and a general election scheduled to take place on March 12, 2018. The withdrawal deadline for the special election is December 17, 2018.
In addition to the vacancy in Senate District 32, there will soon be another vacancy in Senate District 22, which is currently held by Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville). Senator Green was elected in November to serve as United States Congressman for Tennessee's 7th Congressional District. Senator Green replaces United States Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R) in 7th Congressional District. Congresswoman Blackburn will replace United States Senator Bob Corker (R) who is retiring from office. Senator's Green's departure from the Tennessee Senate will become official on January 3, 2019. The Montgomery County Commission will appoint an interim State Senator until a special election can be held to fill the remainder of his term in office.
This message is for the clients of Smith Harris & Carr and contains privileged, proprietary, or otherwise private information. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the original. Any other use of this email is prohibited