Harwell wins GOP nomination for new term as House speaker

House Speaker Beth Harwell
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – House Speaker Beth Harwell has won the Republican nomination to serve for another two-year term as leader of the lower chamber of the Tennessee General Assembly.

The former professor from Nashville defeated Rep. Jimmy Matlock of Lenoir City in a 40-30 vote on Thursday.

The House Republican Caucus election followed an earlier meeting of the Senate GOP, which unanimously gave its nomination to Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge to succeed Speaker Ron Ramsey, who is retiring.

Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers, meaning that caucus nominations will likely make the formal votes for speaker a formality when the Legislature convenes in January.

Harwell survived a concerted – and sometimes anonymous – campaign to unseat her. Matlock told colleagues he would be less prone to listen to concerns of the governor and media.