Tennessee Senate GOP gives nod to McNally; Harwell awaits House vote

State Sen. Randy McNally

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republicans have unanimously nominated Randy McNally of Oak Ridge to become the next speaker of the state Senate, while House Speaker Beth Harwell is hoping for a similar outcome in the lower chamber of the Tennessee General Assembly later in the day.

Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers, meaning that caucus nominations will likely make the formal votes for speaker among all members a formality in January.

Harwell, a former professor from Nashville, became Tennessee’s first female speaker when she was first elected in 2011. She has faced persistent criticism from a small group of conservative backbenchers, but was easily renominated to the chamber’s top leadership post in 2012 and 2014.

She is opposed by Rep. Jimmy Matlock, a Lenoir City businessman whom Harwell appointed transportation chairman.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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