Expect state Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville, to make a run for Republican Leader next session. With the retirement of state Rep. Jason Mumpower, the empty post is expected to draw the interest of a half-dozen Republican House members. Whether the post will be Majority Leader or Minority Leader will depend on the November election.
Many House Republicans expect their party to pick up more seats this year and, if so, it could mean the ouster of current House Speaker Kent Williams, who was elected with his vote and the Democrats' with no margin for error. That would allow Republicans, if they vote together, to elect a new speaker.
State Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville, who is not running for reelection, recently turned over $10,000 from his account to his friend Brooks. Brooks in turn will contribute the money to Republican House candidates. This is the traditional way for incumbent House members seeking a leadership post to cultivate friends among the freshmen.
The half-dozen potential Republican candidates for leader indicates discontent with the ascension of state Rep. Glenn Casada, R-College Grove, who has been Mumpower's principal ally as Caucus Chair.