The huge leadership change on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill took another turn Monday, with word that House Republican Caucus Chair Ryan Williams has officially entered the contest for Senate Majority Leader.
He told House members in a letter that “as your Majority Leader, I will continue to focus on bringing our members together to achieve similar successful outcomes on important state issues, and also provide more guidance and support for the policies that are priorities to you and your constituents.”
Sumner County Rep. William Lamberth told News 2 he is also running for the post which will be decided by the House Republicans during their critical caucus meeting on Nov. 20.
Glen Casada, the current House majority leader, is running to replace retiring House Speaker Beth Harwell, along with Representatives David Hawk and Curtis Johnson.
The House Republicans candidate for the speaker’s position will also be decided during the Nov. 20 caucus meeting.
Since Republicans are expected to hold their dominant majority in the House, candidates they select for the positions will easily prevail in a full vote with Democrats when the January session begins.
Rep. Williams hinted at his candidacy for the Senate majority position late last month with News 2.
House majority leaders are typically the main mover and shaper of a governor’s agenda, but Rep. Williams said lawmakers in the past have sometimes been left in the dark with what a governor wants to do.
“Sometimes the legislature finds out the direction we are going in the (governor’s) State of the State address and not before, so I think that if the next governor, in particular, is Republican, he will spend more time with the legislature,” Rep. Williams told News 2.
Democrat gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean said last week Republicans would likely be part of the commissioners he names to run state departments.
Whatever happens there won’t affect what Williams says he wants to do.
“I am willing to do what’s necessary to unify the team and make us a better group,” Williams added in his interview last month. “It’s very difficult to do with 74 plus members so I think I am uniquely gifted to do that, does not make you everyone’s best friend but it does help you garner their respect.”
Rep. Lamberth says he prefers to wait after the Nov. 6 general election to talk about his bid for House Majority Leader.