McCormick wants another crack at being Tennessee's House Majority leader

Republican says he won't challenge Beth Harwell for speaker position

Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick laughs Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said Monday he's happy in his current role and will not challenge Republican Speaker Beth Harwell in the chamber's GOP Caucus.

"I have made the decision to go ahead and announce today that I will be running again to be your majority leader in the next General Assembly," McCormick stated in an email sent to the 73-member GOP Caucus. "I would appreciate your consideration as that time approaches."

McCormick noted his announcement comes "much earlier than past election cycles but it is important to clear the air so we can get on with the task at hand: defeating Democrats in November."

Harwell, who became speaker nearly six years ago, already has announced opposition from Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City.

McCormick said Republicans "have the opportunity not only to defend all our seats but to pick up several more" in the 99-member House.

While Republicans hold a "super majority," Democrats hold just 26 seats. Republicans are challenging several rural incumbent Democrats in hopes of making gains.

"We have both the right message, and because of proper preparation, the resources needed," McCormick said. "We can win big if we stick together and act decisively. I will do all I can to support everyone in our caucus."