NASHVILLE -- State Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, says he intends to run next year for the House's No. 1 post if Republicans keep their majority in November elections.
"If we are still in the majority after Election Day, I plan on running for the Republican Caucus nomination for speaker of the House," the Chattanooga businessman told GOP colleagues in a letter.
Rep. McCormick, now the assistant Republican leader, said the GOP's "first priority" in 2010 elections must be to "pick up some seats in order to increase our majority in November."
He added, "I plan to work hard this summer and fall to raise and distribute money to help our candidates across the state as well as contributing to the Caucus Campaign Committee.
"I understand what kind of leadership we must have moving forward as a governing caucus," he said. "We need to stick to our common-sense conservative principles and show the people that we deserve to govern."
Tennessee Republicans, he said, "cannot lose touch like the D.C. Republicans did after winning the majority."
House Republicans won a 50-49 majority over Democrats in 2008 elections. But total control eluded them when Rep. Kent Williams, R-Elizabethton, joined with the Democrats to elect himself speaker over Republican Majority Leader Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol.
Rep. Williams split leadership and membership of most committees equally among the two parties. But the state GOP cast him out of the party and Republicans later won a special election, putting their majority at 50-48 with Rep. Williams as the chamber's lone independent.
Rep. Williams hopes to maintain the speakership, if margins remain close, while Democrats hope to retake their majority. Former Democratic speaker Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, says he intends to be a candidate if his party comes back.
Mr. Mumpower is not seeking re-election, and House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada has said he intends to run. Others mentioned as possible GOP candidates include Rep. Beth Harwell, R-Nashville.
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