Summerville wants out of GOP Caucus

Two days after voters overwhelmingly agreed to replace him in the state legislature, Sen. Jim Summerville is calling it quits as a Republican.

In an email sent Saturday morning, the one-term state senator from Dickson told GOP Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron he will finish out his term as an independent. 

August 9, 2014

Senator Bill Ketron, Chairman

Republican Caucus

5 Legislative Plaza

Nashville, Tennessee 37243

By certified mail

Dear Senator Ketron;

For the weeks remaining in my term, I shall be serving as an independent member of the Senate. Please accept my resignation from the Republican caucus, effective immediately.

I will not be attending any of the caucus's social, fundraising, or business events, which seem to me indistinguishable functions.

As the caucus's e-mail simply adds to the clutter in my box, kindly ask Ms Yearwood to delete my address.

Very truly yours,


Mr. Speaker Ramsey

Mr. Russell Humphreys

Legislative Administration

Senate members

Although Summerville is best known for his comment that he didn’t “give a rats ass what the Black Caucus thinks” about a report in 2012 regarding grade changes at Tennessee State University — which led to a demotion from chair of the Education Subcommittee — Summerville attended most caucus meetings last year.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s political action committee gave Summerville $6,000 for his reelection bid, which included cutting a $5,000 check in early July. The sum amounted to almost a third of Summerville’s fundraising this election cycle.

Summerville won the seat in 2010 in an upset by defeating longtime Democrat Doug Jackson. This year, he was one of 10 legislators to lose their seats in Thursday’s election. Kerry Roberts, who served in the Senate until he was drawn out of the upper chamber through redistricting, won the Republican nomination for Summerville's seat and will face Democrat Tony Gross in the general election. Other losses in the upper chamber include Sens. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and Ophelia Ford, D-Memphis.

Aug 11, 2014 10:30 AM

Summerville: 'Just tell the truth'

A bill that requires lottery advertisements include the text "Warning: You will probably lose money playing the lottery" has won approval by a special Senate lottery subcommittee. In pitching his bill, Sen. Jim Summerville, R-Dickson, quoted the Bible at some length. More on that from The CA.

Feb 26, 2014 5:06 PM

Instant Analysis: GOP state senator redistricted into oblivion

The Tennessee General Assembly has released the proposed new boundaries for state Senate districts in the upcoming redistricting debate. Forget punishing Democrats with tough seats: The biggest swing of them all is the total annihilation of Republican state Sen. Kerry Roberts.

Roberts, who represents the 18th District once held by GOP Congressman Diane Black, will be gone at the end of the year under this proposed plan. To paraphrase Monty Python, this seat is no more, not pining, it has passed on, it has ceased to be. This will be an ex-Senate district.

Under the new boundaries, Roberts gets lumped in with Republican state Sen. Jim Summerville. And here's the kicker: Summerville will not stand for re-election until 2014. That means at the end of this legislative session, Roberts would no longer be a state senator under this plan.

For other recent redistricting-related posts, click here.

Jan 4, 2012 1:09 PM

More Volunteers for Perry

Rick Perry gets some endorsements from some Tennessee lawmakers. The full release is here.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry today announced the endorsement of six Republican Tennessee lawmakers, including Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, State Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown, State Sen. Jim Summerville of Dickson, House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny of Tullahoma, State Rep. Don Miller of Morristown and State Rep. Mark White of Memphis.

Nov 7, 2011 11:48 AM