The Republicans have chosen their leaders as a possible showdown nears on whether to knock Lt. Governor John Wilder from his long-held position. State Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville) is the new chairman of the State Senate Republican Caucus, beating out incumbent State Sen. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) in a secret ballot.
Also, State Sen. Ron Ramsey was re-elected Republican Leader in a unanimous public roll call vote. However, when Republican Senators were committing to support Ramsey against Lt. Gov. John Wilder (D-Somerville), State Sen. Mike Williams (R-Maynardville) abstained.
McNally had served as caucus chair since this past January, when the previous occupant of the job, State Sen. Jeff Miller (R-Cleveland), resigned his post during a very public divorce battle. This was Norris's second attempt for the job, as he first ran for the post two years ago. He was nominated today by State Sen. Diane Black (R-Gallatin).
A showdown is still in the making between Wilder and Ramsey, with Williams playing a pivotal role. Ramsey will challenge Wilder next year for the post of Lieutenant Governor, but needs Williams' vote to get over the hump and knock off the ever-resilient Wilder.
Getting that vote may be impossible for Ramsey, who has publically stated that Williams is a "patsy" and is "laughed at behind his back" for supporting Wilder.
In an interesting note, a public roll call vote was taken for Ramsey even though he had no opponent. Leadership races are usually done by secret ballot. The move, which was initiated by State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), was most likely made to pin Williams down on Ramsey.
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- COOKE, ETHEN LANYARD TRUSTEE; COOKE, ETHEN LEWIS ESTATE
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