State Representative Mark Maddox (D-Dresden) is announcing today that he will be running for the position of Democratic Majority Leader in the Tennessee House of Representatives. The position is currently held by State Representative Gary Odom of Nashville.
Maddox told NashvillePost.com that he understands Odom will challenge Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh (D-Tipton) in January to lead State House Democrats. When asked, Maddox said that he will be supporting Naifeh in that contest.
Democratic legislators contacted by NashvillePost.com affirmed that they, too, understand that Odom will challenge Naifeh.
Asked why he was throwing his hat in the ring for the majority leader's job, Maddox stated "Lack of communication has damaged our influence, and a lack of cooperation has prevented legislation from being as good as it could be."
Reached at his office in Tipton County and asked about the challenge to his speakership, Naifeh said, "That's the reason we have elections every two years, both in our districts and in the caucuses. It has been a privilege to serve the House and the people of Tennessee and I plan on running for Speaker again.
"Hopefully, I will have the support I have had in the past. I haven't campaigned for the job, but I will if Representative Odom chooses to run, which he has the right to do. I am a hard-working speaker and a hard-working campaigner, and I will continue to work hard for my district and the people of this state, I think my record speaks to this."
Skip Cauthorn, legislative assistant to Odom, said in response to NashvillePost.com questions about the matter, "We have been working very hard to pick up seats in the state house of representatives. We have had a lot of positive feedback over the last couple of years regarding our leadership performance."
Cauthorn added that Odom has not formally announced his plans for the next legislative session.