Does this mean the new Republican legislature will chart a somewhat more moderate course than many expected? Will the Tea Party exact its avowed revenge?
Nashville Republican Beth Harwell defeated the tea party-backed candidate, Glen Casada, to win her party’s nomination as the next speaker of the state House of Representatives Thursday.
The House Republican Caucus, a commanding 64 members strong after November’s elections, elected Harwell by secret ballot in a special meeting in downtown Nashville. The full House will formally elect the new speaker in January when the 107th General Assembly convenes.
Her victory was something of a surprise to many observers since it came in the face of opposition from tea party leaders and Second Amendment advocates, who have dominated the legislature since the GOP took control of both the House and Senate two years ago. They objected chiefly to her vote against the guns-in-bars law that was enacted in the last legislature.