A longtime Tennessee lawmaker who had expressed interest in running for House speaker says he won't seek re-election

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A longtime Tennessee lawmaker who had expressed interest in running for House speaker says he won’t seek re-election.

Republican Rep. Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press he will withdraw from his House race Monday and will resign Oct. 1 to take a full-time job with Asa Engineering and Consulting in Nashville.

McCormick says he is helping the Chattanooga-based company expand its presence in Nashville, where it opened an office in January.

“My plan was to run for re-election and I believe the voters of the 26th District would return me to Nashville to continue representing them in the Tennessee General Assembly,” McCormick said. “Being able to assist Asa, a women-owned firm, expand its business in the broader Nashville/Davidson County market is a great opportunity.”

The 56-year-old real estate broker and developer had mulled a bid to replace House Speaker Beth Harwell, who is running for governor. Other Republicans interested in running for speaker include Majority Leader Glen Casada, Speaker Pro Tempore Curtis Johnson and Assistant Majority Leader David Hawk.

McCormick has held his seat for almost 14 years and served as majority leader from 2011 until 2016.

McCormick said the decision not to run again is not tied to the August 2017 purchase of a $487,000 home in Nashville by him and his wife, Kim McCormick. She is a top aide to Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora Tydings and spends a lot of time in Nashville.

The purchase stirred some questions over McCormick’s legal residency. State Election Coordinator Mark Goins concluded, however, that McCormick spent most of his time in Hamilton County outside of the legislative session, citing his ownership of a Big Ridge home, his recent federal income tax filing, local business and tax filings, personal licenses, purchase receipts and other documents.

McCormick said it was important to leave office on his own terms.

“I’ve seen too many hang around too long, that they went out involuntarily and I didn’t want that to happen to me,” McCormick said.


Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com