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VOL. 36 | NO. 49 | Friday, December 07, 2012

House Democrats keep top leadership in place

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NASHVILLE (AP) — House Democrats and Senate Republicans voted Wednesday to keep their top leadership in place.

Democratic Rep. Mike Turner of Nashville overcame a challenge from Rep. Johnny Shaw of Bolivar to maintain his chairman seat, and Rep. Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley was re-elected as minority leader without opposition.

Shaw said before the vote that House Democrats need better leadership that will be more inclusive and "can work with the other side of the aisle, if it's good legislation."

After the vote, Shaw and Turner shook hands and agreed to work together.

"Johnny ... and I are friends and we'll continue to be friends," Turner said.

Also Wednesday, Senate Republicans voted unanimously for Sen. Ron Ramsey of Blountville to keep his Senate speaker position and for Sen. Mark Norris of Collierville to be re-elected as majority leader.

Last month, members of the House Republican caucus unanimously nominated Speaker Beth Harwell for another term in charge of the chamber, but ousted Rep. Judd Matheny from the No. 2 slot.

Matheny, R-Tullahoma, was defeated by Rep. Curtis Johnson of Clarksville.

Republicans added to their already substantial advantages in both the Senate and House this year, gaining supermajorities in both chambers.