State Rep. Gerald McCormick, (R-Chattanooga) announced “he won’t seek re-election to the House District 26 seat he’s held for nearly 14 years and he will officially withdraw from the contest Monday. He also will resign from the House on Oct. 1 as he takes a full-time job working for a local firm expanding its presence in Nashville.”
The surprise announcement removes McCormick from consideration in the race to succeed Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), who is running for the Republican nomination for governor and is not seeking re-election to her seat in the Tennessee House. His departure leaves State Rep. Glenn Casada (R-Franklin) as the clear front runner to succeed Harwell, but also clears the way for a more conservative challenger to enter the Speaker’s race.
McCormick made the announcement in remarks to the Times Free Press.
“A professional position with Asa Engineering and Consulting, a Chattanooga-based company, requires me to relocate to Nashville to grow the firm’s new office,” the former House majority leader and current Finance Subcommittee chairman stated to the Times Free Press. “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. Being able to assist Asa, a women-owned firm, expand its business in the broader Nashville/Davidson County market is a great opportunity.”
The move has major ramifications for the District 26 contest. McCormick said his resignation opens a seven-day opportunity for Republicans who live in the district and have an interest in the seat to qualify for the Aug. 2 GOP primary ballot.
McCormick recently experienced some controversy over his residency status. But he says the move has nothing to do with his decision to withdraw.
McCormick, who previously served three terms in the House’s No. 2 leadership slot as majority leader, said the decision was in no way tied to the Aug. 4, 2017, purchase of a $487,032 home in Nashville by he and his wife, Kim McCormick, a top aide to Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora Tydings. Kim McCormick spends most of her time in the state capital.
The purchase recently triggered a controversy — McCormick blames Democrats for it — over his legal residency, although he still owns a home on Big Ridge. State Election Coordinator Mark Goins said that while a loan document listed the Nashville home as the McCormicks’ “principal residence,” the lawmaker’s continued ownership of the Big Ridge home, latest federal income tax filing, local business and tax filings, various McCormick licenses, purchase receipts, and other documents show he spent most of his time in Hamilton County outside of the annual legislative session.
“It did not have anything to do with that,” McCormick said. “That actually put me off for a few days because I didn’t want it to appear [so].”