- Associated Press - Monday, March 21, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Leading Senate Republicans are discussing plans to make Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge the new lieutenant governor of Tennessee.

McNally, who chairs the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee, would replace Ron Ramsey, who is both the current lieutenant governor and Senate speaker. Ramsey, a Republican from Blountville, announced last week that he would not seek re-election.

The Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/1RwaOx9 ) is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris told reporters that he pitched the idea of McNally taking the position after Ramsey. McNally, a 72-year-old Republican from Oak Ridge, would likely take over on an interim basis and only after Ramsey leaves.

“I think everybody respects Randy and understands why he wants to serve in a transition role,” Norris said. “Sen. McNally has a storied career reputation here, he’s the dean of our Senate in terms of time served, and steady at the helm.”

Norris, R-Collierville, said he is interested in possibly running for governor in 2018 and for that reason has all but ruled out replacing Ramsey himself.

McNally, who is a pharmacist, has been in the statehouse for more than 30 years.

During his first news conference after announcing retirement, Ramsey told reporters that he did not want to see a “bloodbath” in the race to replace him as Senate speaker. Ramsey said he recommended McNally to other Republicans and touted the Oak Ridge lawmaker’s many years of service.

Ramsey will still be a member of the Senate until the fall election. He will remain speaker and lieutenant governor until the Senate choses new leadership.

Norris told reporters that lawmakers envision McNally taking over for either two years or four years.


Information from: The Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com

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