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Beth Harwell to remain House Speaker
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NASHVILLE (AP) — House Speaker Beth Harwell decisively defeated a tea party challenge from Rep. Rick Womick on Wednesday to win the Republican nomination for another term in charge of the lower chamber of the Tennessee General Assembly.Harwell, a former college professor and state Republican Party chairwoman, beat Womick 57-15. The full chamber will formally elect the speaker in January, though that step is little more than a formality since Democrats hold just 26 of 99 seats.“We’re going to have some tough issues before us,” Harwell said. “But it’s my hope as your speaker that we’ll conduct ourselves in a civil demeanor, and allow us to come up with constructive solutions that bridge the diversity of this caucus, not fracture it.”As speaker, Harwell has worked to build a broad coalition in the House and has formed a close alliance with fellow Republican Gov.