Can Curcio counter curse of ‘last supper’ photo?

House Judiciary Chairman Michael Curcio of Dickson is a leading contender for the vacant No. 3 Republican leadership position in the chamber. But if he wins it would be against a trend of a house cleaning among erstwhile allies of former Speaker Glen Casada.

A photo of Casada’s lieutenants celebrating in a Nashville steakhouse after the Franklin Republican’s nomination as speaker last November has become a symbol of the hubris of the moment. Four of those pictured no longer hold their positions — most notably Casada himself, who became the first Tennessee House speaker in 126 years not to serve out his full term. Another, Rep. Matthew Hill of Jonesborough, came in third in the vote to succeed him (his brother and childhood friend, Reps. Timothy Hill and Micah Van Huss, are also pictured).

Former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren, whose text message exchanges with the speaker kicked the lid off the scandal that ultimately toppled Casada, is seated at the head of the table. Former aides Shawn Hatmaker (the reputed “hall monitor”) and Michael Lotfi (whose no-show job rankled members) are also pictured.

And on the bottom right sits Curcio, who supporters of Rep. Curtis Johnson’s rival bid for speaker believed was in his camp until they saw this photo after the election. Casada later named Curcio chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Curcio was a vocal supporter of the rule changes pushed through by the new speaker aimed at limiting dissent within the chamber.

Rep. Michael Curio (R-Dickson) checks his phone during a House Republican Caucus meeting in Nashville on July 24, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Curcio is a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss), Americans for Prosperity, and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington.

The other candidates for caucus chair are Reps. Jeremy Faison of Cosby,  Patsy Hazlewood of Signal Mountain, and Jerry Sexton of Bean Station. The caucus election is scheduled for Thursday.

6 Responses to Can Curcio counter curse of ‘last supper’ photo?

  • Benton Temple says:

    Curcio is going to win Thursday.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    I believe those pictured sold themselves out hoping for some lucrative collateral opportunities, even though they were likely aware of Glen & Company’s behavior Back row for all of them for a few years at best-we need real government that will limit its involvement in the everyday life of a Tennessean. Glen’s crew wanted to do things constantly to generate power and $$$$$$$.

  • Donna Locke says:

    There are several good reasons not to put Curcio in charge of anything.

  • Misty Pardner says:

    Playing for power is a dangerous game. Making moves in the waning days leading up to the caucus meeting can have lasting repercussions on ones political career. Anything Now Decides Yours.

  • Benton Temple says:

    This is just a calm before the storm reminder that Curcio will be the caucus chairman tomorrow.

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