GOP senators eye run to replace Norris as majority leader; Shelby Republicans eye his Senate seat

If Sen. Mark Norris is confirmed as a U.S. District Judge, state Sen. Jack Johnson says he ill “seriously consider” seeking election by Republican colleagues as Senate Majority Leader. Sens. Jim Tracy and Bo Watson also left the door open to a run for Senate majority leader in interviews reported in a Tennessean/Commercial Appeal story.

Among the first lawmakers to express interest in the majority leader position is Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, who said Friday, “It’s something I will seriously consider.”

While noting that talk of Norris’ potential replacement could be premature, given that the West Tennessee Republican must still be approved by the U.S. Senate, Johnson said he will be discussing the leadership spot with Republican caucus colleagues.

… (O)ther potential lawmakers who could seek the leadership post include Sens. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville and Bo Watson, R-Hixson.

Tracy, who is currently the Senate Pro Tempore, said he hadn’t thought about seeking the majority leader position, adding, “You always keep the door open.”

While praising Norris’ work as majority leader, Tracy said he hasn’t talked to his colleagues about the potential opening yet.

…Watson said it was too premature to discuss potential replacements for Norris.

“You first have to see how the process with Senator Norris transpires,” he said, adding that there are very talented members of the GOP caucus.

Others who could be interested in become the next majority leader include Sens. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, and Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown; neither lawmaker responded to a request for comment.

Note: The article also lists some potential candidates for Norris’ state Senate seat, if he resigns to become a judge. They include Shelby County Commissioner Heidi Shafer, Shelby County GOP chairman Lee Mills, Shelby County Commissioner David Reaves, Republican Party activist Cary Vaughn, who runs a Christian ministry, Shelby Mayor Mark Luttrell and state Rep. Mark White.

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