Senator Mae Beavers was ousted from her role as Republican Senate Caucus Treasurer today in leadership elections. The other Senate GOP caucus elections kept leaders in their roles, including Ron Ramsey, who will be the GOP’s nominee for lieutenant governor and Mark Norris as majority leader.
The new treasurer will be Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin.
The caucus treasurer plays a key role, particularly in election years. That person has check-writing authority and can send campaign cash to key members fighting to keep their seats or snatch away Democratic ones.
Indeed, the Senate Republican Caucus was the number one campaign donor in the state in 2012, doling out at least $338,444 in key Senate races, according to FollowtheMoney.org. The largest recipient of that largess — $109,123 in all — was Mark Green from Clarksville who bested Democratic incumbent Tim Barnes in the State Senate District 22 race.
The Senate vote, in some ways, mirrors last month’s House Republican leadership vote. The only contested race in that race was for the Speaker Pro Tem, the House’s number two spot. Rep. Judd Matheny lost that race to Rep. Curtis Johnson.
Those losses may pull the curtain back a bit on what has appeared have been a united Republican Party since the GOP won supermajorities in both Houses. Both Beavers and Matheny endorsed Lou Ann Zelenik over incumbent US Rep. Diane Black in the 6th Congressional District race. Black has many friends in the General Assembly, where she served in the House from 1998 to 2005 and in the Senate from 2005 until her Congressional win in 2010.
Both Beavers and Matheny, too, defied their party’s leadership. Beavers was the only Republican still in the Senate who voted against the GOP-led redistricting map. Matheny considered challenging Beth Harwell for House Speaker because he said some conservative causes and issues seemed to be getting back-burnered by the House leadership.
Trent Seibert can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter at @trentseibert or at 615-669-9501.