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Senate Republicans to hold a vote of no confidence in Lt. Gov. McNally today


Senate Republicans to hold a vote of no confidence in Lt. Gov. McNally today

Mar 20, 2023 | 12:03 pm ET
By Adam Friedman Sam Stockard
Senate Republicans to hold a vote of no confidence in Lt. Gov. McNally today
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, faces a vote of no confidence from the Senate Republican Caucus. (Photo: John Partipilo)

The Senate Republican Caucus will hold a vote of no confidence in Lt. Gov. Randy McNally Monday, nearly two weeks after revelations that he frequently commented on racy photos on young gay men’s Instagram sites. 

McNally, the Republican-appointed speaker of the Senate from Oak Ridge, has weathered the criticism of these comments by stating he makes them out of “encouragement” and that he “enjoys interacting with constituents and Tennesseans of all religions, backgrounds and orientations.”

His comments come as organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign call Tennessee one of the worst states for the LGBTQ community because of a series of laws passed by Republicans. 

Republican leaders in the House and Senate have been reluctant to criticize McNally, who has served in the Tennessee General Assembly since 1979. 

Several sources told the Tennessee Lookout that they expect McNally to survive the vote.

Some believe McNally, who has been canvassing the 27 caucus members, should be able to find out exactly how they feel about his future by taking a vote. They see the Senate Republican Caucus as split three ways between those who believe McNally should remain in his post, those who believe he should step down this session and others who believe he should say farewell at the end of the 2023 session this spring.

The race to replace McNally heated up over the weekend when the Tennessee Firearms Association endorsed Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, as the next lieutenant governor. 

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, and Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, are considered the most likely replacement for McNally, but neither appears to be publicly advocating for the job at this time.  

Those on the fringes of the Republican Party have been the loudest critics of McNally. The Tennessee Star, Tennessee Stands and Rep. Todd Warner, R-Chapel Hill, all called for him to step down, citing the Instagram comments and other health issues.

McNally had heart surgery in February to put in a pacemaker.

The Lookout reached out to McNally’s office for comment and had yet to receive a response at the time of publication.