Matheny abandons speaker challenge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- State Rep. Judd Matheny tells The Associated Press he is no longer considering a challenge to fellow Republican Beth Harwell for House speaker next year.

Matheny announced last month that he was looking into a bid for the top post in the 99-member House because he felt marginalized by other Republican leaders.

He said Thursday in an interview in his legislative office that he will instead seek another term in his current position as House speaker pro tempore. Besides speaker, it is the only post elected by the entire lower chamber of the General Assembly.

Matheny said he expects to have an increased role in the next legislative session and will work to improve coordination between the House and Senate and with Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's administration.

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