Tullahoma Rep. Matheny mulling bid for House speaker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Republican state Rep. Judd Matheny of Tullahoma tells The Associated Press he's polling colleagues about a possible challenge of House Speaker Beth Harwell for the chamber's top leadership post next year.

Matheny holds the title of House speaker pro tempore, the only position besides speaker elected by the entire chamber.

But he complains of being marginalized by other Republican leaders, whom he charges with diluting his key legislative initiatives ranging from loosening gun laws to battling what he perceives as the domestic spread of Islamic law.

Matheny said he holds no personal grudge against Harwell, whom he supported in a hard-fought speaker's race in 2010. But he said he wants the Legislature to exert more power within state government and to pursue what he called "our true constitutional principles."

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