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Tennessee Senate GOP 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.
John Partipilo
Tennessee Lookout
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, faces a vote of no confidence from the Senate Republican Caucus.

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.

This article was originally published by The Tennessee Lookout.

Adam Friedman is a reporter with the Tennessee Lookout. He has a particular love for data and using numbers to explain all kinds of topics. If you have a story idea, he'd love to hear it. Email him at or call him at 615-249-8509.
Sam Stockard is a veteran Tennessee reporter and editor with the Tennessee Lookout, having written for the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, where he served as lead editor when the paper won an award for being the state's best Sunday newspaper two years in a row. He has led the Capitol Hill bureau for The Daily Memphian. His awards include Best Single Editorial from the Tennessee Press Association.
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