Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) was confirmed last week by the U.S. Senate as a new federal judge for West Tennessee. Said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who recommended Norris to the president, “He is respected by his peers around the country, having been elected chairman of the Council of State Governments, and has been an advocate and a champion for federalism and for the separation of powers.”
Norris is not expected to resign until after the November election, meaning a special election would be held to determine his replacement. Assuming that’s what Norris does, the governor will issue a writ of election setting primary elections within 55–60 days of the writ and the general election within 100–107 days. The Shelby County Commission could appoint an interim senator to serve until the successor is elected.
Possible replacements for the seat include former Shelby County Commissioners Heidi Shafer and David Reaves, state Rep. Kevin Vaughan (R-Collierville), and state Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis). Possible contenders for Norris’ Senate majority leader position are Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville).
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally said of Norris, “While we will all miss his keen mind, sound judgment and strong leadership in state government, we can take comfort in the fact our federal courts have gained an outstanding judge.” Norris has served in the state Legislature since 2001.
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