Hargett, Lillard Get the GOP's Nod for Top State Posts 

The local celebration crossed partisan lines Monday when a pair of Republicans with Shelby County backgrounds were nominated by the state GOP legislative caucus for well-paid constitutional positions in state government.

Getting the nod from the Republicans of the state House and Senate were David Lillard for Tennessee treasurer and Tre Hargett for Secretary of State. Nomination for the third constitutional office, that of state comptroller, went to Justin Wilson of Nashville, who served as chief policy advisor to former governor Don Sundquist.

Given the fact that Republicans now outnumber Democrats by six votes in the joint legislative caucus that will vote to award the positions on Wednesday, Lillard, Hargett, and Wilson would appear to be shoo-ins for the jobs.

Earlier, Democratic caucus members from the House and Senate had voted to endorse the current holders of the three constitutional positions, Secretary of State Riley Darnell, Treasurer Dale Sims, and Comptroller John Morgan.

The immediate local reaction to the GOP nominations Monday was enthusiastic on both sides of the political aisle. Democrat Deidre Malone, who as chair of the Shelby County Commission was presiding over Monday’s regular meeting of the body, exulted out loud when GOP commissioner Mike Carpenter announced the news of the nominations.

Calling Lillard “a terrific commissioner,” Malone said, “To that point, as Democrats, we need to make some phone calls to help him get that post.” Vice chair Joyce Avery, a Republican, followed that by saying, “I’ll miss him terribly,” to which Malone responded, “I will, too.”

Hargett, too, has Shelby County roots. The former House minority leader and current chairman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority served several terms as a state representative from Bartlett.

All three constitutional offices pay the bearer an annual salary of $180,000.

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