Thursday's primary elections led to shocking defeats of some top Republicans in the state house. At least five Republican incumbents lost their seats, and two more are hanging onto razor-thin margins.
State Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, had a smile on her face and was keeping her head held high Friday after suffering a big defeat to newcomer Courtney Rogers.
"I think we did a lot of good things while I was here, and while I was caucus chairman we got a lot done for the people of Tennessee," Maggart said.
House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, said the string of incumbent defeats Thursday is part of a trend in which an already pro-Republican state is becoming even more red.
"For years I could remember trying to get someone to run as a Republican knowing they were a sacrificial lamb. Those days are over," Harwell said. "If you want to serve in elected office, you're going to need to run as a Republican in this state."
There will be some changes in the makeup of the state legislature next year, and Maggart said she will continue to be involved in conservative politics.
She said, even Thursday at the polls, she saw the impact of the bills she passed on capital hill.
"Everyone who voted against me yesterday, they had to show their photo ID when they voted, and that was the bill that I got passed," Maggart said.
Republicans will need to elect a new House caucus chairman, which is the number three position in House leadership. The speaker will also need to appoint a new chairman of the education committee, which is a position that has a lot of say on which education bills move forward in the capitol.
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