Nashville’s Top House Democrat Calls It Quits

WPLN’s Blake Farmer contributed to this report.

Mike Turner (center) is flanked by fellow Democrats Joe Towns (left) and Craig Fitzhugh while telling reporters Thursday he won't run for reelection after 14 years in the state House of Representatives. (Photo: WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Mike Turner (center) is flanked by fellow Democrats Joe Towns (left) and Craig Fitzhugh while telling reporters Thursday he won’t run for reelection after 14 years in the state House of Representatives. (Photo: WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Nashville Democrat Mike Turner announced this morning he will retire from the state House after serving 14 years in office.

In a legislature increasingly dominated by Republicans, Turner said his job wasn’t as fun as it once was, and he wanted to get out before growing cynical.  But he says leaving comes with feelings of guilt:

“We’ve still got a fight on our hands up here, and I kinda feel like I’m leaving my guys here… I feel a little guilty I’m not gonna be in the trenches with them.”

Turner ran uncontested in 2012, but has recently butted heads with other leaders in his party—something he said didn’t play into his decision.

Turner expects several people to run for his seat, which he’s confident will stay in Democratic control.  He says a few people in his family may run for public office at some point, and he himself is interested in running for mayor in Nashville, but it’s too soon for details.

Though he has been one of the legislature’s most vocal Democrats, Turner drew praise in a statement Thursday from Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell, who said he always argues “from a place of genuine conviction.”

Turner’s district includes parts of Old Hickory, Madison and East Nashville.

Please keep your community civil. Comments will be moderated prior to posting, and Nashville Public Radio reserves the right to approve them at its discretion. Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published. Your comments may include external links, but all comments with links will be delayed as they are reviewed. Comments containing profanity will be rejected.