Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said state Representative Jeremy Durham had an affair with another lawmaker, causing her to resign.
Ramsey made the comments to reporters after a legislative preview session hosted by The Associated Press and the Tennessee Press Association on Thursday.
Republican Representative Leigh Wilburn of Somerville resigned just one year into her first term in December due to unspecified "unforeseen circumstances." She hadn't spoken to reporters about her decision to step down, and a relative said she has since changed her phone numbers.
Durham did not immediately respond to text or email messages seeking comment. An automated email response said the Franklin Republican would be away "for a couple of weeks for personal reasons."
Ramsey called on the House to expel Durham if he refuses to resign.
In a statement released Thursday, Durham's assistant said, "[Durham] categorically denies having any physical relationship with former representatives Harrison or Wilburn."
Also Thursday, Speaker Beth Harwell released the following statement:
“Today, I have asked the Attorney General to commence an independent investigation into the facts surrounding Representative Jeremy Durham’s ongoing situation. Additionally, I have asked them to issue a report with their findings. If and when an expulsion resolution comes before the House of Representatives, the report could be part of that process.”