Rep. Byrd denies Lee asked him not to seek reelection

Posted at 10:41 AM, Jul 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-11 20:34:05-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct is denying he's been asked by Republican Gov. Bill Lee not to run for reelection next year.

Republican Rep. David Byrd texted The Associated Press on Wednesday that Lee had not called him seeking to persuade him from running for a fourth term in the GOP-dominated Statehouse.

Byrd, of Waynesboro, was responding to a claim reported media alleging that Lee recently called him and that Byrd hinted he would consider the governor's request.

In response, Gov. Lee told NewsChannel 5 he would not comment on their personal conversation. However, he clarified, saying if he were in Byrd's position, he would not seek re-election.

Byrd has been accused by three women of sexual misconduct decades ago when he was a high school teacher and coach but never charged. He hasn't outright denied the allegations but has said he's sorry if he hurt or emotionally upset any of his students.

Lawmakers have discussed possibly trying to oust Byrd during an upcoming special legislative session in August.