Mr. Williams' unsurprising announcementThose of us who live in the 4th Senate District and follow local and State politics had a hunch that Mike Williams was going to run for re-election. Now, with the filing deadline for the August Primary coming today, we see that Williams has made it official:
For months, the former Republican has declared himself undecided on whether to
seek another term, and he waited until today, the filing deadline, to submit
petitions, according to the Associated Press.
Union County Election
Administrator Larry W. Roe says Williams filed as an independent candidate for
Senate District 4.
Elsewhere in the state, Randy Camp, a former
state personnel commissioner under Gov. Phil Bredesen, has
filed as a Democratic candidate for the state Senate seat being vacated by Sen.
John Wilder, former lieutenant governor. Among Republicans seeking that seat is
state Rep. Delores Gresham, R-Somerville.
The Democrats in the State Senate are desperate, largely because they know that Wilder's seat is an excellent opportunity for a Republican pickup, and Delores Gresham really is an outstanding candidate. Sources close to the situation tell The World that Camp is running as a "Wilder Democrat," which means that intends to win election to the Senate with the notion "Randy Camp: He's not really liberal."
Mike Williams may be running as an independent, but his re-election campaign will be backed (whether openly or under the table) by Governor Bredesen and the machine of those in the Senate Democratic Caucus who are allied with the Governor. It was Democrats who encouraged Williams to switch his affiliaton to "Independent" because he could not win a Republican primary (one internal GOP poll had him losing a primary to Mike Faulk by 19 percentage points), and because he would be beaten as a Democrat nearly as bad. Masking his alliance with the Democratic Party by labeling himself as independent is the only hope he had to win, and hope of winning re-election was the very reason Williams left the GOP in the first place.
Williams could be the Democrats' only hope of electing a Democrat as Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate in 2009, and Democratic money is Williams only shot against the well-supported and well-funded man who will beat the tar out of him on November 4th.