Frist Is Out, Who Is In?As pointed out by State Representative Stacey Campfield, and confirmed in The Tennessean, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has made it clear that he will not run for Governor in 2010:
“After significant reflection and conversations with loved ones, I have decided to remain a private citizen for the foreseeable future," Frist said in a statement. "I will, however, continue serving the people of Tennessee."
There are some who suspected that this might be the end result of the Frist saga for months, and it remains to be seen where this puts the Republican field. One has to believe that in the short term, Bill Frist's announcement will make Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam the frontrunner, only because the Haslams have more money than the late William Blount had land.
Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey is also indicating that he is "very interested" in running. I very much like Ron Ramsey, and will likely give him my personal support should he choose to make a run. However, I think Ramsey's odds are very long. He still doesn't have much name recognition in West Tennessee, and while I think he can be elected Governor-and I would love to see it-I am not so sure that he shouldn't wait out a couple of cycles and build up that recognition Statewide.
Democrats may believe that this gives them a leg up in 2010, but who do they have that can be a credible Statewide candidate? Tim McGraw, who still says that he will not run? Harold Ford Jr.'s star is slowly fading, and it is doubtful that he can win a Statewide race. We already know that former Democratic Party Chairman Bob Tuke cannot.
The 2010 election looks to be a very wild ride, indeed. Bill Frist is out, but there may be some very interesting candidates who decide to get in and stay in this already-begun campaign.
Labels: Tennessee politics