FRIST: FRED'S RUN '70 PERCENT' CERTAIN
GOP campaign chief also strokes Bryant, Liddy Dole.
August 24, 2001 at 4:00AM
U.S. Senator Bill Frist, who acknowledges that his Tennessee Republican colleague, Senator Fred Thompson goes "up and down" on his willingness to pursue a reelection race in 2002, said in an interview Thursday that there is "a 70 percent probability" that Thompson will run next year.Frist was in Memphis as guest of honor at a fund-raiser at the downtown Plaza Club for U.S. Rep. Ed Bryant, who has senatorial ambitions that can be shelved in favor of a congressional reelection race. In apparent response to what many took to be a senatorial-race trial ballon floated by former Governor Lamar Alexander last week, Frist said, "In the event that Senator Thompson does not run for reelection, I have no doubt that Ed Bryant has far and away more support to succeed him than anyone else."Frist's presence, coupled with his interview statement, had to be regarded as a huge boost for Bryant, who expressed some annoyance last week with Alexander's collaboration with former Vice President Al Gore in a Nashville-based political seminar and said of an item in the Wall Street Journal on Alexander's potential Senate candidacy, "I wondered what he didn't happen as early as some reports indicated, " Frist said, "but for the last day or so, they've been going on in earnest."