"Now is not the time for me to leave, said Tennessees senior U.S. Senator in Nashville Monday morning, ending months of speculation with a terse pro forma announcement that he intended to run again.
The statement included an almost wistful reference to a private life and another career.. But the senators reference to what is happening in our nation needed no elaboration, nor did his stated intention to get speculation about his intentions into the background.
The senator's announcement had been heralded in recent days by a number of hints that a tentative decision to leave the Senate had been reversed.
Toward the end of last week, those hints were becoming more and more prominent in the national media, and the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call
was openly writing about a definite change of mind based on two phenomena: the national crisis and the senator's reading of David McCullough
's current biography of John Adams
Left in the lurch for the second time (the first coming when Thompson decided early this year not to seek the governorships) were a number of prospective candidates for the senator's seat and for the 7th district congressional seat which the GOP's Ed Bryant
had made it clear he would vacate to make a race for an open Senate seat.
Among those ready to go for the Bryant seat were, among Republicans, Memphis attorney David Kustoff
, who ran the Bush campaign in Tennessee last year; Memphis city councilman Brent Taylor
; former Shelby County Republican chairman Phil Langsdon
, a facial plastic surgeon; and State Rep. Larry Scroggs
Various candidates had been discussed for the Senate, too, including, among Democrats, 9th district U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr.
and former National Transportation and Safety Board chief Jim Hall
, a native Chattanoogan.
The Thompson statement follows:
I am going to run for re-election. With what is happening in our nation, this is not the best time to be making a statement that has to do with politics, but, frankly, I'm not sure when the next good time will be. Also, questions concerning my intentions have become a significant diversion and it is time to get them into the background.
"I have given a lot of thought as to whether or not I wanted to run for re-election. I believe it's good for a person to have a career before politics, serve his country for a while and then go back into private life and another career. At least, that is what I have always had in mind for myself. But now is not the time for me to leave."