POLITICS: Ed Gets Moving

Bryant eyes 2006 Senae Run, Sees Bredesen as Likely Foe

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When Republican Ed Bryant looks into a crystal ball, as he did last week for the Shelby County Young Republicans, the former 7th District congressman sees himself running for the US. Senate in 2006. And he sees “the current governor,” Democrat Phil Bredesen, doing the same thing.

Let’s examine that latter thought -- an original one with Bryant, so far as we know -- a little closer. “I have a theory that Bredesen runs nationally,” Bryant elaborated, in his remarks to the YRs last Tuesday night at the Fox & Hound on Poplar. Bryant suggested that 9th District congressman Harold Ford’s well-known Senatorial ambitions would come to naught, that the Democrats would nominate someone from the Nashville area instead, and that it would most likely be Bredesen.

If successful, Bredesen might become a running mate for New York Senator Hilllary Clinton, the Democrats’ most likely presidential candidate in 2008, Bryant said.

About his own Senatorial ambitions, Bryant, who unsuccessfully opposed Lamar Alexander in the Republican primary in 2002, was explicit.

“Those same problems that caused us to run in the first place, those same feelings, those same desires still there. I have a strong intention to run for the Senate. If I had to make a decision today I would definitely run for the SenateÉ.I’m going to make some noise and raise my hand and say that I too am available for that office.”

Bryant stressed that his race was dependent on current Senate majority leader Bill Frist’s following through on his pledge not to seek reelection in 2006.

For much of his talk, Bryant seemed preoccupied with the specter of Bredesen. “The governor is governing like Van Hilleary,” he said, referring to Bredesen’s Republican opponent in 2002, then the congressman from the state’s 4th District. “But he’s very partisan. He’s acting like a Democrat behind the scenes, working in a very partisan manner.”

Bryant said that when Bredesen imposed his across-the-board 9-percent cuts in state government financing earlier this year, “the silence was overwhelming” from Democratic legislators and lobbyists for teachers and state employees, but if Hilleary had done the same thing, “they would have stormed the governor’s mansion.”

Besides Bryant and Ford, Zach Wamp, the Republican congressman from the 3rd District has advertised his intentions of becoming a Senate candidate if Frist does not run for reelection.

Hillary to Skip S.C. Counting In Order to Make Nashville, Memphis StopsThrough a spokesperson, Gov. Bredesen indicated he had "no plan" to run for the Senate and intended to run for reelection as governor in 2006. Bryant had speculated that his congressional successor, 7th District Rep. Marsha Blackburn, might be a candidate in a gubernatorial race, especially if the seat is open. Blackburn is also considered another Senatorial possibility.

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