HARWELL ENTERS 2006 SENATE RACE

HARWELL ENTERS 2006 SENATE RACE

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State Representative Beth Halteman Harwell of Nashville, who just stepped down as state Republican chairman, has thrown her hat into the race for Majority Leader Bill Frist's U.S. Senate seat in 2006.

The Republican race for the seat, which Frist will vacate to prepare for a likely 2008 presidential run, now numbers three definite contenders. Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker is already in, and former 7th District U.S. Rep. Ed Bryant is certain to follow.

Harwell revealed her intentions during and after a trip to Memphis on Monday, where she was guest of honor at the Christmas party of the Shelby County Republican Club. Simultaneous with her visit, Bob Davis of Nashville was being installed as her successor in the GOP chairmanship. That allowed her to make it definite, she confirmed Tuesday: “I absolutely intend to be a candidate for the Senate seat.”

Harwell said that sometime after the turn of the year she would be forming an exploratory committee.

On the Democratic side, 9th District U.S. Rep. Harold Ford of Memphis has said he will be a candidate, and it is possible, though not likely, that Nashville mayor Bill Purcell will join Ford in the primary.

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