POLITICS: Weekend Drills

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Return of the Don: Don Sundquist was back on the reservation – literally. The former governor (1995-2003), who ran afoul of his Republican party-mates during his dedicated pursuit of a state income tax during his second term, was in Memphis Friday night at the Ridgeway Country Club and was warmly welcomed as one of the speakers in a well-attended tribute to retiring Shelby County Clerk Jayne Creson.

Sundquist, who retired with wife Martha to a home in Townsend in East Tennessee after leaving office, now serves as co-chairman, with former governor Angus King of Maine, of the federal Medicaid Commission, charged with making proposals for Medicaid reform.

Friday night’s affair, sponsored by the Shelby County Republican Women and organized by SCRW president Jeanette Watkins, also brought out another recent GOP luminary, former Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout, who served as emcee for the ceremony.

Attendance, which was generous and across the board politically, included both the previously declared Republican candidates for clerk in next year’s election – current Creson aide Debbie Stamson and Shelby County Commissioner Marilyn Loeffel.

On Saturday morning, Sundquist returned to East Tennessee and attended Saturday’s football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the South Carolina Gamecocks in Knoxville.,/p>

Hanging With Sidney: Former Teamster leader (and ex-state Senator) Sidney Chism, now a candidate for the Shelby County Commission seat being vacated by veteran Cleo Kirk was the host/beneficiary of a meet-the-candidate picnic at the park grounds on Horn Lake Road Saturday. Among those attending were Chism’s long-time political ally, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton and various other candidates and officials, including county clerk hopeful Janis Fullilove and sitting judges Arnold Goldin, Walter Evans, and Russell Sugarmon.

Serving as “deejay” for the affair was AM680 Air America radio talkshow host Leon Gray, who is currently under fire (See Flyer blog, “Let It Fly,” for entries) for on-air commentaries that some of his Democratic listeners regard as suspect. (The unapologetic Gray defended some of his controversial commentaries (q.v. , on blog) , saying, “’There is something called ‘the Christian Left.’”)

Ford Rallies: 9th District congressman Harold Ford was the beneficiary of a $75-a-head fundraiser Sunday afternoon at Felicia Suzette’s Restaurant downtown hosted by “a group of young professionals.”

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