Pickler Takes Himself Out of State Senate District 31 Race

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David Pickler, the financial services adviser and longtime chairman of the Shelby County School Board, has decided against making a race for the District 31 state Senate seat recently vacated by the scandal-plagued Paul Stanley.

“I just decided I didn’t have the right degree of passion," said Pickler by telephone from California, where he was traveling. “I’ve decided to recommit myself to another term on the board. There’s a lot of work yet to be done.”

Pickler’s departure from the race leaves an apparent field of two in the Republican primary — state Representative Brian Kelsey, the brash Germantown conservative who is already campaigning vigorously for the position, with prominent signs on Germantown Parkway; and state Representative Steve McManus, who has not yet launched a campaign effort as such but acknowledges he is under pressure to run and has met with prospective campaign personnel. "But I'm on good committees in the House; so that's a factor, too," he said, promising a decision within the week.

Given the preponderance of Republican sentiment in the district in past elections, the winner of the GOP primary is almost certain to be the ultimate victor.

Given that reality, either Kelsey or McManus would be likely to resign from the House of Representatives upon winning the primary. That would hasten the way for an early special election in the vacated House district — something Republicans would push for so as to have a new GOP representative in place for as much of the 2010 legislative session as possible.

The Democratic-controlled Shelby County Commission would probably be inclined to appoint a Democrat in the vacated district to begin the session.

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