The Shelby County Mayor's race lost one contender Tuesday but stood, down the line a bit, to gain another,
State Senator Jim Kyle
opted out of the race, arranging for announcements of his withdrawal to be hand-delivered just before noon Tuesday to his three Democratic Party rivals, State Representative Carol Chumney
, Bartlett banker Harold Byrd
, and Shelby County Public Defender A C Wharton
In the statement, as in separate remarks to the Flyer
, Kyle cited the state's desperate fiscal situaton as a reason for his decision to leave the race. Kyle, a key member of the Senate Finance Committee, had hoped for a special session this week to resolve Tennessee's budget dilemma. It didn't happen, and that meant, Kyle realized, that he and the rest of the General Assembly would likely be tied up to Nashville from late winter through early summer next year-- a period during which he could neither effectively campaign nor, by the terms of state law, raise any money.
Another reason for his departure, Kyle acknowledged, was the recent entry of Wharton, "who has name recognition as good as my own."
Meanwhile, another senator, Collierville's Mark Norris
, was considering a race for mayor at some point Ð especially if lawyer John Bobango
ends up not running in the Republican primary. Norris, a former member of the county commission, is likely to see his senate district joined with that of long-term GOP colleague Curtis Person
during legislative reapportionment, which will be controlled by Democrats in Nashville.
In another development, Shelby County Election Commission chairman O.C. Pleasant
, a Democrat, acknowledged he was likely to run for the office of Shelby County clerk, opposing incumbent Republican Jayne Creson