With the incumbent Republican county mayor declining to run for reelection and the two most-discussed GOP possibilities opting not to run, who will the Shelby County Republican Party turn to next?

Mayor Jim Rout has said no to a race. So, in the last few days, have District Attorney General Bill Gibbons and former city councilman John Bobango.

Undismayed, editor Cherrie Holden has included a hatful of names on the Shelby County Republican PartyÕs official website (www.shelbygop.org), listing no fewer than eight names and an open-ended whosoever-will choice for respondents to vote for in an interactive preference poll. The list is as follows:

city councilman Jack Sammons
State Senator Mark Norris
Shelby County commissioner Linda Rendtorff
County Trustee Bob Patterson
lawyer Duncan Ragsdale
County Commissioner Tommy Hart
County Commissioner Marilyn Loeffel
Memphis city councilman Brent Taylor
Another Republican.

It remains to be seen whether this group constitutes an embarrassment of riches or, should none of them step forward, just an embarrassment.

Holden has also included a poll on Republican candidates fornext yearÕs governorÕs race. Only two names are listed in this category, those of 4th District U.S. Representative Van Hilleary and former State Representative Jim Henry of Kingston.

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