In a virtually unprecedented action, U.S. Rep. John Tanner (D-8th) will endorse Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Bredesen of Nashville at Memphis' Rendezvous restaurant Saturday morning, the Flyer has learned.
An endorsement by a sitting Democratic congressman of one candidate among many in a Democratic primary -- especially when that primary has for all practical purposes not really begun -- is unusual, and it reflects the obvious desire among some state Democrats that the party unite behind a single gubernatorial candidate as soon as possible.
Besides Bredesen, a former Nashville mayor and the party's 1994 standard-bearer, there are three other Democrats in the field. They are: Knoxville District Attorney Randy Nichols; former state Education Commissioner and ex-Board of Regents chancellor Charles Smith; and former state senator Andy Womack of Murfreesboro.
The Republican field for governor includes 4th District U.S. Rep. Van Hilleary and former state representative Jim Henry of Kingston.