Susan Lynn: I can see my house from my old district

Former Rep. Susan Lynn likely will not be running for her old House seat following the recent redistricting. Lynn posted on Facebook a detailed close-up of the new district boundary between Districts 46 and 57, illustrating that her home is now just on the other side of the border in the 46th.

In 2010, Lynn unsuccessfully ran for the GOP nomination to serve in the state Senate in District 17. She was defeated by incumbent Sen. Mae Beavers. A little history from the Nashville Scene:

Beavers intended to leave the Senate [that] year and was running for Wilson County mayor. That prompted the ambitious Lynn to start campaigning for Beavers’ seat. But then the senator’s anointed successor, furniture-store owner A.J. McCall, withdrew from the race, giving Lynn a clear shot. Suddenly, Beavers reversed course and decided to run for re-election after all rather than watch Lynn move up from the House. The stunned Lynn refused to back out, pitting the two of them in the Republican primary from hell.

The 57th House District, where Lynn served before running for Senate, is currently represented by Rep. Linda Elam. The 46th, where she now resides, is held by Rep. Mark Pody.

Congressional race roundup, District Eight

Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden announced last week that he is not running for re-election. Herron, a longtime state legislator who started a 2010 run for governor and then switched to the 8th Congressional District race, which he lost to U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, also said that he will not seek a rematch against Fincher.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has repeatedly announced that this district is one that they are “targeting,” although their more recent focus seems to be the Fourth. One reason might be the lack of a candidate in West Tennessee. The DCCC has apparently had its eye on Sen. Lowe Finney as another possibility, but Finney has so far indicated that he will not be answering the recruiting call. He chairs the upper legislative chamber’s Democratic caucus, which may play into his reluctance to run for Congress.

No other prominent Democrats are known to be looking at this race.

But lest Fincher feel too safe, he should note that he, like his fellow freshmen to the east, is statistically at his most vulnerable for a primary challenge this term. (Aside: will U.S. Rep. Diane Black also face a challenger? She may, but she’s probably not in any danger of losing her seat.)

One elected official wanting to see about changing offices is Memphis City Council member Kemp Conrad. By the way, U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad is retiring, and thus makes room for a similarly named Capitol Hill denizen—although the mailroom clerks may have a tough year or two regardless.

Jackson Baker also gives us some other names to ponder:

Others whose names have figured in speculation include former 8th District candidate and ex-Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn; former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff, who ran for Congress in the7th District in 2002; state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris; and state Senator Brian Kelsey.

Fincher has detractors on his left and on his right, although it’s not clear that he’s regularly seen as a centrist. Will he be able to hang on to the big middle from his right-of-center perch? At this early point in the race, all signs point to “Yes.”

Congressional race roundup, District Four

District 4

The biggest news from the significantly redesigned 4th District is that the man considered the chief architect and beneficiary of the new map, Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, apparently doesn’t think he can “cut the mustard” and take down U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais. Ketron announced that he will not run for the GOP nomination after all.

Earlier, Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville also put to rest any speculation that he, too, might have been looking at the seat. (One knowledgeable commentator has asserted that Tracy never really had his eye on it.)

So does that leave DesJarlais with a clear path to re-election? Not so fast, says state Sen. Eric Stewart, a Democrat whose campaign is receiving a bit of national attention.

This one will be a race to watch. Provided no other well-armed candidate gets in, there could be a close battle between DesJarlais and Stewart. The gut sense is that the Republican prevails, but if Stewart plays the right cards and does it well (and has help from outside the district), there’s a chance he could retake the district for his party.

Congressional race roundup, District Three

With redistricting all but finished (caveat: lawsuits could be filed) and the official start to the August primary election season just over a week away, it’s time to check-in on recent happenings around the state. Some congressional districts have been rather dormant, like those in the northeastern corner of the state, while others are heading for a tempestuous election year.

District 3

The 3rd District race got a shake-up this week when Scottie Mayfield, president of the eponymous Athens, Tenn. dairy company, announced that he is seriously considering (and, if you ask me, with an emphasis on “seriously”) jumping into the race as a Republican. I take an initial look at the potential impacts in my latest column.

Meanwhile, incumbent U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann showed the first signs of being a candidate for re-election this week by naming Tom Decosimo as campaign treasurer. (Fleischmann’s typical response to inquiries about the race to date, save a professed enjoyment of ice cream sandwiches, has been that he is focused on doing his job serving the people of the district.)

Weston Wamp has generally been quiet of late in the local news media, ever since he gave the Pulse interview. But he was the subject of a feature in venerable Beltway publication The Hill, so there’s that.

Democrats in Hamilton County (the largest in the district) got to meet the two candidates who are vying for the chance to take on the Republican nominee in November. Dr. Mary Headrick and Bill Taylor both focused on the idea that Congress is “broken” and needs to be restocked with individuals who would truly represent their districts.

L-R: Democratic candidates Rick Wilson, Mitzi Yates, Bill Taylor, Mary Headrick. Taylor and Headrick are running for Congress. Contributed photo.

With all this attention on Fleischmann, Wamp, and Mayfield, the other GOP candidates—Ron Bhalla and Jean Howard-Hill—are struggling to maintain their profiles.

And finally, a few fourth quarter fundraising numbers are out ahead of the reporting deadline. Here are the two leading GOP candidates’ cash-on-hand totals:

  1. Fleischmann: $617,323
  2. Wamp: $285,141

Though there is an obvious gap between the frontrunner and the challenger, the two men raised roughly equal amounts during the quarter. Much more information is available on these two campaign finance releases in Chris Carroll’s Times Free Press article.

The federal filing deadline for Year-End 2011 is January 31.

As a teaser for the 4th and 8th District roundups (on their way): the Third is shaping up to be the most interesting congressional race in the state by far. In 2010 we had competition with other open seats that changed party hands, but things will be somewhat quieter in those districts this time around. There could be surprises, though. Stay tuned.