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.”