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Beavers may challenge Wilder
Nov 24, 2004 12:00 am
Democratic Lt. Governor John Wilder is going to have a Republican opponent when the Tennessee General Assembly goes into session next year, even if State Sen. Mae Beavers has to run herself.
And though all indications are that Senate Minority Leader Sen. Ron Ramsey will oppose Wilder for control of the newly Republican dominated State Senate, Beavers said she is willing to run simply to ensure Wilder is opposed by the GOP.
"If for some reason he (Ramsey) decided not to run, I would see to it that a Republican was on the ballot, even if it had to be me," Beavers told The Lebanon Democrat on Monday.
The issue of who would serve as lieutenant governor, the speaker of the State Senate, has been dominating state political circle in the aftermath of the Tennessee GOP winning control of the legislative body for the first time since Reconstruction.
Ramsey, who financially aided GOP candidates whose victories ultimately tipped the balance of power in the Senate, has maintained the 83-year-old mercurial Wilder should be replaced by a Republican.
Ramsey said Monday he does plan to challenge Wilder, though at least two other Republican state senators have said they would vote for Wilder out of loyalty.
He also put the onus of Republicans possibly not controlling a legislative body they hold a majority in on Sen. Curtis Person and other GOP senators who may vote for Wilder.
"I am running," Ramsey said Monday afternoon. "The ball is really in their court right now. Apparently, they don't understand the magnitude of what happened in November."
Beavers, a freshman senator elected from her state representative post in 2002, said she has not campaigned actively for the lieutenant governor post.
Oddly, it was Beavers' predecessor, former Sen. Bob Rochelle, who helped put together a coalition of Republicans and Democrats in the early 1990s to keep Wilder speaker after a defection of Democrats to the GOP.
Beavers said she does not have any real desire to be lieutenant governor, saying she simply wants her party to control key committee appointments and for the Senate to reflect the GOP's agenda.
"I would like to see things done fairly and for us to have control for a change," Beavers said. "I asked him (Ramsey) first if he would run. He said if he only had 12 votes he would still run."
Managing Editor Clint Brewer can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 13 or by e-mail at email@example.com.