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Bryant calls Ford 'Tennessee's Hillary Clinton'
Jul 08, 2005 12:00 am
July 8, 2005
Former Congressman and current U.S. Senate candidate Ed Bryant is already running against Rep. Harold Ford Jr.
Though he may be right now fighting for second place in the GOP Senate primary next year, Bryant is making Ford – the presumed Democratic primary front-runner – as much of a target as the rest of the GOP field.
Bryant's campaign team has already been talking up the legitimacy of the Ford bid to replace GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist in Tennessee's open U.S. Senate seat in 2006.
However, a new fund-raising letter by Bryant to prospective donors takes the fight to Ford, branding the young Memphis Congressman "Tennessee's Hillary Clinton."
The four-page letter, sent to donors in recent weeks, attempts to make the case that Bryant is the Republican who can beat Ford. Bryant even brings Ford's father into the fray. Bryant recounts what he says are his reasons for leaving the U.S. Attorneys office in the early 1990s.
"As I mentioned, President Bush (senior) appointed me as U.S. Attorney for West Tennessee but, ironically for this Senate race, I resigned when the Clinton Administration interfered with a bank fraud case I was bringing against then Congressman Harold Ford Sr.," Bryant's letter states.
Bryant's campaign team returned to trying to play Ford up as a threat to the GOP keeping Frist's seat when asked about the letter.
"In the end, Ed honestly believes that what you have with Harold Ford Jr. is a high-profile, well-funded Democrat to defeat. If we learned anything in 2002 it was that a Democrat is capable of winning statewide in Tennessee," Bryant advisor Sonny Scott said.
Oddly, there is no mention of former Congressman Van Hillary – who Bryant likely trails in name recognition – or former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker who Bryant certainly trails in fund raising.
Black v. Gordon?
Middle Tennessee Republicans are talking up the possibility new 18th District State Sen. Diane Black may run against longtime incumbent Democrat Congressman Bart Gordon in 2006.
Black ran one of the surprise races of 2004 and ousted then Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jo Ann Graves, one of the Senate's most powerful Democrats.
Now, area Republicans say Black is being courted by the Tennessee Republican Party as a candidate for Gordon, who has not had a serious challenger in almost a decade after beating then lawyer and now talk show host Steve Gill for the second time in 1996.
Black could present a challenge for Gordon as the heart of her district is in Sumner County which has tuned in to a solidly GOP territory with a strong suburban vote.
Black also would have GOP allies in the heart of Gordon's base in Rutherford County. Along with Black, new State Sen. Jim Tracy's win in Rutherford County gave the State Senate back to the GOP for the first time since Reconstruction.
Farmer's Poll Results
Lebanon mayoral candidate and former Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman William Farmer is playing it close to the vest when it comes to a recent poll he took of Lebanon voters.
However, Farmer insists the poll numbers demonstrated "I can be the next mayor."
Farmer also said the poll numbers were so good, in fact, it is helping his fund raising.
"My fund raising is going very, very well," Farmer said. "The poll is definitely helping."