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Bryant courts Lott despite Frist slam
Aug 19, 2005 12:00 am
August 17, 2005
POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Former Congressman Ed Bryant is seeking to fill Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's soon-to-be open U.S. Senate seat. Perhaps that is why it is so ironic Bryant will be the beneficiary next month of an appearance by Frist's newly minted chief political nemesis in Washington D.C., former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.
Passages from Lott's new book became public Monday where he accuses his successor, Frist, of betrayal when Lott lost the leadership of the Senate.
Lott was forced out of the majority leader's office after a national furor ensued over racially charged comments he made. Frist took his place, but only after what Lott maintains was a betrayal by Frist during the racial comments controversy.
Despite his attack on the Tennessee Republican Party's titular head, Lott will be the featured speaker and the draw at a Sept. 2 fund-raiser for Bryant in Memphis.
Bryant campaign spokesperson Sonny Scott said he was unaware of the Lott book's content about Frist, saying only the tie between Lott and Bryant dated back to Bryant's days as a House member.
"Obviously, Ed has nothing but the highest respect for Bill Frist," Scott said. "Senator Lott's decision to help elect Ed to the U.S. Senate is based on Ed's record as a member of Congress."
The U.S. Senate campaign of Democratic State Sen. Rosalind Kurita took yet another blow with the loss of campaign manager Kimberly Wood.
Wood, a veteran Democratic operative with statewide campaign experience, leaves on the heals of an abysmal second quarter fund-raising disclosure from Kurita that failed to reach six figures.
Wood said her decision to leave was "absolutely not" about the campaign's seemingly limited finances.
"I have decided it is in my best interest right now to move on to something else," Wood said Tuesday. "This decision was very pleasant and very friendly."
Other Tennessee Democrats close to the Kurita campaign say staff cuts have been made in recent weeks. Wood said she was initially brought on with the understanding she may not be there for the entire cycle.
"I came on to the campaign knowing I might not be there for the long haul," Wood said. "I came on as a fund-raising consultant, and now my job is done."
A call to Kurita's campaign headquarters was fielded by a staff member but not returned for comment.