By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Democratic state Rep. Eddie Bass may be considering a party switch before the candidate filing deadline in April, but Republicans don’t appear overly eager to have him
Bass told The Associated Press on Monday evening that he hasn’t made up his mind about which party to affiliate with in seeking a fourth term.
“We just have to wait and see how things go on qualifying day, I guess,” he said,
Republican House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga said he’s heard that Bass has been mulling a party switch for the last two or three years, but said he is satisfied with potential GOP candidates considering a bid in House District 65.
“I’d rather he’d stay where he is, to tell the truth,” McCormick said. “He’s not doing himself any favors running that gun bill.”
Bass is the House sponsor of a bill backed by the National Rifle Association that would guarantee workers the right to store their firearms in cars parked on company lots. The measure is opposed by business interests on the basis that it would interfere with their right to set rules for their own property.
House Republicans would prefer not to take up the bill in an election year.
“We need to wait until next year to really work on that bill to get it right,” McCormick said.
Bass, 54, is a retired Giles County sheriff. He won the House seat vacated by former House Judiciary Chairman Joe Fowlkes in 2006, and was unopposed in the general elections of 2008 and 2010.
There are currently 64 Republicans in the House, along with 34 Democrats and one independent.
Earlier this year, Bass was in danger of being drawn together with Republican Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, as part of the Legislature’s once-a-decade redistricting process.
But Hensley ultimately decided to run for the state Senate, and adjustments to the GOP plan mean Bass will no longer face another incumbent this fall.
Bass said his decision won’t hinge on potential opponents.
“I’m up here for my people, not for anybody in leadership of either party,” he said. “I’m not a good party person.”