Though Knoxville attorney Terry Adams has announced as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Lamar Alexander, Democratic operatives continue “to search in vain for someone whose name and pocketbook carry more weight,” reports Steve Hale.
Two Democratic operatives in particular tell the Scene they’ve engaged in high-level discussions to that end, making the pitch to well-connected and/or deep-pocketed Democrats who might be able to upend the race, even at this late date.
Individuals targeted for potential candidacy fall into one of three categories, says a source involved in the effort. The first is made up of elected officials or other notables (read: music or movie stars) — people who have run and won, or have high name recognition for another reason (read: music or movie stars). The second includes the increasingly sought-after “self-funders.” That is, the kind of politically involved person who could write one check with the words “Senate Race” on the memo line and be done with it, or at least could jump-start a campaign by spotting themselves $1 million. (The benefits of this ability speak for themselves in an era when insiders say a U.S. Senate run will set you back more than $15 million.)
If all else fails, there’s Box No. 3, consisting of young up-and-comers who can afford to lose. This is where you find Terry Adams, whose future political ambitions would be well served by a respectable campaign run on a statewide stage.
Adams is seen as a promising candidate, but Democratic sources say his relative lack of statewide political relationships has meant that it’s taken longer to get into certain rooms. That and the possibility of a “dream candidate” stepping forward have made it somewhat more difficult for him to leave those rooms with big checks. And so, with an April 3 filing deadline looming, the effort continues.