Sara Kyle, Beverely Marrero seeking Jim Kyle’s Senate seat

Sara Kyle, former member of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and wife of state Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, and former state Sen. Beverly Marrero both want to replace Jim Kyle in the state Senate, reports Jackson Baker.

The Shelby County Democratic Executive committee will choose the party nominee for Senate District 30 since the current senator, Jim Kyle, is resigning to become a Shelby County Chancery Court judge. That nominee will then be on the ballot for the Senate District 30 seat in November, along with any nominee the Shelby County Republican Executive Committee chooses to pick. The seat is strongly Democratic.
In other words, no appointment, interim or otherwise, by the Shelby County Commision, and no special primary followed by a special general election. Another condition of the election process would reportedly require that any member of the state House now appearing on the November general election ballot would have to remove his or her name to become eligible for the Senate seat.

That provision would seem to give pause to two members of the state House from Shelby County who are known to be considering a try for the Senate seat. They are G.A. Hardaway, state representative for District 93, and Antonio “Two-Shay” Parkinson in District 98.

Parkinson is currently unopposed on the November ballot, but Hardaway has a Republican opponent, Colonel G. Billingsley, who in the event of Hardaway’s removal from the ballot, would win the seat by default unless Democrats organized a massive write-in campaign.

In any case, Sara Kyle has let friends know she’s in the race and won’t be persuaded out by the fact that Marrero has begun to pick up endorsements, including one from Deidre Malone, recently the Democratic standard-bearer for County Mayor.

Marrero is also sure of all-out support from 9th District congressman Steve Cohen, her longtime friend and political ally. A Marrero-Sara Kyle contest would, in effect, be a continuation by proxy of a blood feud that has existed for years between Jim Kyle and Cohen, who served uncomfortably in the state Senate together for years as fellow Democratic caucus members but whose relationship was always frosty and characterized by a sense of rivalry.

After his election to Congress in 2006, Cohen backed Marrero to oppose Jeff Sullivan, a Kyle aide, in the resultant 2007 special election. That contest, which resulted in a Marrero victory, was no-holds-barred and included a Cohen call to prosecute Sullivan for early-voting for himself in a precinct where he did not reside.

After the Republican-sponsored redistricting of 2011, Jim Kyle and Marrero found themselves in the same district as election opponents, rekindling the feud. Kyle won that one.