Roll Call, reporting on Congressman Stephen Fincher’s announced retirement from his 8th District seat in Tennessee, has a long list of possible Republican candidates to replace him. Five proclaimed their candidacy Monday (previous post HERE)
The Roll Call list, said to come from “Republican sources,” includes all five of those. It also throws into the speculation category other state legislators — beyond Sen. Brian Kelsey, who jumped in Monday — notably including Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.
Here’s the Roll Call rundown of potential candidates:
State Sen. Brian Kelsey has already said he will run and is expected to be a strong contender.
Another favorite would be state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, who sources say has a substantial following and has been behind conservative reforms within the state party. He’s also been mentioned as a 2018 gubernatorial candidate.
State Sen. Ed Jackson
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich
Shelby County GOP Chairman Mary Wagner, a lawyer in Memphis.
Republican National Committee General Counsel and committeeman John Ryder.
Former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff, who said on Monday he is running.
Scott Golden, Fincher’s district director and a member of the Tennessee GOP State Executive Committee.
Radiologist George Flinn, a perennial candidate and self-funder, who placed third in 2014’s Senate primary against Sen. Lamar Alexander.
Ron Kirkland, a doctor who lost to Fincher in the 2010 primary. He hails from Jackson, the other major GOP population center in the district, and has been an advocate for Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure TN plan to expand Medicaid.
Matthew Stowe, district attorney general for the 24th judicial district, who clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
State Rep. Bill Sanderson of Dyersburg
State Rep. Steve McManus
Among state legislators who may excite tea party supporters are state Sen. John Stevens and state Rep. Andy Holt.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell is expected to be able to raise money.
The primary race for the safe Republican seat will likely be crowded and with the filing deadline not until April 7, there’s plenty of time for more names to emerge. Many Republicans who had been eyeing this seat, one Republican source said, were banking on Fincher not making moves until 2018 and were caught off guard by his Monday announcement. “The question is, who can ramp up their operation at the drop of a hat?” the source said. So far, Norris and Kelsey are the two most widely-cited front runners.
Note: For a related read, see Politico’s report on the flood of retirements by Republican congressmen elected in 2010 — Fincher being the latest example.