Jane Hampton Bowen has withdrawn as a candidate for chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, the Chattanooga TFP reports, leaving the contest a two-man race that will be decided Jan. 26. “The race is now one between two strong Democrats,” Hampton Bowen, vice president and political liaison for the Chattanooga Area Labor Council, said in a statement. “My job now becomes one of support and input toward the reinvigoration of the Democratic Party in Tennessee.”
She said she’s looking forward to “continuing my quest for a more inclusive party, especially for working men and women, a party that stands for the rights and ideals of both urban and rural Tennesseans.”
Hampton Bowen did not endorse either of the two remaining candidates, Nashville lawyer Dave Garrison, currently party treasurer, and former state Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden.
Earlier this week Wade Munday, the party’s former communications chair, dropped out of the contest, announced he was running for treasurer and threw his support to Garrison. Ben Smith, a Nashville attorney, withdrew days earlier, throwing his support to Herron.
…Garrison has the backing of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, as well Democrats serving as mayors of Tennessee’s three biggest cities, A C Wharton, of Memphis; Madeline Rogero, of Knoxville; and Karl Dean, of Nashville.
— UPDATE: Steven Hale reports that Herron claims to have 42 of the Demoratic Executive Committee’s 72 members committed to him. He sent a list of the 42 — reproduced by Hale — in an email to members of the panel.
Note: Bowen’s statement on withdrawing is below.
Former state Sen. Roy Herron said Friday that he’s running for chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, joining a crowded field of candidates looking for the chance to steer the party onto more solid footing in the state, reports Michael Cass Herron, who did not seek re-election to the Senate in November, said he decided to jump into the chairmanship race after a family member’s health issue was resolved late last week. He said he didn’t think it was too late to win this election, which the state party’s 72 executive committee members will decide on Jan. 26.
“It’s clear no one has a majority,” he told The Tennessean. “If I thought the election was over, I wouldn’t be getting in the race.”
…He joins at least four other candidates for the state party’s chairmanship: Jane Hampton Bowen, the political liaison for a Chattanooga labor group; Dave Garrison, a Nashville lawyer and the party’s current treasurer; Wade Munday, a Nashville nonprofit executive who once served as the party’s spokesman, and Ben Smith, a Nashville lawyer who advised Jason Powell in his successful run for the state legislature this year.
State Rep. Sherry Jones, who considered running, told The Tennessean earlier Friday that she probably wouldn’t seek the position. Jones said she has “too much going on” and that she doesn’t think a woman can win the post right now.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A vocal faculty member at Tennessee State University who has opposed university leadership was taken away from a meeting in handcuffs on Monday and removed as the chair of the faculty senate.
Jane Davis, an English professor, was arrested by campus police on a charge of disorderly conduct, TSU spokesman Rick Delahaya told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/PAq0ex ).
Davis has been an outspoken critic of policies and decisions made by TSU interim President Portia Shields, who came to the university in early 2011 to make reforms for the school to gain a necessary full accreditation. Her contract expires at the end of the year.
Last week a suggestion was made to oust Davis and the Faculty Senate’s executive council and the university surveyed faculty members on the idea. In the online poll, 60 percent of those who responded said they wanted Davis removed and 59 percent said they wanted the executive council to go with her.
Davis said she wanted to speak in her defense about the survey and calls for her removal.
“Dr. Shields attempted to discuss the results of the Faculty Senate survey,” said Delahaya. “Dr. Davis then became extremely disruptive and would not allow the meeting to proceed.”
Davis said that she wanted to speak with Shields, who was at the meeting.
“This was my one chance to speak in front of her, but speech in front of her that she doesn’t agree with is disorderly conduct,” she said.
Following the arrest, the Faculty Senate voted to remove her as the chair. Davis said that the vote to remove her was illegitimate because the meeting had been called by university administration rather than the faculty senate.
“Nothing that happened there counts,” said Davis, who still considers herself the leader of the legislative body.
Davis said that the Faculty Senate was intimidated by Shields when they decided to vote her out.
“They see someone being put away in handcuffs. How will they not go along with it?” she said.
Delahaya said Shields did not suggest or endorse the removal of Shields and wanted the school’s entire faculty to be represented.
“She did want the faculty to have some type of voice,” he said.
Davis said she is being retaliated against by Shields for complaining that university administrators changed grades for some students. The university said it was correcting a mistake in grading.
“This is crystal-clear intimidation and retaliation,” Davis said.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jane Eskind of Nashville, the first woman to win a statewide election in Tennessee, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Civil Liberties Union on Dec. 8.
The ACLU said Eskind will be recognized for her nearly five decades of leadership in advancing the role of women in politics and changing the political landscape in Tennessee.
Eskind was elected to the Public Service Commission in 1980 in her landmark victory. In 1978, she was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, losing to Howard Baker Jr. in the general election. In 1986, she ran for governor, losing in the Democratic primary to Ned McWherter.