Tag Archives: sara kyle

On George Flinn vs. Sara Kyle in Senate District 30

George Flinn, the Memphis multi-millionaire who has made two losing campaigns for U.S. House seats and one for the U.S. Senate, is now running for the state Senate District 30 seat against Democrart Sara Kyle. The Commercial Appeal’s Kyle Veazey poses to him the question, “Why do you keep running for office?”

“Because I see things that can be changed,” he said, hardly pausing. “And I want to be an agent of change, for the better,” he said. “It’s kind of what I do. I’m a healer.”

…Surely, George, you’ve heard the whispers. You’ve had friends, maybe family, pull you aside and wonder about this quest, right? “Sure, sure,” he said.

Has it ever crossed your mind?

He smiled, laughed and looked out the window.

“It’s a lot more fun to win than it is to lose,” he said. “But I just was not brought up to ever quit, quit trying. If it’s about me, if it was about me and ego, I would have stopped a long time ago.”

The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks these things at its website OpenSecrets.org, calculates Flinn’s 0-for-3 pursuit for Washington, D.C., as having cost $5.8 million, the large majority of which Flinn funded himself.

Flinn said he’s hitting District 30 voters hard with the idea that Memphis and Shelby County don’t get their fair share in Nashville. “I’m not asking for preferential (treatment) — I’m saying, equal,” he said. “Because right now, we’re not getting equal.”

To that end, he’s attempting to turn party loyalties on their head and use the Republican super-majority in the state Senate (26 to 7, as of this writing) to his advantage. Send him to Nashville, he says, and his ideas have a chance. Send Kyle, and hers don’t.
Kyle said she’s operating her campaign the only way she knows — stressing why she’s the best candidate for District 30, and not stressing why she’s a better candidate than Flinn.

“I do know Dr. Flinn, and he’s very nice, but I’m just not aware of the many endeavors he’s taken on,” Kyle said, asked if she was using Flinn’s ‘perennial candidate’ status against him. “I’ve got enough on my plate to talk about in my race.”

Such as? “Jobs, jobs, jobs,” is her message in District 30, she said. “And that entails working across the different levels of government.”

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.

Sara Kyle won’t run for governor

Memphis Democrat Sara Kyle announced Thursday that she won’t run for governor this year, after four months of exploring a potential candidacy, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Kyle, a former Tennessee Regulatory Authority commissioner, said last August she was considering challenging Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s re-election. But after weeks of silence on her deliberations and no movement toward a race, such as fundraising or setting up a campaign operation, Thursday’s announcement came as no surprise.

Her announcement leaves Democrats without a candidate so far to challenge Haslam’s election to a second term in November. In fact, three months before the April 3 deadline for filing qualifying petitions to become a candidate, the governor has no opponent yet in either the Republican or Democratic primaries.

“After much deliberation, I have decided not to run for governor in 2014,” Kyle said in a prepared statement. “I have been so blessed to receive support and encouragement from thousands of my fellow Tennesseans. I have traveled through many parts of the state, hearing about issues that truly concern our citizens, and I have spent many hours talking to members of my party about the viability of my candidacy, but at this time I do not believe that a campaign for governor is the best way for me to help my party and my state.”

Note: While Kyle isn’t running, Pam Strickland says Haslam’s questionable dealings should bring some Democrat out to challenge him.

The word is that no candidate is willing to take a chance against Haslam because they could never raise enough money. But money doesn’t always win. A strong grassroots campaign can make a difference against money that’s behind bad ethics and other wrong-headed ways. And there’s still the legislative session to get through, which is bound to bring more ammunition for a campaign against Haslam.

But time’s a-wasting. If someone is going to run a real race for governor they need to step up and make themselves known. There are plenty of everyday people who would volunteer to help make a change at the top in Tennessee.

Note 2: And here’s a comment emailed to media by TNDP Chairman Roy Herron:
“Sara Kyle’s family comes first and we understand and appreciate that. Tennesseans need a governor who will put our families first, clean up state government, fight for the middle class, and help our working families get health care like the governor and other politicians and prisoners do.”

The silence of Sara on running or not running

After declaring last summer that she was seriously considering a race for governor, Sara Kyle said she would be traveling the state on a listening tour to assess the prospects. A “run Sara run” effort was launched. Andy Sher reports that Kyle now has stepped out of the public eye and some think she’s not going to run.

Since mid-September, there’s been nary a public peep from Kyle, the one-time chairwoman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and member of a once-politically powerful family that includes a former governor, the late Frank Clement.

Democrats say they haven’t heard much either from Kyle over the past two months. Her husband, state Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, refers questions to his wife. Repeated efforts by the Times Free Press to contact Sara Kyle were unsuccessful.

With just under 11 months to go until Election Day 2014, some Democrats say it’s getting late for Kyle to mount a serious effort against Haslam, a multi-millionaire who commands a formidable fundraising machine.

“My sense is she probably should have started this a couple of months ago if she was going to get in it. And I don’t think it’s the right time considering her mother’s health,” Memphis-based political consultant Matt Kuhn, who helped create the Run Sara Run PAC last August and is the group’s treasurer, said in a voicemail message.

Kyle’s mother is in her 80s and battling pancreatic cancer. Kyle told reporters in September that was one of her considerations in deciding to run. But she also said she planned to meet with groups across the state to sound out support, including financing a campaign.
State Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron…demurred on her current status.

“I’ll have to let her speak,” he said.

…Dr. Bruce Oppenheimer, a Vanderbilt University political science professor, said it’s not too late for a candidate to step up, but the current lack of a declared candidate is a “symptom of the problem the Democratic Party has in the state, which is you don’t feel you have a very good chance” against an incumbent, he said.

Democrats maintain Haslam is vulnerable and have assailed him on his refusal so far to expand Medicaid to at least 160,000 Tennesseans under the Affordable Care Act as well as controversies over contracts with private vendors.

The elephant in the room has been the high-profile legal problems of the Haslam family’s company, Pilot Flying J, which is under federal investigation for fraud on fuel rebates to trucking companies. The privately held company is run by the governor’s brother, Jimmy Haslam. Just last week, Pilot settled an $85 million civil suit with trucking companies over the issue.

“It’s not like there’s not ammunition you can throw at him,” Oppenheimer said of Haslam. “You don’t know how tough the champ is until someone hits him a few times.

‘Run, Sara, Run’ PAC Pushes Kyle Candidacy

News release from ‘Run, Sara, Run’ PAC:
NASHVILLE, TN – Supporters of Sara Kyle have incorporated a new political action committee to raise funds and organize the groundwork for a possible gubernatorial campaign.

Sara has been the focus of a fervent draft movement over the course of the past month.  The new Run Sara Run Political Action Committee (PAC) shares the same theme as a Facebook page and website urging her to enter the race. (Note: The name is also reminiscent of “Run, Sarah, Run PAC” — set up to encourage a Sarah Palin bid for the presidency.)

Sara, a lifelong Democrat, is a former director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA).  After serving as a public defender she was elected to the Memphis City Court bench in 1991, a position she resigned in 1994 to become a candidate for the Public Service Commission.  The commission was subsequently replaced by the TRA, a body on which she served with distinction until resigning in March 2013.  Legislation passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2012 had reduced the Director’s role from full-time to part-time, greatly weakening its ability to effectively advocate for and protect the rights of Tennessee’s consumers and working families.
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