Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell declared his candidacy for for the 8th Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher at a Republican dinner in Jackson Monday night, reports the Commercial Appeal.
Luttrell, 68…announced his intentions to run at the Madison County Republican Party’s Reagan Day dinner, held at Union University.
…”I’m a product of the 8th District. I was born in rural West Tennessee,” he said by phone shortly after the announcement. “My roots are pretty deep.”
Luttrell joins a crowded field jostling to replace Fincher, who has served three terms but announced on Feb. 1 that he would not seek a fourth.
Luttrell makes at least the eighth Republican in the race or interested in running, including Jackson businessman and political consultant Brad Greer; state Sen. Brian Kelsey; former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff; Shelby County Register of Deeds Tom Leatherwood; Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar; Memphis radiologist George Flinn; and Fayette County corrections officer Ken Atkins. Two Memphis-area Democrats have also expressed interest: Michael McCusker and David Vinciarelli.
Asked about the possibility that Shelby County’s vote could be split among a crowded field, Luttrell said his understanding of both rural and urban issues made him unique among candidates.
Note: See also The Jackson Sun’s report on the Madison County GOP gathering, where political operative Tommy Hopper got a “lifetime achievement” award, seven of the 8th District candidates spoke and they had a straw poll on the congressional primary. Results of the straw poll:
Brad Greer, 22.5 percent
State Sen. Brian Kelsey, 19.5 percent
David Kustoff, 15.5 percent
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, 11 percent
George Flinn, 9 percent
Shelby County Register of Deeds Tom Leatherwood, 6 percent
David Bault, 1.5 percent
Undecided, 15 percent