The decision by the state's senior senator, who had thought long and hard about not running before the tragic events of September 11th impelled him to reconsider, was apparently influenced to reverse that earlier judgment by the recent death of his daughter.
The news has already set off rampant speculation as to possible candidates to succeed Thompson. Among those known to have considered a race are, among Republicans: former Governor Lamar Alexander, 7th District U.S. Rep. Ed Bryant, and former state Republican chairman Chip Saltsman, now an employee of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Among Democrats, U.S. Rep. Harold Ford of Memphis has been reported as interested, and there are already efforts underway statewide to draft former Vice President Al Gore to run.
If either Ford or Bryant make the race, there will be a stampede of possible candidates to succeed them in Congress.
Among those who were known to be prepared to run for Bryant's 7th District seat are Memphis lawyer David Kustoff, city councilman Brent Taylor, and former local Republican chairman Phil Langsdon, all of the GOP.
Stay tuned for Flyer updates.