On the very eve of Thursdays filing deadline, one other prospect, plastic surgeon Phil Langsdon, the former chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party, decided Wednesday -- albeit reluctantly -- not to add his hat to the max.
Taylor, who conducted a two-day bus tour of the district last week, had been the first to announce. He was followed by the others in rapid succession. Kustoffs announcement said in part: "President Bush needs a congressman from the seventh district he can count on to support his efforts to fight terrorism, reduce the tax burden on working families, create jobs and improve the quality of public education.
As the Memphis lawyers release noted, Kustoff headed up the 2000 Bush campaign in Tennessee and is largely credited for the current presidents victory here -- one which propelled him into office.
Norris announcement said in part: "I believe my experience in state and local government, as a community volunteer, and the fact that my family and I actively farm in Shelby County, equips me to represent the people of the 7th District well. Congressman [Ed] Bryants successor must be able to represent our President and the people of Tennessee in a meaningful way. It would be my honor to do so.
Norris, a former Shelby County Commissioner, has been a member of the state Senate from outer Shelby County (and portions of Lauderdale, Tipton, and Fayette counties) since his election in 2000.
Langson, who chaired the local party during its years of greatest dominance in the late 90s, said in part: After a careful review of my support, fundraising commitments, and recent poll results it appears that I am well positioned to win the 7th District US House of Representative seat. However, because of my young family, my wife and I don1t believe this is the time for me to leave home to serve in elective office.
Each of the Shelby Countians must reckon with candidates from elsewhere in the newly configured 7th district, notably state Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Williamson County in Nashvilles environs.
At least one Shelby County Democrat, Drew Pritt, has said he will file to run for the seat which incumbent Bryant is vacating to run for the U.S. Senate. Pritt has worked in several local campaigns and recently was part of a winning effort in a lieutenant governors race in Illinois.
Itll be the most interesting political race of the season, says lawyer Richard Fields, and he may have something there. There are some bigtime races going on both locally and statewide, but the principals are, for the most part, conventional sorts.
Theres nothing conventional, though, about Fields, a prominent civil rights attorney for several decades, and theres certainly nothing conventional about his chosen quarry this year, State Senator John Ford.
Fields has other reasons for challenging the powerful state senator in District 29 than to generate interest, of course. He regards Ford as an embarrassment to Memphis and the state of Tennessee.
Says Fields, The thing that really did it was his vote on the Senate Finance committee against the tobacco tax a couple of weeks ago. That killed a bill that would have raised $160 million, strictly for education. How could you vote for tobacco and against education?"
Fields cites also Fords controversial role as a Day Care proprietor and as a figure in the industry scandals that brought about corrective legislation (legislation that faces various ex post facto perils and obstructions even now). He was just horrendous, he was right in the middle of it [the scandal], and in my estimation was the cause of it, Fields says.
There are other issues Fields intends to raise against Ford, including the way in which he believes the senator pulled strings and twisted arms to get himself appointed to the Public Building Authority, but one case hell make has to do with the simple fact of residence.
He doesnt live n the district, and he doesnt know whats going on in his district, Fields says. As far as we know, he lives in Collierville. Fields himself lives downtown, square in the middle of the 29th District. And he thinks his familiarity with the districts concerns, as well as his record of civil rights litigation, will stand him in good stead with the districts majority-black population.
The California native wont be the only opponent for Ford, who, like Fields, filed with the Election Commission on Wednesday (thereby gainsaying some recent musing out loud about retiring from the Senate). Another filee is-- Prince Mongo, the barefoot restaurateur who is generally regarded these days as an idea whose time has come and long gone.