Tanner’s withdrawal from a reelection race leaves Tennessee’s once-dominant Democrats in an ever more precarious situation, with no immediate successor to carry the party standard in a conservative district that is thought now to be trending Republican.
Various Democrats have habored notions of running for Congress in the past, however — among them state Senator Roy Herron of Dresden, now a candidate for governor. Herron and other leading Democrats may shortly be re-assessing their plans, but they’ll be facing a situation of catch-up.
Andy Sere, spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, released this statement:
“Stephen Fincher’s impressive candidacy was already raising eyebrows from Frog Jump to Washington, and we’re confident he’ll have the privilege of representing Tennessee’s 8th District after he beats whichever sacrificial lamb Democrats offer up.
"Rather than face Fincher and make tortured excuses for his liberal party’s job-killing agenda, Rep. Tanner wisely threw in the towel. Ambitious Democrats now pondering a run should ask themselves: if a longtime incumbent who had gone unchallenged for two decades was terrified of losing next year, how could they possibly win over West and Middle Tennessee just as it’s fleeing Obama’s party in droves?”
UPDATE! State Senator Herron has in fact opted to switch his race from governor to Congress and forwarded this statement to supporters:
"Tonight, my longtime friend and Congressman, John Tanner, announced he will not seek re-election to Tennessee’s 8th District.
"Given the challenges facing this nation, this state, and this congressional district, I feel like I can help make a difference by serving in Congress. And so, I want to let you know immediately of my decision to run.
"You deserve a much fuller explanation of my decision than I can give at this late hour. I will be back in touch with you soon to share more. For now, I respectfully ask for your consideration, your support, and your prayers."