As 3rd District congressman Wamp had done before him, Ramsey toured the facilities of the Criminal Justice Center in the company of Gibbons and Sheriff Mark Luttrell (“it was a real eye-opener,” Ramsey said of the experience), then sat down to talk a little turkey with Gibbons, who had been a GOP candidate for governor himself before dropping his campaign in March.
Wamp had made no secret of his desire to earn Gibbons’ endorsement for his own campaign. Nor did Ramsey on Tuesday. “We talked about the subject,” he conceded. “Bill and I have been friends for a dozen years.” The Shelby D.A. had made it fairly obvious, said Ramsey, that he intended, at least for the time being, to keep a distance from active involvement in other people’s campaigns.
A third Republican candidate, Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam, has also made frequent visits to Shelby County, though he has not yet scheduled a set-piece meeting with ex-rival Gibbons.
Meanwhile, Gibbons wasn’t the only recipient of a courtesy call from Ramsey on Tuesday. The lieutenant governor and state Senate Speaker from Blountville also made the sounds of suburban mayors in east Shelby County, talking with mayors Stan Joyner of Collierville, Sharon Goldsworthy of Germantown, and Keith McDonald of Bartlett.
“I’m obviously running for governor, and Shelby County is going to be very important in the election,” Ramsey said frankly. “One of seven people in the state live in Shelby County.”