Kurita vs. Barnes: A Serious Contest? 

Is state Senator Rosalind Kurita in trouble this election season or not? Opinions differ in Nashville, where Clarksville Democrat Kurita holds the office of Senate Speaker Pro Tem under Republican Speaker and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey of Blountville.

Ramsey got his position (and consequently Kurita got hers) in January 2007 when Kurita cast the surprise vote across party lines that deposed longtime Speaker John Wilder, a Somerville Democrat. That action resulted in Kurita's virtual ostracism from her fellow Democrats, notably from Jim Kyle of Memphis, the Senate Democratic leader whom many credit as the sponsor of Clarksville lawyer Tim Barnes' challenge to Kurita in this year's Democratic primary.

Not so, says Kyle, and even Kurita can't say so for sure. But she has to take seriously Barnes, a near winner against GOP state representative Curtis Johnson in 2006, No less an authority than gubernatorial candidate Kim McMillan, the former House majority leader who as a fellow resident of Clarksville knows them both (and who actively supported Barnes two years ago), compares the Kurita-Barnes race to another ongoing contest.

"It's very much like the situation between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. We've got two good candidates, whoever wins," McMillan opined.

As a likely sign of official GOP regard for Kurita, no Republican filed in Senate District 22, which was handily carried by George W. Bush in the last two presidential elections.

Kurita was a Democratic primary candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2006 before withdrawing.


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