Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Official: Gibbons Bows Out of Governor's Race, Cites Cash Shortage

Posted By on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 11:01 AM

District Attorney General Bill Gibbons
  • District Attorney General Bill Gibbons
As expected, District Attorney General Bill Gibbons of Memphis announced Friday that he is withdrawing from the governor's race difficulties in fundraising. Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Nashville (one which he intends to repeat in Mermphis later Friday), Gibbons said, k"To the extent we failed, it was my failure."

(Here is the Flyer's Thursday night article, which may not have appeared on some computers, due to an internal glitch.)

Gibbons also released this prepared statement Friday:

Today, I am withdrawing from the race for governor for one reason and one reason only, and that is lack of sufficient campaign funds to go forward.

For over a year, we have had a specific campaign plan which called for a budget of $2.5 million — substantially less than what one other campaign will spend and at least slightly less than what two others will probably spend. Our initial goal was to have at least $1.0 million of that by the end of 2009. We fell significantly short of that goal. We then set a goal of having at least $1 million by April 1 of this year. It is obvious at this point that we will not achieve that. Our balance on hand has gone down rather than up since our last disclosure in early February. We have no reasonable prospect of paying for any media campaign, a necessity for success in this race.

I had hoped to achieve our financial needs by convincing enough people that this campaign was an opportunity to invest in a movement to tackle the big challenges our state faces of reducing our crime rate, improving our schools, and creating a better climate for more good paying jobs. Those are challenges that are especially critical to my home community of Memphis. My primary responsibility was to successfully convince enough people to make that investment. To the extent we failed, it was my failure.

Since State Senator Jim Kyle and I have both withdrawn from the race, we have no candidate from my own community of Memphis and Shelby County or who understands personally its unique needs and opportunities. We have crime driven by gang activity and drug trafficking which cries out for changes in our state sentencing laws. We have one of the largest urban school systems in the nation with the urgent need for reform. The University of Memphis is a unique urban research university which is being overlooked by state government and deserves its own independent governing board. And state government needs to end its neglect of the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences and The MED. I hope the other candidates of both parties will work to learn more about the community I love.

I thank the hundreds of people who did join me in this effort. Many are old friends. Others are new friends I made during the course of the campaign. I will be forever indebted to their support and friendship.

Although raising money has proved most difficult, an extremely heartening aspect of this experience has been the willingness of people across the state who care about its future to give their support and their time to my candidacy. They have reinforced my own faith in the political process.

I commend the campaign staff. I could not have asked for a more talented group of individuals. And I thank my family for their support and tolerance of the many hours I spent on the campaign trail. Frankly, one plus to ending the campaign is that I will be able to spend more time with my wife Julia who has been unable to participate because she is a federal judge.

I’m looking forward to continuing my service as district attorney in Shelby County, our state’s largest jurisdiction. I’m honored to serve with many dedicated public servants. I’ll go to work every day determined to make my community an even better place in which to live. And I will continue to push aggressively for needed changes at the state level in our criminal justice system.

A statewide campaign in Tennessee is not for the faint-hearted. It is both physically and emotionally demanding. I wish the other candidates of both parties well in the coming months. I urge them to focus on the real challenges our state faces and to be bold in proposing ways to meet those challenges.

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