Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jim Kyle for District Attorney General?

Posted By on Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 12:44 AM

:Jim Kyle
  • :Jim Kyle
Jim Kyle, the Democrats’ leader in the state Senate and a longtime Shelby County legislator, says he woke up Tuesday morning without any particular thought about running for another office but started getting phone calls urging him to consider a race for District Attorney General next year.


“I hadn’t thought about it at all, but I had to respect the people who were talking to me about it, and I am thinking about it seriously.”

Blogger Steve Steffens ( was the first person to float the idea in public, but Steffens said he was responding to some of the same people who had contacted Kyle about the idea. He, like them, thought it made perfect sense.

For one thing, it is the most open of secrets that the now dominant Republicans intend to re-district Kyle out of his Senate seat. And even if he should win in a freshly gerrymandered district and survive, he’d be mired in minority-party status for years to come in Nashville.

Meanwhile, Shelby County, like Davidson County (Nashville), is one of the few areas with enough of a Democratic core for a Democrat to make a serious race for a major position — like, say, District Attorney General.

Amy Weirich, a respected longtime deputy to former D.A.., now state Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons, and currently the D.A. herself, will be the Republican candidate, and Shelby County Democrats had been casting about for an opponent. Former judicial candidate Glen Wright, they thought, or maybe Carol Chumney, the onetime legislator and City Council member who ran for mayor twice (or actually thrice —two times for city mayor, once for county mayor)….

Neither of those balloons seemed to be flying, however. But Kyle? As Steffens said on his blog, “There are, at this point, only three people in Shelby County who have the name recognition,legal background and ability to raise money to beat Amy Weirich in the District Attorney General's race. A.C. Wharton is staying Mayor of Memphis, and Steve Cohen is quite happy being our Congressman. That leaves Senator Jim Kyle....”

Just last month Kyle was offering himself as a candidate for the new unified Shelby County School Board. Coordinated Republican opposition on the Shelby County Commission deprived him of that, but the senator had given a clear signal that he might be hankering for new opportunities.

Kyle will mull things over for a while yet. But he's clearly interested. He has enough fundraising contacts both locally and statewide and enough organizational experience to put together a major effort. And as far as the job itself goes: “You know, the thought struck me: I have personally written a lot of those laws I'd be enforcing!”

Stay tuned. Things could develop quickly here.

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