Thursday, September 4, 2014

No Surprise: Flinn on the Ballot for District 30

Gets unanimous nod from GOP committee, but Colonel Billingsley demurs; Democrats to name candidate Monday night.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 10:30 PM

click to enlarge Flinn addressing SCRP committee members - JB
  • JB
  • Flinn addressing SCRP committee members


George Flinn, the well-known radiologist/broadcast magnate whose quest for public office seems eternal, even non-stop, got himself nominated Thursday night as the Republican candidate for state Senate District 30, the position vacated last week by newly inaugurated Chancellor Jim Kyle, a Democrat.

Flinn’s nomination was more or less by acclamation, since the Shelby GOP steering committee offered no other nominees.

But Flinn, who worried out loud that his nomination would be reported as “by default,” need not have been concerned about the absence of drama that would have meant. He had a would-be opponent in the committee’s Clark Tower meeting room Thursday night — and a highly vocal and persistent one at that.

After steering committee member John Niven had nominated Flinn and Justin Joy, the Shelby County Republican chairman, was about to call the nomination process over, Colonel Gene Billingsley, the party’s nominee for state House District 93, unexpectedly interjected, “Somebody nominate me!”



When no one responded, Billingsley, who has a well-deserved reputation in party circles as an eccentric and was at the meeting as a spectator, groused loudly, “What? A bunch of wimps?” Committee member Wayne West did point out, in an apparent effort to settle down the interloper, that Billingsley already had a place on the November ballot.

“I can be nominated for this, too!” Billingsley responded, still without takers.

Nor was that the end of it. More would be forthcoming from the Colonel, who kept up something of a running commentary, even as Flinn, clearly a consensus choice, was addressing committee members, pledging his usual earnest (and no doubt well-financed, also as usual) electioneering effort and calling for their support.

Ciolonel Billingsley, ready to pounce - JB
  • JB
  • Ciolonel Billingsley, ready to pounce
When Flinn — a former County Commissioner himself and a candidate for numerous offices, most recently for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate — pointed out that he had ample name recognition in the community at large. Billingsley footnoted the remark: “You’re on the radio!”

That was not to suggest that he had been converted by Flinn, however. As the physician/broadcaster was finishing up with his remarks, Billingsley had one more taunt. “I’m not going to vote for you!” he yelled out. He seemed all by himself with that sentiment, however. Flinn would receive a hearty round of applause when chairman Joy pronounced him the party’s nominee.

Colonel Billingsley won’t be the new GOP nominee’s only problem in November. District 30, which encompasses much of North Memphis, Frayser, and Raleigh, is heavily Democratic, despite a protestation to the contrary Thursday night from steering committee member Arnold Weiner.

The Shelby County Democratic executive committee will meet Monday night at the IBEW union hall on Madison to select their nominee. With the withdrawal from contention on Thursday by state Representative Antonio Parkinson, the two main contenders remain former Tennessee Regulatory Authority member Sara Kyle, the former senator’s wife, and ex-state Senator Beverly Marrero.

As was the case with the Republican committee, only those Democratic committee members whose area of representation is within any portion of Senate District 30 will be able to vote. 

 

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