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VOL. 124 | NO. 155 | Monday, August 10, 2009

Kyle Bid for Governor To Be Announced Tues.

By Andy Meek

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Memphis attorney and state Sen. Jim Kyle brushed off a question a little less than two months ago about when he’d announce his plan to run or to sit out the 2010 governor’s race.

The legislative session was drawing to a close, and he was too caught up in “the center of the storm,” as he put it, to talk about running for governor.

Any lingering speculation about his intention is expected to end Tuesday.

Kyle, the minority leader in the Senate and the point man for Gov. Phil Bredesen’s legislative agenda, is expected to announce he’s entering next year’s Democratic primary in the governor’s race. And the venue where he’s making his announcement – in front of the McWherter Library at the University of Memphis – may be a not-so-subtle dig at one of the heavyweights already in the race.

That would be Jackson businessman Mike McWherter, son of former Gov. Ned McWherter. Kyle’s announcement Tuesday is being billed as a rally from noon to 2 p.m.

Job change indeed

Among political observers, speculation about Kyle’s gubernatorial intentions arguably evaporated over the past week or so. A campaign Web site already has been put together, and its introductory page blares the words “Tested. Trusted. Governor.”

Kyle, a founding partner of the Memphis firm Domico & Kyle PLLC, used his Twitter feed back in April to tip his hat to speculation he’d get into the governor’s race.

“Daughter at first boy/girl dance,” tweeted Kyle, the 58-year-old Memphis Democrat. “If all this expensive, will need second job. Hmmm… been thinking about changing jobs.”

Other announced Democratic candidates include former state Rep. Kim McMillan of Clarksville, state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden and Nashville businessman Ward Cammack.

Republican candidates include Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Shelby County Dist. Attny. Gen. Bill Gibbons and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, representing the 3rd Congressional District.

When Kyle told The Daily News in May he’d announce the next chapter in his political life sometime after the legislative session ended, he noted the tendency of preparations for big races to creep earlier and earlier into the year.

“I was talking to Ned McWherter the other day, and he pointed out to me that he didn’t hire his campaign manager until December of the year before he ran,” Kyle said. “Well, this is May. This time next year, it’ll still just be May. So I know things start earlier and people want to get going, but I think I’ve got plenty of time.

“The only people I know who’ve already decided who they’re going to vote for governor are Kim McMillan and Mike McWherter and Roy Herron and those four guys for the Republicans.”

Gibbons, Ramsey and Haslam were together in Memphis a little more than a week ago to speak to the Memphis chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. at the East Memphis Grove Grill restaurant.

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