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VOL. 123 | NO. 185 | Monday, September 22, 2008

Bredesen to Host Fundraiser for Kurita Replacement

By ERIK SCHELZIG | Associated Press Writer

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Phil Bredesen plans to headline a fundraiser for the Democratic nominee who replaced incumbent Sen. Rosalind Kurita on the ticket in Senate District 22.

A joint convention of Democratic leaders in Montgomery, Cheatham and Houston counties this week voted to select Clarksville attorney Tim Barnes as the nominee over Kurita.

Barnes' attorneys had earlier persuaded the state Democratic Party's executive committee to declare Kurita's 19-vote primary win invalid over heavy crossover voting by Republicans and because some voters were allegedly directed to cast their ballots in the wrong primary.

The suggested donation for the Sept. 29 fundraiser for Barnes is $500 per person.

Bredesen told reporters before the decision to select Barnes that he would not get involved in the race until it was certain who the Democratic nominee would be.

Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis and Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Haynes of Goodlettsville will join Bredesen as hosts, along with Secretary of State Riley Darnell, Comptroller John Morgan and Treasurer Dale Sims.

Kurita, 60, was first elected to the Senate in 1996. But she alienated many Democrats in 2007 when she cast a key vote in favor of Republican Sen. Ron Ramsey's successful bid to become Senate speaker.

Kurita has argued that her primary win was stolen and has begun raising money for a write-in campaign.

Tennessee voters aren't registered by party, and primaries are open to anyone who is affiliated with the party or declares an allegiance to that party. The executive committee didn't give a formal explanation for why it voted 33-11 to cancel the primary result.

There is no Republican running in the general election.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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