Sen. Andy Berke caused an upper-level disturbance in District 10 when he announced that he will not seek re-election. At first the drop in barometric pressure was slight, since it appeared that Rep. Vince Dean would move in and thus push the volatility over to House District 30.
However, more recent data show Dean staying put, which quieted would-be candidates Larry Grohn and East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert. Dean will likely face a comparatively weak Democratic front from either Brock Bennington or Sandra Norris Smith, which means he’ll probably blow right through without too much upheaval.
But oh, there’s a storm brewing in the Senate race. On the GOP side, business developer Greg Vital, who was in before Dean was out, is looking like he’ll produce heavy, soaking rains (of campaign cash) while there may be plenty of bluster from rival Todd Gardenhire.
The super cell we’re really watching, though, is the Democratic primary, which got a boost in severity on Friday when Chattanooga City Councilman Andraé McGary announced his intent to run for the seat. With the new district lines, the Republicans are hoping for a change in wind direction, but tensions between the Democrats backing McGary and those backing David Testerman could cause major damage within the party, which will please the GOP regardless. A potential third Democrat, Quenston Coleman, has yet to return his qualifying petition.
In Nashville, the Senate District 20 vortex caused by retiring Sen. Joe Haynes has drawn a substantial pack of storm chasers. Scooter Clippard, Steve Dickerson, David Hall, and Rob Mortensen are among the Republicans; and James Baxter, Kevin Doherty, and Richard Exton are possible Democratic contenders.
Meanwhile, spotters reported that Hall’s son and daughter have pulled petitions in House District 50; or is that bull? Charles Williamson wants to be the nominee to take on Rep. Gary Moore.
In House District 60, former Metro Council member Rep. Jim Gotto is set to clash with current member Darren Jernigan.
We’re trying to establish communications with Lawrence and Giles Counties to see what the situation is on the ground there. A bungled party switch attempt blew Rep. Eddie Bass right out of the water, and it’s just not clear from here what is left in the wake of that rural storm system.
In Memphis, redistricting caused Mississippi floodwaters to pool heavily in Senate District 30, as Sens. Jim Kyle and Beverly Marrero are forced into a primary match.
So far, no watches or warnings are posted for House Districts 10, 40, 80, or 90; but keep your browser tuned right here as things could change rapidly in most of these areas over the next week or two.