Skip to comments.Frist looking at governor run in 2010 (Tennessee)
Posted on 01/16/2007 8:33:47 PM PST by LdSentinal
Former Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is seriously considering a gubernatorial run in Tennessee in 2010, possibly setting up a White House bid further down the road.
Sources in Washington and Tennessee say Frist, who will turn 55 next month, is leaning heavily toward a run for the governors office, where he could gain executive experience that might position him to try for the presidency in either 2012 or 2016.
Its a done deal, said a source with knowledge of Frists plans.
Frist was considering a 2008 presidential run until late last year, when he announced he would not run, opening the door for a bid at the Volunteer States governors office.
Waiting three to eight years before making a gubernatorial or presidential bid would provide Frist needed distance from his unenviable tenure as Senate majority leader, a period that culminated in the Democrats takeover of Congress last November.
Such a significant layoff would also allow Frist to distance himself from allegations of conflict of interest involving his ownership of stock in Hospital Corporation of America, a company founded by his brother and father, allegations that could have further derailed his White House hopes this year.
Frist could not be reached and an official at his Volunteer PAC office in Nashville declined to comment.
Bob Davis, chairman of the Tennessee GOP and a friend of Frists, said that while the former senator has not told him he will run, there has been a lot of talk and encouragement for Frist to do so.
If he chooses to do something like that, hed have a lot of support, Davis said.
Davis said a number of Republicans in the state are being mentioned as possible candidates, including Beth Harwell, a state representative and former chairwoman of the state GOP who was considering a run for Frists Senate seat last year.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who recently ended Democratic state Sen. John Wilders 36-year hold on the seat, is also being mentioned as a possibility.
Bruce Oppenheimer, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University, said a number of Republicans have been positioning themselves to run for governor, including Reps. Zach Wamp and Marsha Blackburn, and possibly former Reps. Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary, both of whom lost to Sen. Bob Corker in the GOP primary for Frists seat.
I believe some of that field might clear if [Frist] decides to run, Davis said.
Oppenheimer said Frists vast resources could scare away much of the competition.
He raises the ante, Oppenheimer said. He makes the cost of getting in quite a bit higher. Thats the real difficulty other Republicans face.
Frists Volunteer PAC, or VOLPAC, had about $166,000 cash on hand according to post-election filings, but Tennessee state law would only allow for PAC contributions to a gubernatorial run totaling $15,000; $7,500 for both the primary and general elections.
Oppenheimer said raising money would not be an early concern for Frist, but maintaining relevance and overcoming other political liabilities could prove a challenge.
Frists approval ratings have been consistently lower than Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who is up for reelection in 2008, Oppenheimer said. But voters in Tennessee were less likely to pass a harsh judgment on Frists tenure as majority leader than national voters would.
I dont think the people in Tennessee have as critical an evaluation of the job he did as majority leader as they do in Washington, he said.
Oppenheimer cautioned that making political predictions this far out is risky.
But Davis said that while it is early, the time to raise money, raise a profile and really start running comes sooner that most people think.
Its really not four [years]; its really two, he said
I thought he was done with politics and wanted to get back in his passion which is medicine?
He better do one helluva job as TN governor if he thinks this career move will be a springboard into the 2012 race. His spineless role in the senate won't be soon forgotten.
I'd elect him president of ant hill observation. Nothing more.
I don't know that anybody could do a good job as Senate majority leader. It's a position that's doomed to failure. It's like herding cats in that place.
I disagree with most, Frist would be perfect as a guv .
Run, Bill, run! Especially if you want to try for Top Dog someday. Former Governors have a knack for being elected President, former Senators....not so much.
How dare you attack 'The Great Compromise,' LOL!
"Perfect" might be going a bit far.
lesser home based job he would excel at for starters.Tennessee builds cars in Symerna(sp ?)
and his medical background would build or invite international reaches.All credible and good and republican in the even a senator dies too.
Let's see, Bill Frist moves from majority leader of the Senate to Gov. of Tennasee. Maybe after that he can run for Mayor of Chatanooga.
Let's hope his spelling is better than yours. ;)
Bill, you are the one who is a "DONE deal." You had your chance and failed. The country needs you more for your medical skills than your presidential skills. Sorry.
I don't know about you, but I've got "Frist Fever." Catch it bro.
I think that Frist could do well as governor, but I also think that he'd be too willing to compromise on important issues. We need candidates that are willing to stand up to socialism, high taxes, government largess, and all the rest of the symptoms of this disease called liberalism.
Bredeson is term-limited and can't run in 2010.