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State Senator Jumps Into Race to Replace Tanner

Updated: 11:05 a.m.

Just hours after Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) announced his plans to retire at the end of his term, Tennessee state Sen. Roy Herron (D) announced late Tuesday night that he was ending his 2010 gubernatorial bid in favor of a Congressional campaign.

“Given the challenges facing this nation, this state, and this Congressional district, I feel like I can help make a difference by serving in Congress,— Herron said in a statement to supporters. “Instead of campaigning in 95 counties, I’ll be focused on the counties in the 8th Congressional District.—

In a formal announcement statement Wednesday morning, Herron saluted Tanner’s service and talked about his roots in the west Tennessee district.

“My family’s lived in Tennessee since 1819,— he said. “This has always been my home, and it always will be. During 23 years I have represented people from 11 West and Middle Tennessee counties in the General Assembly. I’ve worked hard for my neighbors and fellow Tennesseans. In 23 years, I’ve missed only one legislative session — the day our youngest son was being born. I have held more than 1,000 listening meetings with those I represent. I believe I understand their needs and can represent their values.—

Herron, a longtime friend of Tanner’s, may not have the primary field to himself next year. Other potential candidates being mentioned in Democratic circles Wednesday morning were state Rep. Judy Barker, former state Rep. Phillip Pinion and state Sen. Lowe Finney. But in a sign of his potential strength in the Democratic field, Herron has already drawn fire from national Republicans, who earlier this year recruited farmer and gospel singer Stephen Fincher to try to flip the 8th district.

“Lawyer-politician-professor Roy Herron’s 23-year Nashville record is a veritable smorgasbord of Obama-style liberalism,— National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andy Sere said in a statement Wednesday. “With his gubernatorial bid circling the drain, he’s embarked on a quixotic quest to take his job-killing agenda national. Christmas has come early for Stephen Fincher.—

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