Nashville, Tennessee – 7th District Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Ed Bryant earlier today vowed to remain in the race to succeed Senator Fred Thompson and lambasted media reports speculating that efforts could be underway in Washington to shove him out of the election.
“During the past 24 hours, there have been several reports out of Washington suggesting that a movement may be underway to have me reconsider my candidacy for this race. I have talked with and heard from numerous Tennesseans in recent days who are strongly encouraging me to run for the Senate and pledging me their financial and political support. I must say that I value their opinions and views much more than those held by Washington’s media and political establishment. If my candidacy comes down to choosing between who believes what is best for the future of Tennessee — Washington political operatives and pundits or the good people of Tennessee — I’ll choose Tennesseans every time. I’m in this race to stay,” declared an emphatic Bryant. He also added that “Senator Bill Frist has continued to assure me of his neutrality in this race, and I certainly appreciate that.”
“It is crucial for the voters of this great state to remember that this election belongs to them, and not Washington politicos. Our government is based upon the fundamental premise that it is the collective will of all voters that decides who their leaders should be. I believe Tennessee long ago surpassed the notion of political coronations and ‘kingmaker’ politics. The outcome of this election should not and must not be based upon the desires of Washington insiders and a few big-money political elitists,” stated Bryant.
Although former Governor Lamar Alexander has high name recognition across the state and the Alexander campaign has been promoting the former Governor’s viability with a recent poll, “none of that should come as a surprise at all to any
sensible follower of Tennessee politics — he has been a fixture of Republican Party politics spanning portions of four decades,” observed Bryant campaign manager Justin Hunter.
Earlier this week, various media sources reported the viability of the former Governor’s candidacy vis-à-vis an internal poll taken by the Alexander campaign. Hunter countered that the Bryant campaign “has some numbers of our own, and those numbers clearly indicate that there is a sizeable percentage of undecided voters out there. The Alexander campaign may have raw numbers on its side four months from election day and two weeks after Senator Thompson’s decision, but the fact is, a sizable portion of Tennessee Republican voters are not at all firm as to who they want to nominate for the U.S. Senate.”
The Bryant campaign has public opinion data indicating that six out of every 10 of Tennessee’s Republican voters are “up for grabs,” stated Hunter. “Once everyone has the opportunity to see these candidates and take their records and positions into account, Congressman Bryant has a very good chance of winning this election. The bottom line in this campaign is simple: Washington may want former Governor Lamar Alexander, but Tennessee Republicans just want to choose who their nominee is going to be,” Hunter said.
He characterized the current state of public opinion in Tennessee toward the new Republican Senate primary, particularly former Governor Alexander’s apparently high poll numbers, as similar to that of former Senator Jim Sasser. Hunter noted that Senator Sasser’s numbers prior to the ’94 election “had every appearance of being very solid. Senator Sasser’s numbers were through the roof, and no one gave a Republican much of a chance to win that race. But a mainstream, modern conservative in the form of Senator Frist exposed his record, and Tennessee voters had the ultimate say in the matter,” concluded Hunter.

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