Gov. Phil Bredesen said Friday he probably will weigh in on his party’s chairmanship election in January once it’s known who’s running and wouldn’t rule out backing another term for Chip Forrester.
The governor, who opposed Forrester’s election as chairman two years ago, said he didn’t blame him for the Democrats’ drubbing at the polls this month. Republicans gained 14 seats to take a commanding 64-34 margin in the state House, and Bill Haslam trounced Democrat Mike McWherter in the governor’s election.
“It’s no secret that Chip wasn’t my first choice in that job,” Bredesen told reporters. “Although given the way this election was nationalized, I would not lay what happened at his feet. I don’t think that’s fair. He got out. He raised money. This was a case where we had an election; it got nationalized. If you had a ‘D’ after your name, it almost didn’t matter what your opinion was on some of these things. You were in difficulty.”
No one yet has stepped forward to challenge Forrester, who announced his candidacy for another two-year term this week.
Former Metro Councilman David Briley has publicly criticized Forrester, most recently in a blog post Friday in which he called the party’s election campaign message “pathetic.”
But in an interview with The City Paper, Briley said he had no interest in the job himself.
“I don’t want to be asked and see no way that I would be,” he said. “I do not want to be chair of the party. Period.”
Other potential serious candidates who have been mentioned include Beecher Frasier and Mike Terry, aides to outgoing Congressmen Lincoln Davis and Bart Gordon, respectively. But sources say neither is expected to try for the job.
“I would like to see who the other candidates are, and I’ll certainly probably express my opinion at some point in time,” Bredesen said.