Democrat Kyle drops out of governor's race

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 2:18pm

State Sen. Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, announced to members of the Capitol Hill press corps today that he is dropping his campaign for governor.

“It is clear to me that while our campaign had the assets to be competitive in the primary, the legislative fundraising restriction, the economy, and my duties as Senate leader have severely hampered my ability to generate resources which would have been vital to our success in the general election,” he said during a press conference with his wife, Sara Kyle, who is a member of the Tennessee Regulatory Commission.

Kyle said he would keep pushing his focus on education in the legislature.

“I will continue to be an outspoken advocate to promote and define the solutions that answer our state's most pressing challenges, in both higher education and job creation,” he said. “Perhaps my exit from this race will enable some of my legislative initiatives, which will address these challenges, to be seen and heard more clearly.”

Kyle was not allowed to raise money for his race while the legislature is in session. The same goes for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who is running for governor on the Republican ticket. In effect, Kyle could have stayed in the race and kept his statewide platform for his message another few months at no cost and with little travel.

When the most recent fundraising numbers were announced last month, Kyle was in second place in the cash race, behind Jackson businessman Mike McWherter. The only other prominent Democrat still in the race is former state Rep. Kim McMillan of Clarksville.

Kyle said he would return campaign donations that hadn’t been spent.