Replacing Frist

Town political reporter Dustin Hawkins examines the race to replace Frist:

Most polling data suggests that Tennessee’s landscape won’t be changing much after the 2006 elections. Despite having high name recognition in the state, Harold Ford Jr. still trails both Republican frontrunners Bryant and Hilleary in recent polling data. Likewise, the governor’s mansion is looking to stay in Democratic control as no opponent has yet to take the challenge of facing Bredesen. For now, Tennessee looks to be a safe bet for all incumbent parties involved.

Read the whole thing. It is well worth your time.

It’s hard to disagree with Hawkins’ analysis, and I certainly wish that Van Hilleary would take his advice and challenge Phil Bredesen. As has been said all over the blogosphere, having both Hilleary and Bryant in the race splits the conservative vote and gives Corker a better chance of winning. I have nothing against the former Chattanooga mayor; if he wins the nomination I’ll certainly vote for him. But from where I sit, Ed Bryant is the best candidate. He is the most conservative and the most electable.

Van Hilleary is conservative as well, but, as we saw in the 2002 gubernatorial race, he has a knack for pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory. His negativism hurts himself and the GOP in general, which makes running for governor a better fit for him. That way, he could channel all his bitterness against Phil Bredesen.

Of course, this is a dream scenario. The chances of Hilleary jumping into the governor’s race are virtually nil. If he did, it’s unlikely that he could beat Bredesen (which is the sole reason he is in the Senate race). For good or ill, we’re stuck with a three man primary. Let’s just hope the right man (Ed Bryant) wins.

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