NASHVILLE — Chattanooga businessman Brent Benedict, the only Democrat left in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District race, is dropping out of the contest, citing family and business considerations.
“I have decided that it is in my best interests not to run for Congress at this time,” Mr. Benedict said in a statement on his campaign Web site. “This is a difficult decision for me, but I have always believed family comes first.”
The announcement by Mr. Benedict, who previously said he was running an “under the radar” campaign, leaves no Democrat at all in the contest to succeed U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who is not seeking reelection in order to run for governor.
In late November, former state Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Paula Flowers of Oak Ridge dropped out of the Democratic primary.
In 2006, Mr. Benedict was Democrats’ 3rd Congressional District nominee.
He said his mother “is facing serious health issues which have and will demand my attention.”
He also said that “I want to give the Democratic Party enough time to find a good consensus candidate to represent all that is best in the tradition of Tennessee Democrats. I will continue to be as active in local issues as time will allow.”
He thanked those who had supported him.
In a brief interview, Mr. Benedict, who works in computer networking and software development, also noted that he had not found anyone he was comfortable enough to manage his business interests.
Republicans running in the contest include former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Robin Smith, Chattanooga attorney Chuck Fleischmann, Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble, Chattanooga businessman Tommy Crangle, Cleveland businessman and pension executive Art Rhodes and businessman Greg Goodwin.
Independent candidate Mark DeVol is also running.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...