published Saturday, March 24th, 2012

State Rep. Vince Dean to run for Tennessee House instead of Senate

WHO'S RUNNING


A number of other individuals have picked up qualifying papers from the Hamilton County Election Commission for the state House District 30 seat:

• Republicans Larry Grohn and Brent Lambert (Lambert has said he will not run against incumbent Rep. Vince Dean.)

• Democrats Brian White, Brock Bennington and Sandy Smith

Source: Hamilton County Election Commission

NASHVILLE -- State Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, says he plans to seek re-election to his House District 30 seat and not run for the state Senate.

"I will be submitting my qualification papers on Monday morning to the Hamilton County Election Commission," Dean said in a statement.

Dean said that, while he has been "overwhelmed by friends and supporters that have urged me to seek Senate District 10, I feel that currently, I need to continue my focus on my House duties."

Senate District 10 has leaned Democratic in the past but now favors Republicans as a result of the recent passage of a GOP-drawn redistricting plan by the state Legislature.

The seat is now held by Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, who has announced he won't run again and seriously is considering a 2013 race for Chattanooga mayor.

Earlier this month, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, and House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, asked Dean to reconsider plans to run for the Senate seat.

"The Republican majority has made some great strides in the House since taking over a couple of years ago," Dean said. "I feel that my experience and leadership will best serve the people of Tennessee in the House of Representatives."

Harold Coker, a Republican and one-time Hamilton County commissioner, called Dean "a real Christian gentleman. He's got the experience to do the job. He's a wonderful public servant. ... I really wished he'd run for the Senate."

Republican Greg Vital already has announced he is running for the Senate seat, and fellow Republican Todd Gardenhire said he plans to do so.

Dean said he won't make an endorsement in the GOP's Senate primary.

"I urge everyone to vet the candidates thoroughly for themselves and make their decision," he said.

East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert had been considering a bid for Dean's House seat when the lawmaker told him he planned to run again for the House.

"I, at that point, said that sounds like a good idea to me, and I'll support you in whatever you want to do," Lambert said he told Dean. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Vince and really would not entertain the notion of running against him."

Others who have picked up papers for House District 30 are Republican Larry Grohn and Democrats Brian White, Brock Bennington and Sandy Smith.

The qualifying deadline is April 5. The primary election is Aug. 2.

about Andy Sher...

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, ...

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