Robin Smith, a veteran politician and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann's top Republican rival last year, said she will not run for Congress in 2012.
"No one sees this coming," she told the Times Free Press on Thursday. "Nobody told me, 'Robin, don't run,' during this process."
Smith hyped a Friday morning radio interview in which she would state her "congressional intentions," but she announced no such thing, citing business opportunities and an already crowded field waiting to unseat Fleischmann.
A health care consultant and former Tennessee Republican Party chairman, Smith lost the 2010 GOP primary to Fleischmann by 2 percentage points after an acrimonious campaign.
So far, Fleischmann's two Republican primary opponents are political science professor Jean Howard-Hill and Weston Wamp, the 24-year-old son of former Congressman Zach Wamp, who Fleischmann replaced this year.
No Democrats, independents or third-party candidates have entered the race.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.