Democrat Sara Kyle won't challenge Gov. Bill Haslam in 2014

Democrat Sara Kyle won't challenge Gov. Bill Haslam in 2014

January 2nd, 2014 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Sara Kyle speaks to attorneys during a hearing at the Hamilton County Courthouse in this file photo.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE -- Democrat Sara Kyle made it official today on a possible election challenge to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

She won't.

In a statement, the former Tennessee Regulatory Authority commissioner said, "After much deliberation, I have decided not to run for governor in 2014. I have been so blessed to receive support and encouragement from thousands of my fellow Tennesseeans."

Kyle had explored a candidacy during the summer, traveling the state and speaking with fellow Democrats. But little had been heard from her in recent months and one of the leaders of a draft-Kyle effort recently told the Times Free Press that he believed it was too late to mount a serious effort.

Kyle's mother is battling cancer. Meanwhile, some Democrats said they'd seen little action by Kyle on building a serious fundraising network necessary to mount an effective challenge.

It's unclear at this point whether Democrats can find a credible challenger to Haslam, who is seeking a second four-year term.

The governor continues to enjoy relatively high job approval, according to a recent Vanderbilt University poll. It found 61 percent of the 860 registered voters surveyed gave him good marks.