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RealClearPolitics Politics Nation Blog

 

Blog Home Page --> Senate -- Tennessee

Hank Williams Jr. For Senate?

It was reported recently that country music singer Hank Williams Jr. plans to run for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee in 2012 -- the next time a Senate seat is up in the state. An intriguing notion to say the least, but no announcement has been made yet, according to Williams's publicist.

When reached for comment by RealClearPolitics, a spokesman for Williams's publicist, Kirt Webster, said Williams "has talked about it, but no announcement has been made."

Should he run, Williams would likely need to mount a primary challenge to Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who defeated Democrat Harold Ford Jr. for the open seat in 2006. Williams was an active campaigner for the Republican ticket this year, appearing with both John McCain and Sarah Palin in the months leading up to the presidential election. He even wrote a reworked version of his hit tune, "Family Tradition," that he performed at campaign events.

Alexander Leads Own Poll

First-term Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is in strong position for re-election, a new poll conducted for his campaign shows. Even in a state with more registered Democrats than Republicans, Alexander, the former cabinet secretary and one-time presidential candidate, far outpaces the only two serious Democrats actively considering a bid.

The poll, conducted by Ayers, McHenry & Associates, a Republican polling firm, was conducted 3/5-9 among 600 registered voters for a margin of error of +/- 4%. Alexander, former Tennessee Democratic Party chair Bob Tuke and former Knox County Clerk Mike Padgett were tested. 39% of the sample was made up of Democrats, 32% of Republicans and 29% independent voters.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind)
Alexander 59 / 26 / 93 / 66
Tuke 28 / 58 / 2 / 17

Alexander 58 / 23 / 94 / 64
Padgett 31 / 64 / 2 / 20

Alexander maintains strong approval ratings of 68% to just 17% who disapprove, and he's seen favorably by 67% of the state, while 18% view him in an unfavorable light. Neither Padgett nor Tuke is known by more than a handful of the state's population, making their already uphill battle against the popular and generally moderate incumbent all the more difficult.

The incumbent isn't extremely well-funded, but he had enough in the bank, and enjoyed enough favorable recognition, to scare off any serious Democratic threat. Through December 31, Alexander had a little over $2 million in the bank.

Among Democrats in the state, former Rep. Harold Ford, who lost a 2006 Senate bid against now-Senator Bob Corker, and Rep. Lincoln Davis are thought to have the brightest future. Two-term Governor Phil Bredesen, also a Democrat, may also consider an eventual political future once his tenure expires in 2010. Davis has already said he will run for governor that year.