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Beavers questions second term
Aug 19, 2005 12:00 am
August 19, 2005
For the second time in the past year, State Sen. Mae Beavers has publicly discussed not returning to the state legislature for another term.
Beavers told Nashville talk radio show host Steve Gill live on the air Thursday morning she was not certain she would run for another term.
"I am planning on it, but I am not certain," Beavers told The Lebanon Democrat Thursday afternoon. "We are praying about it. I always hoped God would give me the good sense to leave it behind when I could no longer be effective."
Beavers and the Wilson County Republican Party have seen tough times in the past 12 months.
Beavers said she might resign from the Tennessee General Assembly earlier in the year after being passed over by Lt. Gov. John Wilder, also Senate speaker, for committee appointments she requested.
Beavers' public flirtation with leaving the Senate was the most discernable sign of disgust from a Republican lawmaker that Wilder, a Democrat, had been returned to leading the Senate. Republicans won control of the State Senate in 2004 for the first time since Reconstruction, but a handful of GOP Senators crossed party lines to vote for Wilder in the speaker race.
Beavers has also endured a meltdown in a local Republican Party she largely helped to build. The Wilson County Republican Party has been torn into two factions, with the party's executive committee petitioning the state party to remove county chairman Kevin Mack, a former Mt. Juliet mayor.
Last year, Beavers also fought off breast cancer, but not before involving herself in an ugly GOP State House primary, backing the opponent of Rep. Susan Lynn.
Beavers wouldn't get specific about her concerns, repeating only she wanted to be "effective" in the legislature.
"It depends on local politics and it depends on state politics," Beavers said of her decision to run. "I just want to be able to be effective in the legislature. Being effective does not have to mean passing a bunch of laws. It can just mean being able to oppose things that need to be opposed."
Beavers‚ candidacy is crucial if Tennessee Republicans want to hold on to their slim majority in the Senate.
Democrats have already identified Beavers' 17th Senate District seat as their number one legislative target in 2006. Beavers, a freshman, had a virtually non-existent campaign coffer as of her last filing at the end of 2004 whereas one potential opponent – former State Sen. Bob Rochelle – was sitting on over $200,000 left over from his days in the legislature.
Tennessee Republican Party Executive Director Chris Devaney told the newspaper the party thought Beavers would run.
"I talked to Mae Beavers today, and I think at the end of the day she will run," Devaney said. "We want her to run. "Mae's appeal transcends the problems there in the Wilson County Party. She is a cancer survivor and brings a lot to the table. At the end of the day we believe she will run."
Managing Editor Clint Brewer can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 13 or by e-mail at email@example.com.