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Clippard may shoot for governor in '06
Mar 11, 2005 12:00 am
March 9, 2005
A longtime Tennessee Republican fund-raiser says he is getting some encouragement to run for governor in 2006 and has already met with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist about the possibility.
B.C. "Scooter" Clippard, a well-known banker, businessman and a Bush "Ranger" fund-raiser, said he did meet with Frist in Knoxville recently about possibly running against Gov. Phil Bredesen next year.
Clippard, the Tennessee Republican Party's former finance chairman, said he has a "passion" for public service and may pursue a run for governor in 2006.
"I'm really appreciative of Sen. Frist taking the time to visit with me about potentially running for governor," Clippard told The Lebanon Democrat Tuesday. "At some point in my life, I plan to offer myself up for public service. … I am being encouraged to do it in 2006."
Clippard, 55 and a member of the University of Tennessee Board of Trust, is the chief development officer of FirstBank in Tennessee. He also sits on the board of the statewide bank with fellow GOP fund-raiser Ted Welch.
With wife Fran, he co-founded the Center for Living and Learning in Franklin, a residential care facility for people with chronic mental illness. Scooter is active in the state Republican Party, served as chair of the Finance Committee in the 1990s and considered running for Congress in 1998.
Clippard stopped just short of saying he is running against Bredesen in 2006.
"At this time, I am not a candidate," Clippard said. "I am flattered to even be considered."
Frist said Tuesday he did speak with Clippard but was not recruiting candidates to run against Bredesen, though he did not rule that out in the future.
"I'm not in the recruitment business for governor as of yet, or I have not been in terms of my seeking out any individual and encouraging them to run proactively," Frist said. "I've talked with Scooter and a number of other people who are considering running for my Senate seat and also for governor, and right now, I do encourage people who are willing to commit their lives – or part of their lives to public policy – to participate in the election process."
Frist's apparent interest in Clippard may signal problems for Bredesen, who many have thought might run unopposed due to high popularity marks in the polls.
Bredesen has been under fire from the left wing of his own Democratic Party over severly cutting back the state's TennCare program which insures the indigent and uninsurable in Tennessee.
Frist said he did believe his party needed to field an opponent for Bredesen in 2006.
"I think, for statewide office, you always want to give people choices and good choices as they make a judgment on who can best run the state or serve in the United States Senate," Frist said.
Staff Writer Brian Harville contributed to this story.
Managing Editor Clint Brewer can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 13 or by e-mail at email@example.com.