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Thompson out of Senate race
Mar 21, 2006 12:00 am
March 14, 2006
The president of a Lebanon nonprofit said Monday he will not make a bid for the State Senate's District 17 post, citing potential conflicts with newly passed ethics legislation.
Eric Thompson, president of Prospect Inc., had considered a run against incumbent Republican Sen. Mae Beavers in the fall. His position with the nonprofit – an organization which receives some state government funding each year – immediately emerged as a possible conflict.
Thompson had stated he could not give up the position at Prospect to run for State Senate.
"I don't have a clear mandate yet as to whether I'd be able to run and continue my employment with Prospect," Thompson said Monday. "Given this late date, and to avoid any potential controversy that would impact Prospect in any negative way, … I've decided not to run."
A State Senate Democrat Caucus spokesperson said caucus leaders were investigating as recently as last week whether or not Thompson could remain at the nonprofit position and serve as a state senator.
Issues surrounding any Thompson candidacy included new ethics legislation which may have prohibited him from voting on matters related to the state's budget because of Prospect's funding from state government.
Thompson did not rule out a bid for state office during the next election cycle, should the potential for conflict be addressed prior to elections in 2010.
"I think there needs to be a change, and I would certainly keep my options open," he said, adding he planned to continue working closely with the Senate Democrat Caucus to help ensure any possible conflicts are addressed.
A call to Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman, Sen. Joe Haynes, was not immediately returned Monday.
Lebanon resident Aubrey Givens, currently Beavers' only Democratic challenger, said Monday his focus remained on this fall's election.
"Our focus all along has been on the General Election in November," Givens, a Nashville attorney, said. "Certainly, that has not changed and wouldn't change unless another candidate actually qualified for the Democratic primary (in August)."
Givens added his campaign has met with "some of the leadership" of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
"We are being embraced, and I think we are all looking forward to an exciting, dynamic campaign that's just full of energy headed toward November," he said.
Thompson concluded by saying he is hopeful the conflicts which prevented him from entering the District 17 primary will be "cleared up" in the future.
"I do appreciate very much the encouragement and support I've gotten from people throughout this district," Thompson said.
Staff Writer Brian Harville can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by e-mail at email@example.com.