When State Rep. Rob Briley announced yesterday that he will not be seeking re-election to office, his potential opponents breathed a collective sigh of relief and issued statements praising his service to the state and to the district.
Attorneys Mike Stewart and Eric Stansell, the only announced candidates for the seat, both thanked Briley for his years of service and for the leadership he provided and stated their case as to why they should take his place. Today, NashvillePost.com has learned that one of those guys has been making the cash calls at a pretty steady pace, too.
Stewart, according to NashvillePost.com sources, already has raised $50,000 for his campaign, a significant amount at this stage of the game. Most state legislative races cost that much and it is a sum generally reached only by incumbents. While Stewart is obviously not an incumbent, he has run for this seat once before and was narrowly defeated by former U.S. Congressman and Mayor Bill Boner.
Calls to Stewart for comment and attempts to reach Stansell were unsuccessful at the time of publication of this story. Among the other names that have been mentioned as possible candidates for this seat is attorney Kevin Sharp, who today said he will not be a candidate and is supporting Stewart.
House District 52 is arguably one of the most important legislative districts in Nashville. Former Mayors Bill Purcell, Bill Boner and Dick Fulton have represented either the seat or the area encompassed by the district boundaries. It was even the legislative home of the recently retired County Clerk Bill Covington.
Stretching from Madison to Green Hills, it practically touches or includes all aspects of the cultural, business and social lives of the city. When Gov. Phil Bredesen looks across the street from the Executive Residence, he looks at House District 52 (the residence is actually in District 53). David Lipscomb University, parts of Green Hills, Berry Hill and Oak Hill, 100 Oaks Mall, Foster Avenue, Shelby Park, East Nashville and part of Madison are in the district. Its representative thus plays an important role in almost every piece of legislation at the state level that affects Davidson County.