State Sen. Douglas Henry, the dean of the Tennessee State Senate, will face a primary challenge next year.
Jeff Yarbro, an attorney with Bass Berry & Sims, will go head to head with Henry in the 2010 August Democratic primary. Henry, who is 83, has served in the State Senate continuously since 1970 – longer than Yarbro, who is 32, has been alive. Henry also served one term in the State House in the 1950s.
Yarbro, a native of Dyersburg, received a bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1999 and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2004. During law school, he served as the editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review.
In his past two election cycles, Henry has turned back challengers from both the left and right of the political spectrum and gained substantial support from Republicans in his district over the years. Yarbro seems to be cognizant of the fact and addresses the issue on his campaign Web site that went online earlier today. (Henry's campaign site can be found at this link.)
Yarbro states, "Senator Douglas Henry, Jr. has served the 21st district with dignity and distinction since 1970. I honor his commitment to the state. That same desire to serve Tennessee compels me to commence this campaign at such a critical time. As the senator for the 21st district, I would work to continue Senator Henry’s legacy of safeguarding the financial stability of our state and fighting for Tennessee’s children."
For many years, Henry served as chairman of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee and only lost the post when the GOP took control of the State Senate. Although he is serving as vice chair of the committee now, Republicans named him "chairman emeritus" three years ago to honor his service.
Yarbro's wife,Tyler, is an attorney in the Davidson County Public Defender's Office.