Friday, February 19, 2010

Ben West Resigns; Jim Gotto Could Take District 60!

Jim Gotto
Jim Gotto

State Rep. Ben West Jr., D-Hermitage, announced today that he will retire in November and will not seek reelection. Representative West, the son of former Nashville Mayor Ben West, served in the state legislature for 26 years. Representative West is 68 years old and last year suffered a heart attack.

Two Democrats have picked up qualifying petitions to run for that seat and Metro Councilman Jim Gotto has announced his intention to run as a Republican.

Not running against an historic family name nor an incumbent and in today’s much more Republican-friendly climate, Jim has a good chance of taking this seat. Jim Gotto’s Metro Council District lies within House District 60. According to political pundit Bill Hobbs who crunched the numbers, Obama carried the district last time, but only by a slim 52-48 margin.

It is worth noting also, that Ben West was a fairly conservative Democrat having opposed the state income tax and supported second amendment rights. Neither of the Democrats running for the seat has any more name recognition than Gotto. They probably have less. Tommy Bradley is a former Metro Councilman who resigned his council position to take a position as Chief Administrative Officer for the Office of the Criminal Court Clerk. The other announced candidate is Larry Crim, a real estate developer. The filing deadline for the race is not until April 1 however, so other candidates could emerge.

This seat is winnable! Jim Gotto is an attractive candidate. He is smart, principled and has a reputation as a hard working councilman. We Republicans need to help Jim Gotto all we can. It would be a real upset if a Republican won this seat which has been held by a Democrat for the last 26 years. It could happen!

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