Both Sides Sound Off Over Thompson Run

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) -- He represented Tennessee in the US Senate.

Now actor/politician Fred Thompson could join the race to the Oval Office.

Thompson hasn't officially announced his candidacy, but has created a preliminary campaign committee.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy spoke with Knoxville Republicans and Democrats about how Thompson could shake things up.

Many Republicans love him.

"He made a great Senator and I feel like he'll make a great President," said Irene McCrary, Chair of the Knox County Republicans.

Many Democrats don't share the same opinion.

"He needs to stick to playing presidents on television and in movies rather than running for president," said Dan Daugherty, Chair of the Knox County Democrats.

Both parties do agree on one thing however.

"The imminent entrance of Senator Thompson into this field will really shake things up," said Corey Johns, Vice Chair of the Knox County Republicans.

Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson created his preliminary campaign committee yesterday but hasn't officially joined the 10 Republicans already seeking the White House.

"A lot of other folks we have running have been out there on the campaign trail for months now," said Johns.

The Republican front-runners currently include John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney.

Add Thompson to the mix, and that could mean fewer dollars for the top dogs.

"I don't think Senator Thompson's looking at running against anyone, he's not just looking at the Republican nomination," Johns said. "He's looking at being the next president of the United States."

Johns says the support for the "Law and Order" TV star is there.

"When the first rumblings went around that Senator Thompson was looking at this opportunity and exploring , I think you've seen a whole lot of pouring of support from the real grass roots level," Johns said.

That includes an unaffiliated Knoxville based "Draft Fred Thompson" for President Website.

"We need to have the candidate that we feel can brings us through," McCrary said.

For Democrats, Thompson's a sign the elephants are scrambling.

"I think they're looking for a candidate, said Congressman Lincoln Davis from Tennessee's Fourth District. "I wonder how long it'll take the Republicans to be unhappy with him and starting looking for someone else."

But Tennessee Republicans say the party could have found its man.

"It never hurts to have somebody from your home state in the White House," Johns said.

Before that Thompson still has to decide if he will run. If he makes it official, you can expect an announcement as early as the first week of July.


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