Former House Speaker and Gov. Ned McWherter had two close proteges in the House, John Tanner and Roy Herron. They supported him, they raised money for him, and their careers were made by his patronage. Tanner was elected to Congress and Herron to the state Senate.
Now McWherter’s son Mike is running for governor. His base is rural West Tennessee. He was being opposed by Herron, a formidable candidate from the same area who split his base. Abruptly Tanner decided to retire from his congressional seat, which he would not have had without McWherter’s support, and within hours Herron was running for Congress and out of the governor’s race.
Last week’s phone logs between the three would be an interesting read.