More bad news for Oak Ridge?
Congressman Zach Wamp, who serves on the House Finance Committee, is running for governor in the Republican primary and leaving office. Wamp has been a stalwart for DOE funding for Oak Ridge facilities. Now Congressman Bart Gordon, the Tennessee Democrat who chairs the House Science Committee, has announced he will not be seeking re-election. Gordon, with 25 years seniority, was a valuable ally in seeking funding for Oak Ridge projects.
State Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, has been gearing up for a run for Congress against Gordon, a Democrat. The much-respected Tracy was expected to be a formidable opponent for Gordon, who hasn't had a serious race in a decade. Tracy was in Washington last week lining up support for the race. There are several other legislators and public officials in the district who are considering the race, but Tracy has a head start.
This week Gordon, 60, announced he will not run for re-election. Coming on the heels of the retirement of U.S. Rep. John Tanner, it is a double blow for Democrats. The Democrats may be able to hang onto Tanner's seat, depending on the viability of candidate state Sen. Roy Herron. But Gordon's district in Middle Tennessee has been trending Republican for years and state House seats in the district have been picked up by Republicans in recent years.
Gordon is expected to become a Washington lobbyist when he leaves office.
Democrats have had a 5-4 advantage at present but losing two veteran incumbents puts them at risk of Republicans gaining a 6-3 advantage.