Shannon Wood’s Darkhorse Theater once hosted a religious play called The Lizard of Tarsus that starred a black actress, Jackie Welch, as Jesus. The theater has presented a play about XXX porn directors. It has embraced the radical Eggplant Faerie Players, a gay Middle Tennessee theater troupe, as well as numerous transgendered performers, none of whom were strangers to controversy.
Needless to say, as a political candidate, Shannon Wood can’t count on the Christian conservative vote.
Yet it’s precisely the kind of backbone she displays in running her theater that Wood says is lacking in politics. So she’s taking her liberal agenda of universal health care, gay advocacy, and abortion rights, among other things, to the people in a long-shot political race against Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Frist.
”I vote and I’m actively interested in politics and I have a theater that is very political in town,“ says Wood, who plans to announce her candidacy this week. ”The decision to run started last summer sometime when I realized that the likelihood that the professional, successful Democrats who would be in a position to challenge Frist wouldn’t be able to take a financial risk.“
She is the second Democratic candidate so far with plans to run for the Senate this year. The other is another self-acknowledged long shot, campaign finance reformer John Jay Hooker, who, at this point, looks to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination.
”Basically, I believe that we should not allow people to buy seats in the U.S. Senate, which is where I feel we kind of are right now,“ Wood says in a refrain that sounds decidedly Hookeresque. She says that when it comes to campaign finance reform and challenging someone with the kind of ”bottomless pockets“ enjoyed by the wealthy Frist, she’s ”with Hooker.“
Frist, with about $5 million in his campaign kitty, is considered virtually unstoppable, and while polls don’t suggest he’s necessarily a political powerhouse, neither is he particularly vulnerable. Already, U.S. Congressman Harold Ford Jr., a Democrat from Memphis, has abandoned any notions of taking on Frist, who is running for a second term.
”I’m just impressed that somebody’s doing it,“ says Wood’s friend Debra Alberts. ”I told her that she’s got to know CPR and then, you know, if worse comes to worse, she’ll have to take her husband’s last name like Hillary did. But it could be worse.“
Wood says she’s already got some money for the race, but adds that she’s afraid to disclose the amount for fear that she’ll immediately be tagged a fringe candidate. ”They judge my viability by that,“ she says. For a political unknown, Wood has a lofty goal for raising money for the statewide contest. ”The goal I’ve spoken to people about is $1 million.“
Assuming Wood could raise ita proposition that political fund-raisers would dismiss out of hand given her status as an unknown running against a monied opponentit would be $1 million more than Hooker. Consistent with his reformist message, he didn’t ask for money during his last statewide racefor governor in 1998and probably won’t this time, either.
Busting the boy
Four years after being indicted on a charge of stealing vehicles from local car dealerships, a son of former Davidson County Property Assessor Jim Ed Clarya beloved political figure who died in 1992is back in trouble again.
This time, Hendersonville Police have charged William Harold Clary with possession of cocaine for resale and confiscated nearly $2,300 in cash he had in his pocket at the time of his arrest.
Court documents show Clary consented to a police search of his Chevy Blazer when they stopped him in Hendersonville 10 days ago. Police then discovered the $2,279 in cash, and Clary ”tossed a small plastic bag“ on the ground, according to a police affidavit filed in Sumner County Criminal Court. Inside, police found cocaine, ”two and one-half unknown pills,“ and $3. Clary, 43, didn’t return a phone call from the Scene.
The 43-year-old son of Jim Ed ClaryMetro’s property assessor for 17 years and a local political figure for nearly 35 yearsis a former clerk for the late Judge Jim Everett, who committed suicide five years ago, 18 days before a federal grand jury was to begin hearing evidence of alleged corruption in his court.
An investigation into William Clary and the charge that he was stealing cars from local dealerships was a spinoff of the investigation into Everett’s court, which focused on a group of attorneys to whom Everett funneled lucrative probate court cases.
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