One of state Rep. Rob Briley's Democratic challengers—the baby-faced Eric Stansell—has unveiled his campaign website
, sparking debate on the blogs about the upcoming race. Will his two foes—Stansell and Mike Stewart—split the anti-Briley vote and enable Briley to win reelection? That's the question.
I'm not sure why anyone thinks Briley won't finish third. How many times does his humiliating YouTube appearance have to lead the TV news shows before he's finished politically? Channel 2, in particular, can't seem to show it enough.
Stewart is Briley's really serious challenger. A partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, he'll have no trouble raising enough money to compete—it'll take around $100,000—and he'll enjoy the support of many of the activists who do the hard work that's key to winning these kinds of races.
Remember Stewart almost beat Bill Boner back in 1996 for this same seat. Although Boner was a public embarrassment like Briley, he never broke the law and he was much more popular than Briley thanks to years of constituent service. Also, the district has become more progressive since then. Donelson is gone and some of Green Hills is in. The goo-goos in Green Hills probably don't look too favorably on Briley anymore.
Briley told the state House he's sorry (giving the TV stations another excuse to show his YouTube video), but he's got a lot more apologizing to do. He's yet to visit a single neighborhood group, as far as we've heard, or knock on a single door to say he wants to keep his job. At this point, it looks like Stewart's race to lose.