Jason Holleman will drop out of the much-anticipated Democratic primary in state Senate District 21, leaving a race that was only just beginning to heat up.
In an email to supporters, the Metro councilman cited the effect serving in the Senate would have on his family, and the potential damage done by a contentious primary.
"The campaign has also given me the opportunity to take stock, to understand the demands that would be placed on me as Senator and to recognize that those demands, while necessary for the progress of the state, would be shared by my children and family," Holleman says, in a draft version of the email obtained by Pith. "The campaign has shown me, too, that in order to lead the rest of Tennessee, Nashville must first model the kind of collaboration and results-driven leadership that would necessarily be undermined by a contentious, contested primary. The conclusion is clear: my best contribution, right now, is to serve at the local level, focusing on my important work as a Metro Councilman and my essential work as Cecilia and Walter’s Dad."
Reached separately by Pith, Holleman described the decision as "difficult."
"Inertia is a powerful force. In the end, and after considering the benefits of winning now against the costs of the campaign, I decided this isn't the race for me," he said.
Predictions of Holleman's impending exit from the race started up after the first round of fundraising disclosures filed in July showed his then only opponent attorney Jeff Yarbro with a more than four-to-one advantage in cash. Those whispers were countered by Holleman supporters touting his never-back-down approach to politics.
The race was further complicated Mary Mancini's entry in October. Pulling from the same liberal constituency as Holleman and Yarbro — she was the director of the progressive Tennessee Citizen Action as well as a host of alternative news-radio broadcast Liberadio(!) — Mancini introduced a gender dynamic into a race where the candidates largely agreed on policy.
There is not a declared Republican candidate in the district yet, although GOP officials haven't ruled out fielding a hopeful in the predominantly Democratic district.