- The Washington Times - Monday, March 18, 2002

Tipper Gore said yesterday she has decided not to run for her husband's old Senate seat from Tennessee this year.
"It would be such an honor to work for the people of Tennessee," Mrs. Gore said in a statement. "However, I have decided that it is not right for me right now to seek to represent them in the United States Senate."
Mrs. Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore, made the decision after spending the weekend discussing the Senate race with associates, spokesman Jano Cabrera said. She had cut short a trip to California to return to Tennessee on Saturday to consider the race.
Word first emerged Thursday that Mrs. Gore was considering running. Democratic sources said she had to make a decision quickly because Rep. Bob Clement, Tennessee Democrat, had expressed interest in running for the Senate seat, which is being vacated by Republican Sen. Fred Thompson.
Mr. Clement announced Friday that he would hold a news conference in Nashville today regarding the race. Tennessee Democratic Party chairman Bill Farmer said he expected Mr. Clement to announce his candidacy.
A source close to Mrs. Gore said she intends to support Mr. Clement and plans to attend his announcement today.
According to Byron Trauger, a friend of the Gore family, "There was a developing consensus in Tennessee for Bob before she was interested."
Another source close to the Gores said: "I have to say it's a very noble act. She put aside whatever her own interests were in the Senate in favor of consensus. She was very serious."
Robert Gibbs, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, remarked yesterday that "we have a united Democratic team and a real opportunity to win a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee."
Of Mrs. Gore's decision, Mr. Gibbs would only say, "Everybody has to make up their own mind on their own timetable."
Mr. Gore held the Tennessee seat from 1985 to 1993. When he was elected vice president as Bill Clinton's running mate, Democrat Harlan Mathews was appointed temporarily to replace him. In 1994, Mr. Thompson defeated Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper to replace Mr. Mathews.
Mr. Gore's failure to carry his home state's 11 electoral votes George W. Bush won Tennessee 51-47 percent was key to the Democrat's defeat in the 2000 presidential election.
The Senate seat opened up when Mr. Thompson announced two weeks ago that he would not seek re-election. The surprise decision turned what had been considered a safe Republican seat into one expected to be among the more highly contested this fall.
The filing deadline for the Senate race is April 4.
On the Republican side, Former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander and Rep. Ed Bryant have announced their candidacies.
Mrs. Gore, who campaigned for parental advisory labels on record albums in the 1980s, is also known for her advocacy on mental health issues.
"I am passionate about mental health and family issues, and my work in those areas will continue to be my focus," she said in her statement yesterday. "I will also work to elect the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate and all our Democratic candidates."

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