The Plank

Goodbye Gov. Frist

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Bill Frist is officially out of the 2010 Tennessee governor's race (to be precise, he has confirmed, after months of speculation, that he won't enter it). My friend Freddie O'Connell--and I don't mean friend like "Washington friend," I mean friend like "buddies since middle school"--has a solid rundown of the GOP pool sans Frist; sadly, he doesn't see much improved hope for the Democrats, who are flailing despite eight years in the governor's office. (And while I'm on the subject, my friendship with Freddie has nothing to do with my hearty recommendation of his website and radio show as the best source for progressive thinking on Tennessee politics.)

As for what Frist will do instead, other sources tell me he's been approached for a leadership post at the Gates Foundation, which would accord nicely with his long-time interest in developing-world public health issues. In any case, this also makes it less likely that he'll be a serious contender for the 2012 presidential race, which many Frist-watchers had assumed he would enter, if only because he's the sort of fellow to never leave a contest until he's won it.

--Clay Risen

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