The Democratic leader of the Tennessee Senate has decided he’d rather be presiding over a Memphis courtroom.
Sen. Jim Kyle says he will run for an open judicial seat in Shelby County. He’s been a state lawmaker for more than 30 years.
“Like with anything, you can do it to the point that you don’t do it as well as you used to,” Kyle tells WPLN, adding that he’s still operating at a high level. “But better to let someone else be senator and fight those fights.”
Kyle says he’s wanted to be a judge since he was a kid. He won’t have to resign his seat unless he wins election in August. Kyle wasn’t up for reelection until 2016.
Voluntarily leaving the state senate has been popular this session for Democrats, who have had almost no luck passing legislation under a Republican super majority. Kyle’s announcement makes four retirements – more than half the Democrats in the upper chamber.