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The Sassy Southern Nurse From ‘Empty Nest’ May Be Tennessee’s Next Senator

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By HVpolitics on April 5, 2012

It ain’t easy being a Democrat in Tennessee. Republicans have controlled both Senate seats for the past 18 years. They also enjoy the reliably deep pockets of donors. Sen. Bob Corker, who is nearing the end of his first term and up for re-election in 2012, has $7.4 million in his coffers.

The state’s Democratic Party, who had yet to find a viable candidate to run against Corker, now have a famous face to make a challenge. Well, more like a famous voice.

Park Overall, best known for southern drawling her way through brilliant roles on “Empty Nest” and Kindergarten Cop, will take on Corker this fall.

The 55-year-old sass machine formally filed the necessary papers on Wednesday in Nashville at the state Board of Elections. “Somebody had to do it and if nobody else will do it, I will do it,” she told The Greeneville Sun on Thursday.

“I’m a good Democrat and there doesn’t seem to be one around,” she added. “I’m going for broke.”

What pushed Overall over the top? The War on Women.

The Tennessean reports:

“It was the Blunt amendment that put me over the top,” she said. “That’s where they were going to decide if they would give me medical care or give me birth control depending on how they morally believed.”

The Blunt amendment was proposed earlier this year to be added to a highway funding bill. In her speech at the Jackson Day dinner, Overall asked, “Why is my womb attached to a transportation bill?”

Ten states are debating bills that would regulate abortion, including many that involve shaming wands and invasive measures. States in 2011 passed a record-high 92 abortion-related bills, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that focuses on reproductive health.

The outspoken critic of nuclear power also said she will focus heavily on the environment, in addition to women’s issues like anti-abortion measures and birth control.

It’s a shame Richard Mulligan passed away in 2000: no endorsement for his nurse, Laverne Todd.

(hat tip @ranggrol)


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