In the Feb. 25 issue of The Greeneville Sun, both GOPers and a Sun reporter tried to nail down Jenkins on the idea at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Jenkins, who had already announced he would not seek re-election to Congress, dealt with the fawning and sort of kind of maybe gave a non answer. State Senator Steve Southerland of Morristown started off the "please run!" approach.
From the Sun story:
"State Sen. Steve Southerland, R-1st, who introduced Jenkins, mentioned to the congressman that “rabbit season is over at the end of this month, and that would be a good time to start campaigning for governor.” Jenkins began his remarks by saying that “This talk of governor is pretty heavy.” He said he had spent “most of the morning” on the phone with people who wanted to talk about that.
“I want to remind you all, I did that once,” Jenkins said, with a big grin on his face. If the state had voted the way Greene County did that year, Jenkins said, he would have won.
At that time he was 33 years old, he said, and “people said I looked 20,” not nearly old enough to be governor.
“I guess I’ve gotten old enough,” Jenkins said, adding that he will be 70 on his next birthday.
He stopped short of making a flat statement one way or the other about running for governor. He also said that his last year in Congress will be one of the most difficult that the country has faced in a long time, with much that needs to be done.
After the event, he told The Greeneville Sun for the record that he is pondering the idea, and will have to make an announcement soon.
But he also told the Sun that running for governor “would undo all the reasons” he is leaving Congress.
When Jenkins announced he will not seek re-election, he said he wants to spend more time with his four children and 11 grandchildren, and actively operate his large farm on the Holston River near Rogersville. The tone of Jenkins’ remarks Friday night was very much that of a longtime public servant leaving public life."
You can read of the rumors at Newscoma.