Senate committee appoints special counsel

Judge Bernice Donald's ruling on how the Senate should proceed in deciding whether to void the District 29 election has proven so complicated that the Senate Ad Hoc committee investigating the election voted Wednesday to hire its own special independent counsel.

"Perhaps if we had counsel from the beginning, we might not be where we are today," said Memphis Senator Jim Kyle.

The committee chose Judge Ben Cantrell, a retired judge from Nashville, who is also a Republican. It was Republican senators who wanted to void the District 29 election and oust Senator Ophelia Ford .

"I think his credentials are above reproach," said Senator Mark Norris. "He's well known to many across the state. I think he'll be above partisan politics."

"Cantrell will be forced to deal with how to handle the voters who cast those disputed ballots. The senate committee could come to Memphis and hear testimony from the more than 40 voters Republicans believe lived outside the district.

"I think the committee probably should go there, if time will permit," said Senator Curtis Person.

Ophelia Ford wasn't sure Wednesday sure if the special counsel would help her case.

"I don't know," Ford said. "I take it day by day, and try to focus on the Senate, and be here and do my job, and that's all I want to do."