Ed Bryant (born September 7, 1948), American politician, is a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Tennessee (1995 - 2003). Born in Jackson, Tennessee, he earned his B.A. in 1970 and J.D. in 1972, both from the University of Mississippi. He later served in the United States Army, teaching law to students at West Point among other duties.
Bryant first became politically active in a high-profile way in 1988 when he served as an early organizer for the abortive Presidential bid of conservative televangelist Pat Robertson. Later in that year, he won the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative from the Eighth District of Tennessee, a largely-Demcocatic area mostly in the northwesten part of the state, losing in the general election to Union City attorney and state representative John Tanner. He resumed the practice of law and later moved to nearby Henderson, Tennessee, which was in the Seventh Congressional District.
When Seventh District U.S. Representative Don Sundquist did not run for re-election in 1992(choosing instead to wage an ultimately successful campaign to be elected governor of Tennessee), Bryant entered the Republican primary for that post. This district is overwhelmingly Republican, and Bryant won the general election easily after winning the primary. In his three subesequent re-elections, he never failed to receive under 60% of the vote, and was totally unopposed in one of them (1998).
Bryant was one of the "House mangers" (prosecutors) in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. Bryant was regarded by many as one of the less strident and pompous and more personable managers. This is supposedly why Monica Lewinsky chose Bryant to be the manager to interview her about the case. Tapes of the interview show Bryant's attempts to use the utmost delicacy in the discussion of the topic, and his considerable discomfort and embarassment at the lines of questioning that the circumstances required him to take.
Bryant established a solidly conservative record and was a darling of both business-oriented groups such as the National Federation of Independent Business and social conservative groups such as the American Conservative Union, the National Rifle Association, and National Right-to-Life. In 2002 he entered the Republican primary for the United States Senate after Republican Fred Thompson announced that he was changing his mind from an earlier announcement and would not be seeking re-election. The circumstances resulted in Bryant piecing togehter a hurried, underfinanced campaign. Bryant was opposed by former governor of Tennessee, U.S. Secretary of Education, and two-time Presidential candidate Lamar Alexander for the Republican nomination. Alexander had both greater statewide name recognition and greater financial resources and defeated Bryant rather handily. However, Bryant made a good impression on many Republcian activists in the state, especially with his willingness to make appearances on the Republican ticket's behalf during the fall campaign after his own defeat.
After Bryant's defeat he moved to Nashville briefly, but has since returned to West Tennessee and is currently an instructor in government at Union University in Jackson. He is widely considered to be a likely candidate should Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist not seek re-election in 2006, a development which is considered to be likely as Frist intially ran on a promise of not to serve more than two terms, has frequently stated that he does not desire to become a lifetime Senator, and is widely speculated as being likely to run for President in 2008, which has been shown to be a difficult, if not impossible, task for a party floor leader.