governor’s race 2018

Trump wades into TN governor’s race following primary

That Trump endorsement that Diane Black wanted so badly has gone to Bill Lee. But not until the Republican gubernatorial contest was already settled.

State GOP congratulates GOP nominee

A statement from state Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden:

We congratulate Bill Lee on his victory tonight as the Republican nominee for governor, and we commend the other candidates on a hard-fought race. Bill has the experience, skills, and temperament to be a terrific governor, and he will unify Republicans ahead of the general election victory this November. We look forward to working with Bill across the state to ensure he is the 50th Governor of Tennessee.

And from Gov. Bill Haslam:

Congratulations to Bill Lee on winning the Republican nomination for Tennessee governor. Bill is a man of strong faith and character, and I know he will lead Tennessee in the right direction. He has long been a supporter of Tennessee’s business-friendly environment, and he is committed to the education and development of the state’s workforce. Bill has demonstrated that he will put the needs of Tennesseans at the forefront of any decision he makes as governor of our great state.

And from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander:

Congratulations to Bill Lee on tonight’s victory. As I’ve often said, there is no better job than being governor of your home state, especially if that state is Tennessee. I look forward to working with Bill to continue Governor Haslam’s excellent leadership of our state.

Karl Dean: ‘Best days still ahead of us’

A release from Democrat Karl Dean’s campaign:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  — Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean won the Democratic nomination for governor tonight in an overwhelming victory with close to 80 percent of the vote. 

Dean enters the general election with strong momentum, as evidenced by recent finance reports and public polling that showed him in the lead in both fundraising and voter support. 

After speaking with his primary opponent by phone, Dean took the stage at an election night party this evening to thank his supporters and highlight the importance of staying focused on the issues that matter to Tennesseans. 

“I am honored to be the Democratic nominee for governor, but we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us. The next three months we will be solely focused on listening to voters in all 95 counties,” Dean said. 

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Lee statement on winning GOP gov’s nonmination

A release from the Bill Lee campaign:

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Today, voters in the Republican primary handed Bill Lee a resounding victory for the Republican nomination for governor. The following is a statement from Bill Lee:

Today is a victory for Tennesseans who want an outsider, for people who want Tennessee not only to be an even better place to live for six and a half million people, but for Tennessee to lead the nation. Tonight, we celebrate, but tomorrow we get back to work. We’re going to finish this campaign the way we started it: 95 Counties in 95 Days. Thank you for believing in us. See you soon!

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Meet the nicer, gentler (but still tough) Diane Black

Republican gubernatorial candidate Diane Black’s latest TV ad addresses the question about why she has been “so tough” in her campaign.

Popcorn in hand, Black says: “I figure, if I make tough choices as governor, maybe our grand-kids’ generation won’t have it so tough when they grow up.” She then hands said popcorn over to some kids playing dominoes and urges voters to “hang tough with me.”

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The Tennessean is (sorta) ending endorsements

The Tennessean is going to focus on helping “citizens make good decisions” rather then on traditional endorsements, according to a fairly confusing column by USA Today Network-Tennessee Vice President Michael A. Anastasi.

“Contemporary readers want to be able to make smart decisions and learn from balanced perspectives,” Anastasi writes. “But they would rather not be told what to think, according to USA TODAY NETWORK research.”

So all endorsements are out, right? Well, not exactly.

“This does not mean we have stopped doing endorsements; rather, we are focused on races where we believe our opinion adds the greatest value,” according to Anastasi.

That apparently means endorsing Jim Shulman for vice mayor of Nashville and retiring Democratic state Sen. Thelma Harper’s chosen successor, Howard Jones, over state Rep. Brenda Gilmore.

As for that little $50 million-plus race to succeed term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam? Crickets.

Ketron: Lee is ‘good man’ to lead Tenn. for 8 years

State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) speaks on the Senate floor on Feb. 26, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

State Sen. Bill Ketron says he expects Franklin businessman Bill Lee to lead Tennessee for the next two gubernatorial terms.

Ketron, who is running for Rutherford County mayor, made the comments about Lee  at a campaign town hall on Tuesday. Ketron is the Senate Republican Caucus chairman, the same position that gubernatorial candidate Diane Black held before she was elected to Congress in 2010.

“You have a good man here that I feel, in my personal opinion, that will lead us for the next eight years: Bill Lee,” Ketron said at the event.

Ketron noted that there will be a vast reduction in institutional memory given the raft of retirements in the General Assembly. He told Lee he could take advantage of that “void.”

“Now’s a great time for you to come in. Fresh ideas. Push back on those bureaucrats, our state employees — all due respect, but they get entrenched. So now’s a great time for you to come in and do what’s best for this state.”

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Lee Beaman endorses Diane Black

Conservative auto dealer Lee Beaman is endorsing U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s Republican bid for governor.

“There is only one true conservative in the race and her name is Diane Black,” Beaman said in a release. “Diane will fight to protect and defend out Tennessee values. She will be an advocate for Tennessee businesses of all sizes, and she will always fight for families and the unborn. With Diane leading the way, we can become the most business friendly state in the nation while keeping our values intact.”

Black said cited Beaman’s role in fighting public transit proposals in Nashville as a sign that “when he gets behind something, everyone better move out of the way. He is a stalwart fighter for the conservative cause who never waivers in his conviction.”
Campaign finance records show Beaman gave Black’s campaign $8,000 on July 19.

U.S. Rep. Cooper endorses Dean for governor

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) is endorsing former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s bid for governor.

Cooper joins fellow U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) and former U.S. Reps. Lincoln Davis and Bob Clement in giving the nod to Dean’s bid against state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

“Karl Dean was a great Mayor. Successful mayors have what it takes to get things done for the whole state as Governor. He is committed to healthcare, jobs, and education for ALL Tennesseans, and I’m proud to endorse him,” Cooper said in a release.

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Harwell appears on Fox News

Beth Harwell appeared on Fox News over the weekend to promote her Republican gubernatorial bid and to liken herself to President Donald Trump.

“We’ve been able to do here in Tennessee under my leadership as speaker what president Trump is trying to do for America,” she said. “We’ve lowered taxes for all Tennesseans, we’re the lowest-taxed state in the national. We have ended sanctuary cities. And so of course we have a lot in common, but I believe I have the proven performance and the results that conservatives in the state of Tennessee want.”

Harwell also downplayed the significance of Pence’s recent reiteration of his endorsement of Diane Black in the race.

“I certainly understand Congressman Black has a lot of support in Washington, D.C. She’s been there for quite some time. And I, on the other hand, have always kept my eyes focused on the great state of Tennessee,” she said. “I believe that President Trump is right: If we’re going to solve our problems, our domestic problems, it wont’ happen in Washington, D.C., it will happen here in Tennessee. And I am ready to be right person to serve in the governorship.”