Beavers exit came after reporting poor fundraising in run for governor

Former Sen. Mae Beavers suspension of her campaign for governor came after filing a financial disclosure showing she had raised a modest $163,947 in the past six months.

She reported spending $51,931 through Jan. 10 and a cash-on-hand balance of $167,409.  In her first  gubernatorial campaign disclosure, filed last July, Beavers reported receiving $56,771 — $40,000 of that transferred from her old state Senate campaign account.

Those numbers are sure to be dwarfed when disclosures are filed by other Republican candidates. (The filing deadline is midnight tonight.)  Back in July, Randy Boyd reported $2.3 million in donations while Williamson County businessman Bill Lee had $1.4 million. (Beth Harwell and Diane Black had not entered the race at that time..)

Here are some emailed comments from other candidates on Beavers exit from the campaign:

U.S. Rep. Diane Black: “While Mae and I don’t always agree on tactics, we have always agreed on philosophy, and I’ve always known her to be a dedicated conservative who fights for what she believes in. From our time in the state legislature fighting to protect the unborn and to stop a state income tax, we know the conservative movement is stronger when we are fighting for the same cause together. I wish Mae the best and hope that she will continue to be active in the fight in Tennessee.”

Former ECD Commissioner Randy Boyd: “Sen. Beavers and I got to know each other during my time as ECD Commissioner and I applaud her efforts to serve Tennessee with passion and a conservative vision. Jenny and I wish Sen. Beavers and her family the best as they move on to the next chapter.”

House Speaker Beth Harwell: “I want to thank Mae Beavers for her steadfast commitment to conservative values, and for her years of service to the state of Tennessee. I wish her the best in her retirement, and I know she will continue to be a voice for conservative values in our state.”

Williamson County businessman Bill Lee (Tweet): “I’ve enjoyed getting to know @MaeBeavers and Jerry on the campaign trail over the past year. I look forward to seeing her steadfast conservative leadership be put to work in other ways in Tennessee in the months and years ahead.”

Excerpt from The Tennessean’s report:

During the short-lived campaign, Beavers’ staff underwent several personnel changes, going through at least three spokespeople. 

Despite frequently making headlines during her time in office, Beavers’ gubernatorial campaign failed to gain much attention, which in part may have been the result of her decision to resign from the state Senate, where she had served since 2002.

The decision to resign from the Senate allowed her to raise money during the legislative session — lawmakers face a fundraising blackout period when the General Assembly meets. 

A staunch conservative, particularly on social issues, Beavers emulated President Donald Trump’s rhetoric during her campaign, vowing to “drain the swamp” in Tennessee.

At the 2016 Republican National Convention, Beavers served as the head of Tennessee’s delegation, announcing the state’s nomination of Trump on the convention floor.

As she campaigned for governor, she vowed to repeal the state’s recently approved gas tax increase, fight for additional Second Amendment rights and remove “burdensome” regulations on businesses.

Most recently, Beavers made headlines when she unsuccessfully tried to host a summit at Trevecca Nazarene University with controversial speakers who critics said had anti-Muslim views.

Note: For a comparison, state Sen. Mark Pody, who won a December special election to succeed Beavers in the state Senate, reported spending more during his short campaign ( 61,260) with no primary opponent than Beavers did in six months of campaigning ($56,771). Pody raised $104,887 from contributions.

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