Black forgoes free media in Chattanooga. UPDATE: She gets it anyway

A quick glance at this morning’s Chattanooga Times Free Press shows prominent play provided for a gubernatorial forum hosted by the paper on Monday night. Not benefiting from any of the free media: U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin), who has made a point of attending as few of these gubernatorial confabs as possible. 

The Black campaign has said since nearly the beginning of the race that the candidate isn’t interested in attending events in which she has to share the stage with Democrats. That’d be understandable if she was a constant target. But that’s not been the case so far.

State House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley and former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean are more interested in their own Democratic primary to pay much heed to what Black and the GOP candidates are doing. And as for the Republicans, House Speaker Beth Harwell and businessmen Randy Boyd and Bill Lee seem more than happy to tout their own messages (though occasionally dropping gentle barbs about dysfunction in Congress that might be seen as roundabout criticisms of Black).

Maybe Black feels secure enough in her position in the race that she can afford to sit out a major gubernatorial event in Southeast Tennessee. Or possibly she’s content to have her TV ads and own events do the talking for her.

Early voting gets underway in a little over two weeks, so it’ll soon become clear whether her avoidance strategy has been the right one.

UPDATE: It turns out Black was campaigning in the Tri-Cities area on Monday, and received some decent media coverage from the Times News of Kingsport and the Johnson City Press for her efforts.

“I’m going to do everything I need to do to let this great state know who I am,” Black said in Bristol. “I’m listening to them and I’m going to respond to the people I represent.”

UPDATE 2: Two days after Black’s snub of the Times Free Press gubernatorial forum, the paper ran a profile of her on the front page.

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