Democrat Dean running to succeed Haslam, ‘a very good governor’

After months of touring the state in preparation, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has declared he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018. He made the announcement to The Tennessean with the story running in Gannet-owned newspapers statewide on Sunday. An excerpt:

Dean, mayor of Nashville from 2007 to 2015, said he intends to file paperwork Monday to appoint Calvin Anderson, a former executive of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee from Memphis, his campaign treasurer. Doing so will allow him to begin raising money for his campaign in the 2018 race to replace Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

…“Everybody understands that somebody running as a Democrat enters the race with certain disadvantages,” Dean said. “Or maybe a better way to say it is Republicans have a lot of advantages. I appreciate that this will be the hardest thing that I have ever done. I don’t have any illusions about that.”

… Dean said he believes many Tennesseans from both parties favor the middle over party extremes.

He’s looking to stake out the sort of centrist lane that helped catapult Democrats’ most recent statewide officeholder, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who also was an ex-mayor of Nashville. For now, Dean is avoiding partisan attacks. In fact, Dean called Haslam, a Republican, a “very good governor” and he declined to offer a single criticism of the sitting governor when asked.

“I think I’m a moderate,” Dean said, claiming support of Democrats and Republicans as mayor, which was a nonpartisan office. “My sense is good things happen when you’re in the middle of the road. That’s where you can find agreement and move things forward.

…Dean sometimes butted heads with Democrats over his support of publicly financed, privately led charter schools. He’s also not allied with labor unions, a key Democratic constituency. He instead has closer ties to the business community and Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

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