Harwell’s run for governor announced — by fellow former GOP chair on Facebook

House Speaker Beth Harwell, who has for month acknowledged interest in running for governor next year without making a public decision, has told former Tennessee Republican Chair Susan Richardson Williams that she is getting into the race, reports the Times-Free Press.

Williams, who now runs a public relations firm in Knoxville, used her Facebook page to announce Harwell’s decision. Harwell is also a former state GOP chair.

“Just got a call from Speaker Beth Harwell to let me know she is running for Governor next year too!” wrote Williams. “Let the games begin! Wow!”

Asked to elaborate, Williams said in an email she had “nothing more than [Harwell’s] call to let me know she was running” to share. “I congratulated her and said I was happy that we may have at least two women in the race. I have too many friends in this race!!!”

A Harwell spokesman did not respond to a Times Free Press email about Williams’ Facebook post Saturday.

Harwell has more than $1 million in a campaign account she can draw on to run for governor. She has openly stated she’s looking at a race, and many expect her to run.

Note: Actually, the most recent disclosures show the speaker has a bit less than $1 million in her state House reelection campaign account, which can be used directly in a race for governor. But she has another $826,298 in her PAC, which can’t all go directly into a campaign for governor – but can be helpful for such an effort.

The Harwell funds combined, however, won’t come close to matching self-spending by potential mulit-millionaire candidates for the GOP nomination – Randy Boyd, who has begun his campaign; Franklin businessman Bill Lee, who says he’s very interested; and U.S. Rep. Diane Black, who – as with Harwell – has been indicating an interest but not announcing as she serves as House Budget Committee chair.




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