Lee raises more than $3M for re-election bid

Bill Lee delivers his inaugural address in Nashville on Jan. 19, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee will report raising more than $3 million in the period covering the second half of 2021, The Tennessee Journal has learned. The Republican had about $5 million on hand as he began his re-election year.

Lee partially self-funded his 2018 gubernatorial bid. He’s not expected to report any loans to his re-election campaign.

Lee has yet to attract an opponent for the GOP nomination. Several Democrats have announced plans to run against him, including Nashville physician Jason Martin and Memphis City Council member JB Smiley Jr.

Lee last summer reported raising $3.6 million since being elected governor in 2018 and spending $1.85 million over the same period. Lee’s biggest donor since his defeat of Democrat Karl Dean was the Pharma Tennessee PAC, which had given $47,600 through July. Next were $24,600 each from St. Louis-based managed care company Centene and the PACs of H.G. Hill Realty and the David Volkert & Associates construction engineering firm.

The Butler Snow law firm’s PAC has ponied up $20,900, while Amazon and the HDR architecture and construction services company of Brentwood kicked in another $20,000.

The deadline to submit the most recent campaign finance reports is Monday, which is the same day the governor is scheduled to deliver the final State of the State address of his first term in office.