Wilson won’t run for another term as comptroller. Is the fix in for Mumpower?

Comptroller Justin Wilson, second from right, presides over a State Funding Board meeting on Jan. 21, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

With about a month left in his term, Comptroller Justin Wilson has made the surprise announcement he won’t seek a seventh term. Wilson, who was first elected to the position after Republicans gained an overall majority in the General Assembly in 2008, said he is endorsing his longtime deputy Jason Mumpower to succeed him.

“While the decision is yours, I am pleased to offer Jason my full and wholehearted endorsement to serve as Tennessee’s 35th Comptroller of the Treasury,” Wilson said.

While Wilson’s support for Mumpower is unsurprising — the two often parade around the legislative office complex in matching costumes — the last-minute timing is causing some gnashing of teeth in the Cordell Hull Building. With the holiday season upon us and the ongoing pandemic wreaking havoc on government activities, the deck will be stacked against any other candidate trying to drum up support for a rival bid.

A joint convention of the House and Senate elects the comptroller, meaning the lower chamber, where there are 73 Republicans, has the numerical advantage over the 27 GOP senators.

Here is Wilson’s letter to lawmakers:

Dear Members of the 112th General Assembly,

I write to you today with a tremendous sense of pride. Tennessee is doing just great.

For the last 12 years, I have commended you, the General Assembly, for your focus on the fundamentals of our financial strength. Our state continues to provide essential services to Tennesseans while remaining committed to low taxes, low debt, and strong financial management.

Tennessee’s fiscal stability has proven critically important as we have dealt with the economic challenges and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

Tennessee is well positioned for the future. As I have contemplated my own future, I have determined that now is the time for me to step aside. Although it has been my wonderful privilege to serve as your Comptroller, I will not seek a seventh term.

The General Assembly will have an important choice to make in January. I have encouraged Deputy Comptroller Jason Mumpower to seek election to the Office. While the decision is yours, I am pleased to offer Jason my full and wholehearted endorsement to serve as Tennessee’s 35th Comptroller of the Treasury.

Jason is the right person to lead our committed effort to provide independent audits, objective research, and most of all, conservative fiscal management. I know he cares deeply about our state and the Comptroller’s Office. Please join me in supporting Jason as Tennessee’s next Comptroller.

I do believe our Office is carrying out its mission to Make Government Work Better. It is a joy and an adventure to serve our state.

Sincerely, Your Beloved,

/signed/

Justin P. Wilson

9 Responses to Wilson won’t run for another term as comptroller. Is the fix in for Mumpower?

  • Avatar
    MARLE says:

    All university systems have 2 Major problems each of which could be solved with technology. One is cost; the second is the stranglehold Liberals have over the teaching profession.

    Here’s hoping that some improvement in both of those issues can be resolved with new blood.

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    A little bit of a republican dirty trick by Wilson trying to palm off his choice for a replacement with his hand chosen one, just by announcing his resignation at the precise time that anyone else will have no time to prepare to run. A “minor dirty trick” no doubt but the republicans take every advantage they can to muddy the waters in their favor, even against their own.

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    Tim Skow says:

    Hard to call such an announcement “a Republican dirty trick” … WHEN the DEMs in the TN Legislature simply DO NOT MATTER when it comes to anything of substance, importance or merit.

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      Beatrice Shaw says:

      What a terrible thing to say!! Dems RUN this country now (Thank GOD) and Tennesseans will end up getting left overs if they don’t play nice!

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    Perry Aubric says:

    Justin Wilson, as far as I have ever known or experienced, was a competent and conscientious Comptroller. It is an important and complicated position. Since Mumpower has been his assistant, has real hands-on experience in the duties of the office (experience matters, see: “incompetent governor in over his head” for reference), and presumably has prepared himself to perform his duties in the same way, I have no reason to believe there is any particular reason to oppose him.

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    Although he got where he is courtesy of the “Defeated Republican Politician Tennessee State Government Cushy Job Plan”, I don’t think he has performed badly. Certainly not nearly as bad as our Governor. Elect him as Wilson’s replacement and move on.

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