WATCH: Top TN GOP candidates for governor face off in debate

(NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP) - For the latest stories and topics or to submit a question to ask the candidates or to see more videos from this debate go to

Learn more about the Tennessee governor’s race as the top Republican candidates meet for the Tennessee Governor Debate Series.  

The first in a series of three live debates will be televised Wednesday, April 18 at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central on ABC Tri-Cities and Nexstar stations across Tennessee. 

Wednesday’s debate features U. S. Congressman Diane Black (R-TN06), businessman Randy Boyd (R) and businessman Bill Lee (R). Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-TN56) was invited, but her campaign said she will not be participating because of her duties while the legislature is in session. 

The candidates will meet at the Halloran Centre in Memphis for the one-hour debate in front of a live audience. They will face questions about business and infrastructure, along with local and regional issues and candidate-specific topics. The debate is produced by WATN-TV in partnership with the Greater Memphis Chamber

Tennesseans can watch the candidates square off on Nexstar stations WATN-TV in Memphis, WKRN-TV in Nashville, WATE-TV in Knoxville,  ABC Tri-Cities, WJHL-TV, in Johnson City, WJKT-TV in Jackson and WZDX-TV in Huntsville. WTVC-TV in Chattanooga will also carry this debate, along with radio stations and Spanish language television stations across the state. 

The candidates have already learned who gets the first question. Representatives from the Lee, Black and Boyd campaigns met on April 10 to draw cards from a deck of playing cards. Bill Lee’s campaign drew an ace, the high card. That means he will stand stage right, and get the first question. The drawing took place at the studios of WKRN-TV in Nashville. 

Two more debates

Part two of the Tennessee Governor Debate Series will take place on June 20 at 8 ET/7 CT Nashville. The focus will be on legislative and crime issues.

The third debate will take place on July 20, 2018 at 8 ET/7 CT in Knoxville. It will focus on education and health care. You can watch the debate on ABC Tri-Cities (WJHL).

Nexstar Media Group, Inc. is producing and hosting the three-part statewide Tennessee Governor Debate Series.  

“The Tennessee Governor Debate Series is a unique opportunity for local voters to hear directly from the candidates on the issues that matter most to them before heading to the polls this summer,” said Tim Busch, President of Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. 

The statewide primary election is August 2, 2018. The general election is November 6. 


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