Tennessee GOP governor contenders appear for Reagan Day dinner


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WATE) – Any Republican who wants to get to the governor’s office will have to speak at a log of county Reagan Day dinners.

More than half of the Republicans who have announced or has thought of running for governor appeared together for the first time Thursday night at the annual Reagan Day dinner. Rutherford County Republicans heard from Randy Boyd and Bill Lee who announced their candidacy.

Congressman Scott DesJarlais, who is not running, assessed the governor’s race for the crowd.

“One piece of advice,” said DesJarlais, “Don’t talk to the Russians. None. Zip. Zero. Don’t talk to them.”

Lee showed up to the dinner in a billboard-like bus. The suburban Nashville businessman is introducing himself with his 95 counties in 95 days tour.

“I spent 20 years thinking about how to make life better for my 100 works and now I have decided to see what it’s like to make life better for 6.5 million people,” said Lee.

Knoxville-native and former state economic development commissioner Randy Boyd is the other announced gubernatorial candidate. The Knoxville native just received the endorsement of 22-East Tennessee mayors with a message aimed statewide.

“We are going to talk about the central message, which is making Tennessee the state of opportunity; opportunity of education, opportunity for better jobs, opportunity for everyone,” said Boyd.

Tennessee Congressman Diane Black is making a name for herself as the first woman to chair the House Budget Committee. Black says she was sent to Washington to repeal Obamacare, fight debt and do tax reform.

“That is what I went there for and I want to do my job and complete that,” said Black.

When asked about when she will make a decision about running for governor Black said she would make her decision after she completes her job in Washington.

Montgomery County State Senator Mark Green suspended his campaign for governor while being considered for Secretary of the Army, but withdrew after a controversial nomination process. He still hasn’t made a decision about running in the governor’s office, but said he plans to talk about the experience he just went through.

Green and at least three other potential candidates are expected to make a decision about running in the next week. Three of the potential candidates expected to speak did not attend. Tennessee House Speaker, Beth Harwell, cited a family emergency. Senators Mark Norris and Mae Beavers cited conflicts in their legislative districts.

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