Top GOP gubernatorial contenders speak at Rutherford Reagan Day dinner

Sign outside Tennessee Governor's Office (WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – If you want to hear more about the Republicans who have either announced or thinking about being Tennessee’s next Governor, the Rutherford County Reagan Day dinner Thursday evening is the place to be.

There’s a glossy flyer being distributed by the county’s GOP chair Donna Rowland Barrett that says three of the announced candidates and four potential ones will speak at the dinner.

“They have all indicated they will be there,” says Barrett who previously spent a decade representing parts of Rutherford County in the Tennessee House.

Those attending include State Senator Mark Green who got in the governor’s race then suspended his campaign while being considered for Secretary of Army under President Trump before withdrawing his name during a controversial nomination process. Also speaking is former state economic development director Randy Boyd, who was the second Republican to announce his candidacy. Franklin businessman Bill Lee, who is also scheduled to be there, is the latest announced GOP candidate.

Four prominent Tennessee figures who have mentioned their interest while not declaring yet, including House Speaker Beth Harwell, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, Senator Mae Beavers, and Middle Tennessee congressional member Diane Black. All of them have been bumping into each other at various Republican events statewide.
“It’s like the runway at Chicago O’Hare where the planes are all stacked up in the morning, ready to take off,” joked longtime Middle Tennessee conservative commentator Steve Gill.

As a former politician who once narrowly lost a congressional bid, he knows what each of potential must think about before entering or staying in what will be a costly Tennessee governor’s race.

It’s all about money,” Gill said. “Some people say money talks in politics. Money screams in politics and you have Randy Boyd and Diane Black who are self-funders and could easily put 15 million dollars in a statewide race.”

And that is just for the Republicans. Democrats make their pitch Friday at their annual statewide dinner in Nashville.

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