Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee donated $500 to Megan Barry’s Mayoral campaign in May 2015, according to public records obtained by The Tennessee Star.
The Williamson County businessman’s donation of $500 to Friends of Megan Barry on May 21, 2015 came two months before the August 2015 election for Mayor of Metro Nashville/Davidson County between Barry, David Fox, and real estate developer Bill Freeman.
Though the race was technically “non-partisan,” the battle quickly became highly partisan, with progressive Democrats rallying around Barry, conservatives and Republicans supporting Fox, and more moderate Democrats gravitating to Freeman.
No candidate gained enough votes in the general election to claim the mayor’s job, so a runoff between the top two vote getters–Barry and Fox–was held the following month in September.
Barry defeated Fox in that runoff, 55 percent to 45 percent, and was sworn in as Mayor of Nashville/Davidson County on September 25, 2015.
The Lee campaign confirmed Lee’s $500 donation to Barry, and provided The Star with a statement on the issue late Thursday.
“Bill doesn’t support Megan Barry. A few years ago a client asked him to give $500 to her campaign and he did. Politicians make political decisions. Businessmen – including Donald Trump – make business decisions,” an advisor to the Lee campaign told The Star.
Lee is one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor in the August 2018 primary.
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06), Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, and Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) are also vying to become the GOP standard bearer.