The conservative Free Press editorial page of The Chattanooga Times Free Press endorsed Bill Lee in the Republican gubernatorial race on Friday, the first day of early voting.
Clint Cooper, the Free Press page editor, said Tennessee Republicans have an “embarrassment of riches” in their primary, with four of six candidates being both competitive and conservative with “diverse backgrounds and unique strengths.”
Cooper cites Lee’s background as a business owner and farmer and having an outsider’s perspective on politics.
“We also appreciate that he has chosen not to be involved in what seems like daily negative campaign exchanges between perceived front-runners Randy Boyd, a Knoxville businessman whose ideas we also very much admire, and U.S. Rep. Diane Black,” Cooper said.
He continued, “Although recent independent polls on the campaign have been few, the man who terms himself the ‘conservative outsider’ appears to have momentum in the race. We hope that will allow voters who originally considered Boyd or Black to take a look at the seventh-generation Tennessean.”
Lee announced the endorsement in a press release on Friday.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press publishes the liberal Times and conservative Free Press editorial pages, a tribute to the city’s journalism heritage when there were competing newspapers.