“Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, said she is in the early stages of a possible run at the state’s top position after the leading conservative candidate might be headed to the nation’s capitol,” the Lebanon Democrat reported on Monday.
If State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) becomes the next Secretary of the Army, as many insiders expect will be the case, State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) will be the only potential or announced GOP candidate for Governor who opposes the gas tax increase.
“Beavers said the idea to run for governor emerged recently after several phone calls and comments from supporters, many of which she spoke with at the recent Wilson County Republican Party Convention,” the Lebanon Democrat noted.
“I said on Friday I would throw out the idea and see what happens,” Beavers told the Lebanon Democrat.
“Sen. Green was the most conservative candidate. A lot of people felt the need to support a candidate who shares similar views,” she added.
When the State Senate Transportation Committee passed an amended version of Gov. Haslam’s Improve Act last week that raised the gas tax by 6 cents per gallon rather than 7 cents per gallon, Beavers was the sole no vote.
All seven of her other colleagues on the committee who were present at the hearing voted yes.
Green has publicly stated he opposes the gas tax increase.
Randy Boyd, the only announced candidate for the GOP nomination, has indicated his support for Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase proposal.
Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), who reportedly told a close confidante she is running for governor, clearly support’s Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase proposal.
Another potential candidate, Rep. Diane Black, has made no public comment as to whether she favors of opposes a gas tax.
As the likelihood increased that Green will be in Washington soon, rather than mounting a campaign for governor here in Tennessee, conservative across the state have been casting around for a potential replacement to carry the conservative banner in the 2018 GOP Gubernatorial campaign.
A number of names have been thrown out as possibilities, most of them long shots.
The problem for conservatives is to find a credible candidate who can raise enough money–likely around $15 million–to win.
Beavers clearly is a credible candidate with well established conservative bona fides. Her long record of conservative voting in the Tennessee General Assembly, coupled with her recent chairmanship of the Trump campaign in Tennessee, are a testimony to that.
But her ability to raise the $15 million to win is in question.
Also, at 69, Beavers may not have the energy and stamina needed for the grueling 16 hour days an underdog candidate would need to put in to win.
Anyone watching Beavers as she walked quickly through the State Capitol on Tuesday, however, saw a politician moving through the halls of power with grace and purpose.