WKRN is reporting that Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) may be in the race for the Republican nomination for governor as early as Sunday.
“Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell has been quietly calling people over the last week telling them she is definitely running for governor,” WKRN reported late Saturday:
News 2 has been told by several state and local officeholders that the longtime Republican Nashville lawmaker is looking for their support in a 2018 gubernatorial bid.
One of the public officials says a formal announcement could come as early as Sunday from Harwell who is the first woman ever elected as House speaker in Tennessee.
The announcement has long been expected as Harwell has attended a variety of local political events all over the state in recent months.
There have been rumors for some time that Harwell would announce a run for governor, but she has yet to pull the trigger on the race.
Back in the spring, one of her close allies let slip that she would be announcing for governor soon, but that announcement did not come.
This time, most political observers believe it is likely that Harwell will jump in the race soon, simply due to the campaign calendar. Given the fundraising requirements to mount a credible campaign for the August 2018 Republican primary, September 2017 is considered the very latest a credible candidate could enter the race and still have a chance of winning.
A Tennessee Star Poll conducted back in June shows that the race for the Republican nomination for governor is wide open, with no candidate receiving more than 10 percent of the vote among likely Republican voters, and more than 60 percent of those voters still undecided.
That poll included seven potential candidates, two of whom–State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) and State Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville)–will not not be running.
Green publicly stated last month he will not be running for governor.
Last week Norris was nominated by President Trump to become a federal judge.