Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06) has entered the race for the Republican nomination for governor of Tennessee.
Black posted the announcement that she is a candidate for the office on her Facebook page at about 3 a. m. on Wednesday morning.
You can see the video of her announcement here.
Black becomes the fifth major announced candidate for governor seeking the Republican nomination in 2018. The other candidates include Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, Williamson County businessman Bill Lee, State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville).
Former Nashville mayor Karl Dean is the only announced candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor so far.
With her significant financial resources, Black immediately joins the front of the pack.
“Diane Black’s entry into the Governor’s race is certainly not a surprise, although the timing and method of announcement is intriguing. The already crowded geography in Middle Tennessee now has four players while Randy Boyd has the Eastern third of the state to himself and West Tennessee is wide open. Although geographic considerations may not be as strong as in decades past, the relationships that each candidate brings from their home area is a factor,” media consultant and political analyst Steve Gill tells The Tennessee Star.
“With a second major self funder in the race, Boyd and Black could each spend $15 million to $20 million on the race and drown voters in a typhoon of ads and mail pieces. Boyd has already spent about a million dollars and Black will likely do the same thing quickly. The real question of the day is whether banks across the state can keep enough cash in their ATM machines to fill the needs of these two candidates,” Gill adds.
A Tennessee Star Poll conducted in early June “of 1,007 likely Tennessee Republican primary voters shows that the party’s nomination for governor in 2018 is wide open, as no announced or likely candidate has the support of more than 10 percent of likely voters. More than 60 percent are undecided.”
When asked “If the election was held today, who would you vote for governor of Tennessee,” and given seven possible candidates–State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) Congresswoman Diane Black, Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), Speaker of the Tennessee House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), Williamson County businessman Bill Lee, and State Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville)–the likely Tennessee Republican primary voters surveyed in the poll responded as follows:
60.9% — Don’t Know Undecided
9.9% — Diane Black
8.1% — Randy Boyd
6.3% — Mark Green
4.3% — Beth Harwell
4.1% — Bill Lee
3.9% — Mae Beavers
2.5% — Mark Norris
Of the seven likely candidates included in the June poll, two are no longer in the race and five have now announced.
State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) issued a statement later in June that he would not be a candidate for governor, though there is still a possibility that he could challenge Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) in the 2018 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate.
State Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) was nominated in July to become a federal judge by President Trump, so he will not be in the race.
Rep. Black currently serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee. Under House rules she is required to her resign her chairmanship now that she has announced she is running for another office.
It is unclear if Black will also resign her seat in the House of Representatives to focus on the race for governor. She is not required to do so under House rules, but maintaining a job in Washington, D.C. while running for governor of Tennessee may not be the most successful strategy for Black to win that office.
State Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma) has already announced that he is running for the Sixth Congressional District seat currently held by Black.
Here is a partial transcript of Black’s announcement video:
So what do you think the number one job for our next governor should be?
It’s simple. Fight for what’s right. Most people in politics say the right things, but they never fight for the right things. They’re too meek, or maybe even too weak. I’m Diane Black, and I don’t back down.
And maybe it’s because I grew up in a family where we had nothing, or maybe it’s because I was a single mom working in the night shift as a nurse. It’s just how I’m wired.
In Tennessee, we’re conservative, and we do things the right way, no matter what Hollywood or Washington thinks about it.