Former Gov. Bill Haslam reportedly met with Vice President Mike Pence to talk about possibly running for the Senate, and Pence encouraged him to make the bid, Politico reported.
Haslam has been interested in running for the seat being vacated next year by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN).
Haslam and Pence met Wednesday to talk about the potential run, WREG said. Haslam said he would decide sometime in this spring. U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) and Dr. Manish “Manny” Sethi have also shown interest in running, the station said.
Pence and Haslam drum up a friendship when Pence became governor of Indiana in 2013, and the men worked together as governors, WBIR said.
The vice president notwithstanding, Tennessee’s former governor may have worn out his welcome among conservatives. The Club for Growth Action, a conservative Super PAC, earlier in March released a video aimed at discouraging Haslam from running for Alexander’s seat, The Tennessee Star reported.
The video, titled “Dirty Laundry,” is available to watch here.
Club for Growth Action’s video shows what it alleges is a history of Haslam “profiting from his business interest, which had been infected with fraud, racist rants, and practices designed to exploit Hispanic and other customers.”
The PAC also launched a new website that lists what the group says are his “company’s long history of discriminatory business practices and incarcerated friends.”
Country music songwriter Stokes Nielson’s tweet about his podcast, “The Spirit of Humanity,” which raises questions about Haslam relative to gas tax increases, went viral with over a half million impressions within hours of its pre-release, The Star reported earlier this month.
Also, in January, Haslam joined several Never-Trumpers as “spring fellows” instructors at American University’s Sine Institute of Politics in Washington, D.C., The Star reported.
Haslam should fit in with a cast of Never-Trumpers at the university. He said last year that President Donald Trump should not endorse any gubernatorial candidate seeking to replace him, referring to Diane Black.
Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill at the time said, “If Haslam does run for the Senate he is clearly preparing to do so as an anti-Trump successor to former Senators Flake and Corker. He’s already auditioning for the part for the Establishment DC crowd with an off-Hill appearance at American University,” Gill said. “He will definitely get rave reviews from the Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN and Buzzfeed.”
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