Big Name Enters Crowded Race For Tennessee Governor | Nashville Public Radio

Big Name Enters Crowded Race For Tennessee Governor

Aug 2, 2017

One of the richest and most recognizable Republican names floating around next year’s gubernatorial race has officially entered.

Diane Black made a Facebook post around 3 a.m. Wednesday, marking the U.S. representative’s long anticipated arrival into an already crowded GOP field.

Black enters the race as the favorite to win the Republican nomination. She's better-known statewide than any other candidate, she's personally wealthy and she's an experienced fundraiser, so she might convince some people in the race to drop out.

But the big question will be whether Republican voters still connect with her after four terms in Congress. Already a Republican opponent is implying Black is a "moderate" — a label she'll try to avoid in the primary.

In a video posted on her new campaign website, Black laid out her beliefs which she says stand in stark contrast to “Hollywood, Washington and liberals.”

“We believe in absolute truths. Right is right. Wrong is wrong. Truth is truth. God is God and a life Is a life," she says. "We don’t back down from any of it.”

In a poll earlier this year, Black earned the highest marks for name recognition of any GOP gubernatorial candidate, edging out former economic development commissioner Randy Boyd, businessman Bill Lee, House Speaker Beth Harwell and state Sen. Mae Beavers who have all previously announced.

Black also likely has deeper pockets than any of her rivals, and according to projections she may need them. This race is expected to be the most expensive state campaign ever mounted.

Black is a fervent supporter of Donald Trump and her latest social media posts confirm her commitment to defund Planned Parenthood, ban sanctuary cities and fund the building of a border wall.

Black is currently  the chair of the House Budget Committee but congressional rules say she will likely have to step down from that position as she pursues the governor’s post.