Tennessee's Next Governor | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee's Next Governor

Chas Sisk / WPLN

The topic of abortion has begun to rise in prominence in the race for Tennessee governor.

Two candidates in particular — the Republicans Diane Black and Randy Boyd — are showcasing their positions on the issue in ads and mailers.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

A recurring theme over the past several years has been sparring between the Republican-controlled state legislature and Tennessee's more liberal big cities. They've staked out positions on issues like LGBT rights, living wages and immigration, only to have them undone by lawmakers.

Emily Siner / WPLN

President Donald Trump is scheduled to arrive in Nashville Tuesday afternoon, prompting road closures and heightened security around Municipal Auditorium, where the rally is to take place.

The event is being put together by Trump's political organization, and it seems to be aimed at bolstering Tennessee candidates — perhaps two in particular.

TN Photo Services

Narrowing the education gap will be one challenge facing whoever becomes Tennessee's next governor.

Students in the state are doing better in math and reading, but black and Hispanic students aren't improving as fast as their white counterparts.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN (File photo)

About 315,000 people in the state are immigrants. That's works out to about one in 20 Tennesseans.

How other people feel about those newcomers has become one of the most polarizing questions among voters.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

The push to require Medicaid recipients to get jobs has at least some support from everyone running to be Tennessee governor — even the Democrats.

Campaign ad screenshots via YouTube

The primary elections for governor are still months away, but Tennesseans have already gotten a taste of it.

The Republican candidates to follow Governor Bill Haslam have been hitting television sets with some high-profile ads. Experts on political advertising say these first pitches to Tennessee voters are among the most important of the campaign.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Eight years ago, when Republicans were outside the White House, their political advertising in Tennessee largely stuck to a single formula.

"You would take a picture of the Democratic candidate. Put a picture of Barack Obama on one side," says Kent Syler, a professor of political science at Middle Tennessee State University. "You know, throw in some Nancy Pelosi. And link them to that national ticket."

It worked. But Democrats are unlikely use the same playbook to turn Tennessee voters against the GOP.

The Tennessean

In recent years, one of the biggest debates in Tennessee has been whether to give families vouchers for their children to attend private schools.

But after state lawmakers' failed attempts to get a plan through, interest in the issue among the candidates for governor seems to be diminishing.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

This year's race for governor has one less contender.

Mt. Juliet Republican Mae Beavers announced on Facebook Tuesday that she's suspending her campaign. The move follows signs that the former state senator had been lagging far behind the other top Republicans.

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