Beavers resigning state Senate seat; expanding gubernatorial campaign team

News release from Sen. Mae Beavers

MT. JULIET, TN – Tennessee State Senator and conservative Republican candidate for Governor Mae Beavers has announced that she will resign her seat in the legislature effective Friday, September 1st at noon. Beavers also disclosed key additions to her gubernatorial campaign team.

“It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing that next Wednesday (August 30th) at noon, I plan to deliver a letter to Governor Bill Haslam and Lt. Governor Randy McNally informing them that I am resigning from the State Senate,” Beavers said. “My travels across our state to campaign for Governor should not deprive the taxpayers of the 17th Senatorial District of the devoted and consistent conservative representation they have come to expect.” By resigning now, a special election can take place later this year and ensure that the 17th District has a “fully focused representative in place the day that session begins.”

Since 2003, Beavers has represented the 17th District, composed of Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, and Wilson (and previously Sumner and Trousdale) counties. Previously, she represented Wilson County as county commissioner from 1990-1994 and then as a state representative from 1994 through 2002. Beavers has consistently been recognized as one of the most conservative and effective legislators throughout her public service. She also received the most statewide votes as delegate for President Donald Trump during the 2016 Republican presidential primary and was chosen as Tennessee Delegation Chairman by her fellow delegates to the Republican National Convention.

“It has been a honor to serve in the Tennessee Senate for almost fifteen years,” continued Beavers. “It is therefore with a heavy heart, but also with great excitement, that I resign my Senate seat and look forward to a new phase in my campaign to be Tennessee’s next Governor. I have always taken my duties in the state legislature extremely seriously, and I have concluded that it is simply not possible for anyone to run a statewide grassroots campaign while effectively serving during legislative session.”

Beavers also announced key additions to her campaign organization saying, “I’ve been blessed to be able to assemble a top-tier team of conservative talent.”

Emerging Horizon Group will helm the campaign as general consultant. The group’s principal, Mike Shirley, has worked with the National Rifle Association, the Republican National Committee, Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, and Dr. Kelli Ward’s closely watched primary challenge against John McCain in 2016. Stephen Sebastian, who most recently worked with former South Carolina Governor and now Congressman Mark Sanford, will serve as lead consultant on the race.

Osborne, Shell, & Miller Advertising, which will coordinate messaging and advertising for Beavers, has run more than one hundred political campaigns in Northeast Tennessee including Congressman Phil Roe’s historic upset victory in 2008, the first time in 58 years an incumbent congressman had been toppled in a Tennessee primary. Heavily outspent, Roe overcame a 43 point deficit in the polls in the final 5 weeks of the campaign to become the 1st District’s sole successful primary challenger since 1930 who had not previously held the seat.

The Hines Digital team will handle online fundraising, advertising, organizing, and social media. Hines’ clients have included Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign, the Young Republicans National Committee, Young Americans for Liberty, and the Republican parties of California, Florida, Maryland, and Wyoming, Theresa May’s campaign for Prime Minister, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Before becoming a Republican, Hines helped develop Howard Dean’s pioneering digital strategy in the 2004 presidential race.

Capital Square Funding Group, whose team members have worked with Ron Paul, Chris McDaniel, Ted Cruz, and Roy Moore in various capacities, will be assisting Beavers with fundraising.

“Senator Beavers’ time in public service has been marked by dignity and decency and quiet but unwavering determination,” Sebastian said. “We’re confident that her concrete convictions and amazing accomplishments will cut through the avalanche of slick campaign season rhetoric and attract the kind of conservative firepower we’ll need to win.”

Beavers concluded, “We’re running a grassroots, citizen-powered campaign to hold the line for Tennessee’s future, and it’s resonating because of my record. There are more than enough conservative voters to elect a conservative Republican statewide for the first time in Tennessee’s history.”

Note: State Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, a longtime Beavers political ally, has already announced as a candidate to succeed her. Under state law, timing of the special election will depend on the schedule set by Gov. Bill Haslam in a “writ of election” issued after the vacancy becomes official, but the primary could come as early as late October with the general election before then end of the year. The legislative session starts in January.

Two other Republican state senators, Mark Norris of Collierville and Doug Overbey, say they will resign from their seats if confirmed by the U.S. Senate to nominations to  federal government positions by President Donald Trump. Norris has been nominated to become a U.S. District Court judge in West Tennessee; Overbey to become U.S. attorney for East Tennessee.

Insofar as gubernatorial campaign strategy goes, of course, Beavers’ resignation is a contrast to two of her competitors in the Republican primary, House Speaker Beth Harwell and U.S. Rep. Diane Black, who are both keeping their current seats during the campaign.

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