GOP holds carefully choreographed ‘unity’ press conference

Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Lee speaks at a unity press conference in Nashville on Aug. 4, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican candidates gathered in Nashville on Saturday to profess unity among their ranks following a divisive primary season. The media event preceding a closed-door lunch hosted by Senate nominee Marsha Blackburn featured no speeches from the defeated gubernatorial candidates. No questions were taken and none of the losing congressional candidates were in attendance.

Putting a lid on the unsuccessful candidates avoided a repeat of the 2010 event in which losing gubernatorial candidate Zach Wamp took some not-so-subtle swipes at the nominee, Bill Haslam. But keeping the defeated candidates from speaking their minds didn’t exactly project organic unity building within the ranks.

Trump wades into TN governor’s race following primary

That Trump endorsement that Diane Black wanted so badly has gone to Bill Lee. But not until the Republican gubernatorial contest was already settled.

State GOP congratulates GOP nominee

A statement from state Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden:

We congratulate Bill Lee on his victory tonight as the Republican nominee for governor, and we commend the other candidates on a hard-fought race. Bill has the experience, skills, and temperament to be a terrific governor, and he will unify Republicans ahead of the general election victory this November. We look forward to working with Bill across the state to ensure he is the 50th Governor of Tennessee.

And from Gov. Bill Haslam:

Congratulations to Bill Lee on winning the Republican nomination for Tennessee governor. Bill is a man of strong faith and character, and I know he will lead Tennessee in the right direction. He has long been a supporter of Tennessee’s business-friendly environment, and he is committed to the education and development of the state’s workforce. Bill has demonstrated that he will put the needs of Tennesseans at the forefront of any decision he makes as governor of our great state.

And from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander:

Congratulations to Bill Lee on tonight’s victory. As I’ve often said, there is no better job than being governor of your home state, especially if that state is Tennessee. I look forward to working with Bill to continue Governor Haslam’s excellent leadership of our state.

Democrats ‘ready to hit ground running’

A release from state Democrats:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After the polls closed on primary election night in Tennessee, Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini released the following statement:

Tennessee voters came out in full force tonight to exercise their right to vote and make their voices heard around the state,” Mancini said. “All across the Volunteer state, our message is resonating: That no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you live, you deserve the opportunity to create a better life for yourself and your family. We are so grateful to each and every Democratic candidate who stepped up to run for office and had their name on the ballot yesterday. And we’re excited to have our fantastic slate of strong candidates solidified — from Phil Bredesen for U.S. Senate, to Karl Dean for governor, to the largest group of Democratic legislative candidates we’ve seen in decades. We’re headed into the general election with a renewed commitment to get every possible Democratic voter to the polls on November 6. These midterm elections are bound to be one of the most important of our time, and we’re looking forward to rebuilding Tennessee together when we elect more Democrats this fall.

Blackburn statement on winning Senate nomination

Marsha Blackburn statement on winning the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate:

Chuck and I are so grateful for the support shown to our campaign by so many volunteers from across the state. Today is a milestone and the beginning of the general election, and I am so grateful you are entrusting me with the Republican nomination for United States Senate. We ask for your continued support as we work to earn every single vote and win in November.

Bredesen statement on winning Senate nomination

A release from Democratic Senate nominee Phil Bredesen:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After the polls closed on Thursday night, Governor Phil Bredesen became the official Democratic nominee to be Tennessee’s next U.S. Senator. Governor Bredesen addressed supporters statewide directly through Facebook Live video and laid out why he’s applying for the job.

Below is a transcript of Governor Bredesen’s remarks:

“This is not someplace I ever thought I’d be again when I left the Governor’s office here on election night being on the ballot and actually it’s a very good feeling. Back last October when this possibility first came up, and Andrea and I started talking about it, it was a little bit of a tough decision, and I’m at that point in life where if I’m successful at this I’ll spend a lot of the rest of my life getting on a plane and going to Washington and working on these things, so it’s gotta be for something important.

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Karl Dean: ‘Best days still ahead of us’

A release from Democrat Karl Dean’s campaign:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  — Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean won the Democratic nomination for governor tonight in an overwhelming victory with close to 80 percent of the vote. 

Dean enters the general election with strong momentum, as evidenced by recent finance reports and public polling that showed him in the lead in both fundraising and voter support. 

After speaking with his primary opponent by phone, Dean took the stage at an election night party this evening to thank his supporters and highlight the importance of staying focused on the issues that matter to Tennesseans. 

“I am honored to be the Democratic nominee for governor, but we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us. The next three months we will be solely focused on listening to voters in all 95 counties,” Dean said. 

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Lee statement on winning GOP gov’s nonmination

A release from the Bill Lee campaign:

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Today, voters in the Republican primary handed Bill Lee a resounding victory for the Republican nomination for governor. The following is a statement from Bill Lee:

Today is a victory for Tennesseans who want an outsider, for people who want Tennessee not only to be an even better place to live for six and a half million people, but for Tennessee to lead the nation. Tonight, we celebrate, but tomorrow we get back to work. We’re going to finish this campaign the way we started it: 95 Counties in 95 Days. Thank you for believing in us. See you soon!

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Secretary of State guide to Thursday’s elections

A release from Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennesseans will head to the polls across the state Thursday to vote in the Aug. 2 primary.

626,894 Tennesseans voted in person or absentee during the two-week early voting period which ended Saturday, July 28, 2018. A comprehensive breakdown from the Division of Elections shows how this turnout compares to past election years.

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Meet the nicer, gentler (but still tough) Diane Black

Republican gubernatorial candidate Diane Black’s latest TV ad addresses the question about why she has been “so tough” in her campaign.

Popcorn in hand, Black says: “I figure, if I make tough choices as governor, maybe our grand-kids’ generation won’t have it so tough when they grow up.” She then hands said popcorn over to some kids playing dominoes and urges voters to “hang tough with me.”

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