In Surprise Upset, Businessman Bill Lee Wins Tennessee GOP Primary for Governor In Surprise Upset, Businessman Bill Lee Wins Tennessee GOP Primary for Governor – NTK Network

In Surprise Upset, Businessman Bill Lee Wins Tennessee GOP Primary for Governor

Rep. Diane Black was the favorite to win the seat, but polls showed Lee gaining on Black in recent weeks.

By NTK Staff | 08.03.2018 @11:00am
In Surprise Upset, Businessman Bill Lee Wins Tennessee GOP Primary for Governor

Businessman Bill Lee won a “bruising” primary Thursday evening for the Republican nomination for governor of Tennessee, defeating Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) and former state economic development commissioner Randy Boyd.

Lee spent less than either of his GOP opponents, according to CBS News, and touted his outsider status on the campaign trail:

Lee spent just $7 million through late July, a third of what former state economic development commissioner Randy Boyd shelled out and half of what U.S. Rep. Diane Black spent. In all, the Republican race to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Bill Haslam added up to a record-shattering $45 million-plus in spending.

Throughout his campaign, Lee touted himself as the race’s only conservative outsider, focused heavily on his relationship with Jesus Christ and talked about his cattle farm and his family business. He rode a tractor across the state to draw focus on rural issues.

Though Lee was ahead in the most recent poll conducted by JMC Analytics, Black led in an Emerson poll earlier in July. Black, who represents a congressional district in suburban Nashville, was widely expected to win the race when she entered, given her well-established name I.D. and vast personal wealth.

On the Democrat side, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean won his party’s nomination by outspending his opponent, Craig Fitzhugh, $4.4 million to $984,800. Dean spent $1.5 million of his own money, as well.

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