The Tri-Star State | Nashville Public Radio

The Tri-Star State

What’s happening in Tennessee politics? Nashville Public Radio reporters break down what you need to know at the state capitol and beyond — in just a few minutes. 

Bill Lee for Tennessee/Karl Dean for Governor

One of the first major polls of the Tennessee governor’s race shows a pretty sizeable advantage for the Republican nominee. But it also highlights a question being asked across the state: Who are these guys?

A recent poll found that more than a quarter of likely voters are either unsure about or have never even heard of Williamson County businessman Bill Lee. Nearly a third are unfamiliar with former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.

Screenshot of Republican Convention / TN Photo Services

In public appearances and small campaign gatherings, former Governor Phil Bredesen and Congressman Marsha Blackburn have been offering a few competing ideas for dealing with the opioid crisis.

Chas Sisk / WPLN (File photo)

Karl Dean oversaw some big projects during his eight years as Nashville's mayor: a $600 million dollar convention center, a new minor league baseball park, an amphitheater by the Cumberland River.

They left a clear legacy. But they've also been sources of contention.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Williamson County businessman Bill Lee has never held political office. But he says running the home services company that bears his name is preparation enough to lead Tennessee's executive branch.

And after winning the Republican nomination for governor, Lee is just one step away from putting that theory to the test.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

The big story coming out of the primaries was the surprising victory of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee. The Williamson County businessman seemed to surge late but the seeds of his win may have been sewn in some of the race’s earliest days.

Throughout the campaign, Lee portrayed himself as the upbeat outsider and let his opponents duke it out with attack ads.

Nashville Public Radio's Jason Moon Wilkins and Chas Sisk talk about that strategy — and why it seemed to work.

Chas Sisk / WPLN (File photo)

Republican businessman Bill Lee wasn't known to many Tennesseans before this year's race for governor. He'd been a major fundraiser for the GOP. But he'd never run for public office of any kind.

Lee touts that as a virtue.

In the latest in a series of interviews with the six leading candidates for governor, Lee sat down with WPLN's Chas Sisk.

Courtesy of Karl Dean for Governor

Gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean is trying to present himself as a moderate. Not too business-centric for his base in the Democratic primaries, not too liberal to offend the Republican voters he'd need if he gets the nomination.

WPLN's Emily Siner spoke with the former mayor of Nashville about this delicate dance that would likely have to continue if he were elected governor.

Courtesy of Diane Black for Governor

The Republican gubernatorial candidate with the most name recognition is Congressman Diane Black, polls have shown. And if elected, she would be the first woman to hold the position of governor.

But that isn't what she talks about to voters. Instead, she touts close ties to President Trump and fierce opposition to illegal immigration.

WPLN's Emily Siner spoke with Black about what messages she's decided to emphasize in her campaign. And Emily talked through the conversation with her colleague Jason Moon Wilkins.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

Republican Beth Harwell has the most political experience of anyone running for Tennessee governor this year but she’s trailing in the polls and far behind in fundraising. We asked Harwell about how she plans to separate herself from the field of well-financed rivals in the GOP primary.

She spoke about her legislative experience with WPLN's Emily Siner, who talks about the conversation with her colleague Jason Moon Wilkins in this episode of The Tri-Star State.

Courtesy of Fitzhugh for Tennessee

Democrat Craig Fitzhugh has been a prominent figure in Tennessee politics for more than two decades, but the state has changed around him quite a bit. When he started as a state representative, he was in the majority. Now, he's running for governor in a state that votes overwhelmingly Republican.

Pages