Tennessee's Next Governor | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee's Next Governor

Early voting for the gubernatorial primaries starts Friday, July 13, and Election Day is Aug. 2. We've been asking the candidates about their stances on issues and how they're strategizing their campaigns. Scroll down to see the questions we've asked.

Bill Lee for Tennessee/Karl Dean for Governor

Over the past year, WPLN has been asking the candidates for governor where they stand on topics important to Tennessee voters.

Now that former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat, and Williamson County businessman Bill Lee, a Republican, have clinched their parties' nominations, we're pulling their answers together. Read on to see what they think about a dozen key issues.

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.

Meribah Knight / WPLN

Williamson County businessman Bill Lee was the surprise winner of the Republican primary for governor Thursday night.

The Christian conservative and owner of the Lee Co. beat out former Economic Development Commissioner Randy Boyd, Congressman Diane Black and House Speaker Beth Harwell.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Election Day has arrived again in Middle Tennessee — this time with primaries for state offices and general elections at the local level.

Meribah Knight / WPLN

Update 9:30 p.m.

Beth Harwell, Diane Black and Bill Lee have all conceded the race for governor to Bill Lee. Harwell and Black spoke to their campaign parties around 9 p.m. Central, and a spokesman for Lee says Boyd has called to admit defeat.

Craig Fitzhugh
Stephen Jerkins/WPLN (File photo)

After the school shootings in Benton, Ky., and Parkland, Fla., this year, Tennessee legislators debated how to tighten up the state's gun laws. They wound up setting aside more money for school security, without passing any significant gun legislation. 

But some voters still say they'd like to see more action, so we asked the candidates for governor:

"What do you see as the key to preventing mass shootings?"

Donn Jones Photography / courtesy NHCC

Tennessee's next governor could likely oversee a sizeable legal settlement with drug makers related to the opioid crisis. But when the state got a windfall from a settlement with tobacco companies in 1998, very little of the money went into programs that help farmers stop producing tobacco or help people quit smoking.

Randy Boyd for Governor (submitted)

Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd has been one of Governor Bill Haslam's most trusted advisers. Now, Boyd wants to follow in Haslam’s footsteps all the way to the state Capitol.

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.

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