Tennessee's Next Governor | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee's Next Governor

Early voting for the gubernatorial race starts Wednesday, Oct. 17, and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Throughout the campaign, we've been asking the candidates about their stances on the issues and how they're strategizing their campaigns. Scroll down to see the questions we've asked, or see their answers summarized

Also, check out our interviews with Republican nominee Bill Lee and Democratic nominee Karl Dean:

TN Photo Services

Narrowing the education gap will be one challenge facing whoever becomes Tennessee's next governor.

Students in the state are doing better in math and reading, but black and Hispanic students aren't improving as fast as their white counterparts.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN (File photo)

About 315,000 people in the state are immigrants. That's works out to about one in 20 Tennesseans.

How other people feel about those newcomers has become one of the most polarizing questions among voters.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

The push to require Medicaid recipients to get jobs has at least some support from everyone running to be Tennessee governor — even the Democrats.

Campaign ad screenshots via YouTube

The primary elections for governor are still months away, but Tennesseans have already gotten a taste of it.

The Republican candidates to follow Governor Bill Haslam have been hitting television sets with some high-profile ads. Experts on political advertising say these first pitches to Tennessee voters are among the most important of the campaign.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Eight years ago, when Republicans were outside the White House, their political advertising in Tennessee largely stuck to a single formula.

"You would take a picture of the Democratic candidate. Put a picture of Barack Obama on one side," says Kent Syler, a professor of political science at Middle Tennessee State University. "You know, throw in some Nancy Pelosi. And link them to that national ticket."

It worked. But Democrats are unlikely use the same playbook to turn Tennessee voters against the GOP.

The Tennessean

In recent years, one of the biggest debates in Tennessee has been whether to give families vouchers for their children to attend private schools.

But after state lawmakers' failed attempts to get a plan through, interest in the issue among the candidates for governor seems to be diminishing.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

This year's race for governor has one less contender.

Mt. Juliet Republican Mae Beavers announced on Facebook Tuesday that she's suspending her campaign. The move follows signs that the former state senator had been lagging far behind the other top Republicans.

The Tennessean

Preschool programs and raising the pay for teachers both got votes of confidence, as five of the major candidates for governor lined up at Belmont University Tuesday night to discuss education.

Kristi Jones / Lipscomb

Candidates to be Tennessee's next governor agree on the seriousness of the opioid epidemic and that the state needs a more aggressive response. But there is some conflict on how to attack a pervasive drug problem.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

As a state lawmaker, Republican Mae Beavers frequently proposed legislation to do away with handgun carry permits. And as a candidate for governor, her position is unchanged.

She believes there are already enough strings attached to gun purchases, so the permit process is pointless.

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