Beth Harwell | Nashville Public Radio

Beth Harwell

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.

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.

Martin Alonso / via Flickr

Tennesseans have softened their opposition to medical marijuana in recent years, and the candidates for governor reflect that change in public opinion.

Although none is calling to legalize cannabis outright, several say the state should consider allowing it for people who have serious health issues.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

The question of whether immigrants brought to the United States as children should qualify for in-state tuition has divided Tennessee Republicans in recent years.

But the five major GOP candidates for governor all see it the same way: They're against it.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

Tennessee’s Speaker of the House Beth Harwell announced this weekend that she is running for governor, widening the field and immediately setting off jockeying to succeed her.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

A Memphis-area lawmakers' sudden resignation has reignited a debate over sexual harassment at the Tennessee legislature.

First-term Representative Mark Lovell stepped down Tuesday, following an allegation he'd touched a woman inappropriately.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Nashville Republican Beth Harwell won a fourth term as speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, and Oak Ridge Sen. Randy McNally was elected speaker of the state Senate in a start to the 110th General Assembly that went as expected.

Harwell unanimously won re-election, as Republicans and Democrats aligned behind her. That's even though her previous term had been rocky. Harwell had opposed Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to expand Medicaid, known as Insure Tennessee, and she'd been criticized for her handling of sexual harassment complaints against Franklin Republican Jeremy Durham. Durham was eventually ousted in September.

Harwell was asked immediately afterward about her next race — including the possibility that she'll run for governor in 2018. She says she's not ready to make that decision.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

Republicans in the state House of Representatives have selected their next group of leaders, but the vote had some added drama, as one top lawmaker addressed rumors of infidelity.

GOP lawmakers elevated Franklin Republican Glen Casada to Majority Leader in a meeting Thursday afternoon at the Nashville City Club. The vote will make Casada the second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives after helping to build the GOP's 49-seat lead in that chamber.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

Tennessee Republicans are gathering in Nashville Thursday to select their legislative leaders, and there's certain to be at least some changing of the guard.

Republican state senators will meet in a downtown law office to pick their nominee to succeed Speaker Ron Ramsey, who will retire in January after a decade in the second-highest post in state government. Oak Ridge Sen. Randy McNally, one of the legislature's longest-serving members, is likely to take the gavel from him.

Chas Sisk / WPLN (File photo)

The 2016 election may have only been a week ago.

But some Tennessee political figures are already turning their thoughts to 2018, as the jockeying to succeed Governor Bill Haslam has begun.

Clarksville Republican Mark Green's high political ambitions have been no secret. And with his re-election to the state Senate safely in the books, he's embarked on a "listening tour" of Tennessee that should end with him announcing his intentions in January.

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