Bill Lee wins Tennessee GOP primary for governor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Latest on the Tennessee primary election (all times local):

Businessman Bill Lee has won a bruising Republican primary for Tennessee governor.

Lee topped U.S. Rep. Diane Black, ex-state economic development commissioner Randy Boyd and state House Speaker Beth Harwell in a race that cost more than $45 million. Much of that money came from the candidates themselves.

The candidates painted themselves as the most devoted to President Donald Trump and his tough-on-immigration priorities. They questioned each other’s allegiance to the president and his policies.

Lee called himself the race’s only conservative outsider and focused heavily on his Christian beliefs.

He ran ads saying attacking him isn’t what a leader does and some people will say or do anything to get elected.

Lee heads his family’s mechanical contracting, facilities and home services firm.

Both Lee and Randy Boyd spoke after the election results Thursday night.

Governor – Republican Primary
View County Breakdown (Republican)
Candidate Votes %
Bill Lee 288,821 36.75%
Randy Boyd 191,252 24.34%
Diane Black 180,762 23.00%
Beth Harwell 120,526 15.34%
Kay White 3,197 0.41%
Basil Marceaux Sr. 1,258 0.16%

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Latest on the Tennessee primary election (all times local):

8:50 p.m.

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has won the Democratic primary in the open race for Tennessee governor.

Dean defeated state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh on Thursday in a race to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

Dean had a huge advantage in campaign cash, outspending Fitzhugh $4.4 million to $984,800. The race was mostly cordial.

Dean has run as a moderate who says he’ll work across the aisle.

Democrats have a tough path to statewide success in Tennessee, where they need to attract moderate Republicans and independents in a state that favored President Donald Trump by 26 percentage points in 2016.

Dean even quoted Ronald Reagan in a Democratic debate.

He faces the winner of a four-way GOP primary that cost more than $45 million.

Governor – Democratic Primary
View County Breakdown (Democratic)
Candidate Votes %
Karl Dean 278,534 75.09%
Craig Fitzhugh 72,163 19.46%
Mezianne Vale Payne 20,219 5.45%

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