Gubernatorial hopefuls of both parties reach out to Governor Haslam

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Haslam says just about all of those thinking of running for his office have reached out to him for some advice, and he gave them some.

“I am an interested observer like everyone else,” the governor said this past week. “I do not have a favorite. I won’t be endorsing anyone in the primary,” but the governor did stop there.

During follow up questions while meeting with reporters, Gov. Haslam offered his unique perspective on what it takes to run for governor and be successful.

“I have talked to everyone, or I should say almost every potential candidate, including some of the Democrats,” added the governor. “More from a personal standpoint, going through an almost two-year campaign, it’s laborious. It’s a difficult personally emotional process.”

The governor was asked what he learned during his two campaigns.

“It’s a physically grueling process that has a certain personal vulnerability that takes most people a while to get used to,” Haslam said.

Right now, Republicans who have announced include Franklin businessman Bill Lee, former Tennessee Economic and Development Commissioner Randy Boyd, and Wilson County State Senator Mae Beavers.

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is the only announced Democrat, but House Democrat leader Craig Fitzhugh has indicated a strong interest.

Likely Republicans who may enter the race include House Speaker Beth Harwell and congressional member Diane Black.

House Senate Majority Mark Norris has indicated an interest but has been silent on his plans since he is currently being considered for a federal judgeship in Memphis.

While the governor may not have a favorite in the race, he hopes his successor will continue education reforms often credited with a rise in Tennessee school rankings.