NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Republican State Senator Mae Beavers says she will resign her seat to campaign full time for governor.
The announcement in her hometown of Mt. Juliet at a 3 p.m. news conference had been rumored for weeks.
“With all of the restraints on a legislator that the others don’t have, we’ll go ahead and resign and devote full time to running for governor,” she told News 2.
One advantage to Senator Beavers resigning her seat is it allows her to raise campaign money while lawmakers are in session next year during the critical time before the August 2018 Republican Primary.
Raising any campaign funds while state lawmakers are in session is not allowed by law.
PRESS RELEASE: Beavers goes all in for governor
Beavers says she sees this as an advantage for wealthier Republican candidates for governor like Randy Boyd, Bill Lee and Diane Black.
“The way the laws are written right now, a candidate can write a check to a campaign for a million dollars,” added the senator.
Some political observers think the senator’s planned resignation puts pressure on the other office holders in the race to do the same.
They include House Republican Speaker Beth Harwell, House Democrat leader Craig Fitzhugh and Republican Congressional member Black.
“I think it is going to hard to serve in a House or Senate district or in Congress while running for governor,” added Beavers who said they will make their own decisions about resigning. “And so I think it a big diversion to remain in office and run for governor.”
Sen. Beavers will be making it official by delivering a resignation letter to Governor Bill Haslam and Lt. Governor Randy McNally within a few days.
The senator says her resignation letter will be effective next Wednesday Aug. 30.
House member Mark Pod, who represents Wilson County, is expected to be among those announcing a bid for Beaver’s seat.