Who will face Gov. Bill Lee? Martin declares victory

State of the State Tennessee
Posted at 7:08 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 22:29:03-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — One Democrat will face incumbent Republican Gov. Bill Lee.

Lee has served since 2018, when he beat former Nashville mayor Karl Dean for the state’s top leader. Prior to his tenure in politics, Lee was the CEO of the Lee Company, a family-owned business based in Williamson County. He also farmed with his family in Fernvale. He never held political office until he was governor.

Three Democrats — Dr. Jason Martin, J.B. Smiley Jr., and Carnita Atwater — chose to want to face off with Lee, all three charging his leadership and guidance weren’t what state residents wanted on issues from rural healthcare, COVID-19, education and criminal justice. Lee did not face a primary challenger.

Both Martin and Smiley have hit hard on healthcare and education. Both wanted to see an expansion of Medicaid, as the legislature failed to do so under the Haslam administration with the Insure Tennessee bill.

The two have also shown concern for funding public education, staunchly opposing education savings accounts as well.

Atwater has focused largely on affordable housing for Tennesseans.

Chris Davis contributed to this report.