Tennessee Governors Race- Candidate Profiles

Young people often garner a reputation for poor voter turnout, but as the run for governor heats up, many first-time voters are eager to reverse the trend.

Farmer and businessman Bill Lee is the Republican candidate. This will be his introduction into politics. Classically conservative, he is from rural middle Tennessee and hopes to bring light to some of the hardships faced in more rural areas.

Republican nominee Bill Lee.











Karl Dean is the Democratic candidate and is the former mayor of Nashville. His politics are considered more moderate, but his goal as governor would be to focus on strengthening education and creating more job opportunities for Tennesseans.

Democrat nominee Karl Dean.



Bill Lee: During a debate with Governor Dean, Lee voiced his opinion on the #MeToo movement, and protecting women and the falsely accused, “ Let me just say that I think that what we’re watching play out on the federal level, in part, is everything that’s wrong with politics…It’s critically important that we do protect and defend the dignity of women. At the same time it’s important that we have due process…”

Karl Dean: In the same debate, found on The Nashville Scene, Dean said, “Any employer has got to recognize, this is a problem in American society, it is a problem in American business, and it’s a problem in American government. And anybody who thinks it’s not hasn’t been paying attention…You know, I’m proud that my staff for this campaign is primarily female. I think you’ve got to get more and more females in the workforce, and then work on issues like equal pay.”


Bill Lee: Lee indicates interest in privatized schools and has invested in specific private technical schools.

Karl Dean: Dean wants to increase public school teachers’ pay as well as invest in high quality education programs and ensure all school districts are funded to the extent they need.



Bill Lee: As a lifetime member of the NRA, Lee aims to make sure Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights are protected.

Karl Dean: Supports the movement for a background check before purchasing a firearm and believes it is a “common agreement.”



Bill Lee: Pro-life and seeks to fully defund Planned Parenthood.

Karl Dean: Pro- choice, believes, “…a woman’s medical decisions should be made between her and her doctor and her family and her faith, and that politicians should not insert themselves into that conversation.”



Bill Lee: Believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Karl Dean: “Being supportive of the LGBTQ community, having its rights protected, to me, it’s just the right thing to do,” said Karl Dean in an interview with the Tennessean


Bill Lee: A core value of Lee’s is to make sure jobs are not “brought, but created in Tennessee.”

Karl Dean: “Helping create jobs isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue; it’s an issue that impacts all of our communities.” 70,000 gross new jobs were created in Davidson County and more than 350 companies expanded or relocated to the area. As governor, he wants to bring economic opportunity to all Tennesseans. Knowing that college isn’t the right fit for every high school student he wants to expand program across TN and create more jobs for these working to get there training done.



Bill Lee: Is against expanding Medicare and wants to see Obamacare repealed. Feels as though healthcare rates are unacceptably increasing and wants to relieve that burden for Tennesseans.

Karl Dean: Supports Medicaid expansion throughout Tennessee to help citizens with low incomes receive health care.



Bill Lee: has yet to specifically address opinions on the environment

Karl Dean: During his time as Mayor of Nashville, Karl was committed to environmental stewardship, creating a dedicated Office of Sustainability. Stated by On The Issues, “Nashville is greener and more environmentally-friendly today because of Karl’s leadership.”


Bill Lee: Wants more research to be done on the effects and use of marijuana before endorsing it.

Karl Dean: Supports the use of medical marijuana, but not recreational use.



Bill Lee: “As governor, I will restructure our state’s TennCare program to fund and reward investments in prevention. I’ll partner with providers, nonprofits, and faith-leaders across the state and we’ll fight this epidemic together.”

Karl Dean: Knows the opioid crisis needs to be addressed, and wants to find and research the root sources of the crisis.
Find more information about Bill Lee at https://www.billlee.com/about/
Find more information about Karl Dean at https://www.karldean.com/#about-karl-dean

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