MTSU poll ranks favorability of candidates seeking to be next TN Governor

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A recently released poll by Middle Tennessee State University is shedding some light on what will be a competitive primary and general election for Tennessee Governor.

"This race is still a toss up for governor," political consultant Steven Reid said.

The MTSU poll was released Thursday and mainly concentrated on the high stakes U.S. Senate matchup between former Governor Phil Bredesen and current Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn.

But the poll also included favorability questions for gubernatorial candidates.

"It's going to come down to the money they spend and the message they get out in the last few days," Reid said.

The results show 30 percent positive favorability ratings for Republican Randy Boyd and current Republican Congresswoman Diane Black.

Democrat Karl Dean polled a 26 percent favorability rating, followed by Republican Beth Harwell at 23 percent.

Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Craig Fitzhugh both had 16 percent favorability ratings in the poll.

Reid said what's interesting about Tennessee is that voters don't elect state constitutional officers like lieutenant governor or secretary of state. Meaning running for governor is often the first chance candidates have to seek a statewide office.

"There's nowhere to build a base in Tennessee, there's nowhere to build a name, so you almost have to come from Congress or a city mayor's position to be able to run," Reid said.

The gubernatorial primary is Aug. 2 followed by the general election on Nov. 6.

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