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Boyd decries lack of civility in gubernatorial race

Hank Hayes • Jul 14, 2018 at 8:00 AM

KINGSPORT — “I just wish the negativity would stop. I hate this part about politics.”

That’s what Tennessee GOP gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd said Friday when asked about the latest round of Republican rival Diane Black’s campaign attacks against him.

Those attacks included a direct mail piece that claimed Boyd’s Knoxville-based company outsourced jobs to China, that he lobbied for a Knox County property tax increase and worked with former President Obama to expand in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

In response, Boyd’s campaign has labeled Black “D.C. Diane” and has hit back with TV ads portraying her as mushrooming the federal deficit when she served as chair of the House Budget Committee.

Boyd is competing with Black, Williamson County businessman Bill Lee and state House Speaker Beth Harwell in the August GOP primary.

Before Boyd’s foundation presented Petworks Kingsport Animal Services with a check for $25,000, Boyd was at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium on the first day of early voting to meet people and ask for support.

And answer a question about back-and-forth political attacks.

“I don’t know, as governor, if there’s a way I can change it, but I would do my best to try to find a way to bring civility to democracy,” Boyd said. “We should be able to have civility and democracy at the same time.”

He was also asked about the massive spending in the gubernatorial race. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported more than $37 million has been spent by the gubernatorial campaigns. Boyd, according to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance, has made an “in-kind” contribution of $14.3 million to his campaign.

Said Boyd: “From my understanding, elections are getting expensive, more expensive every year across the state. It’s not totally unexpected. I certainly wish we might find other uses for that money, but unfortunately it’s the only way we can get the message out. We’ve got 6.6 million Tennesseans. I’ve been working for 17 months trying to meet people in person every place I can, but it’s impossible to get the message out without TV, and TV is expensive.”

Boyd also answered these questions:

What’s the No. 1 thing you’re hearing as you meet people?

“In Tennessee, one of the biggest issues was still immigration. When I have a longer conversation, the three are always education, jobs and infrastructure.”

So what’s your plan leading up to the primary election?

“I’m excited about the next two weeks. We just finished a 95-county bus tour where we went to four counties a day with big rallies. Now it’s just one on one. Every day we’re going to a different poll and visit with voters, shake hands and ask for their vote.”

What kind of voter turnout are you expecting?

“I’m hopeful we have great turnout, particularly in East Tennessee. I’m the only candidate from East Tennessee, and we’re hopeful lots of East Tennesseans will show up and support their hometown candidate.”

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