Bill Lee Wins GOP Gubernatorial Primary in Blowout Victory

Bill Lee

Bill Lee Election Night Party

Williamson County businessman Bill Lee won the Tennessee Republican gubernatorial primary Thursday night in a blowout victory.

The Associated Press called the race for Lee at 9:07 pm central p.m., but the results were clear within half an hour of polls closing at 7 pm, as Lee took a big lead in early voting he never relinquished.

With almost all precincts in the state reporting, Bill Lee had 37 percent of the vote, compared to second place finisher Randy Boyd, who had 24 percent. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06) finished in third place with 23 percent of the vote, and Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) finished in 4th place with 15 percent.

Bill Lee

Lee’s 13 point margin of victory was stunning, particularly in light of expectations in the last week of the campaign that it was a neck and neck three way battle between Lee, Black, and Boyd that was too close to call.

In the end, it was a blowout victory for Lee, who has never held elected office or been employed by the federal or state government before.

Boyd called Lee to concede the race at about 9 p.m. eastern, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

The raw vote totals, as reported by the Tennessee Secretary of State at 10:30 pm eastern were:

Bill Lee Election Night Party

Bill Lee–284,669

Randy Boyd –189,248

Diane Black–178,091

Beth Harwell–118,935

Total Votes — 775,351

Lee will now face former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who easily defeated State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley) in the Democratic primary, in the November general election.

Bill Lee Election Night Party


















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9 Thoughts to “Bill Lee Wins GOP Gubernatorial Primary in Blowout Victory”

  1. lb

    Bill Lee is just another rino squish–I will be surprised if he actually beats Dean because he just isnt a fighter. I thought his campaign ads were lacking in substance and actually insulting. The “vote for me I’m a nice guy” stuff wore thin and that is ALL he had to offer.
    I dont know if I will vote for him. I wont vote Dem but honestly, I dont see a lot of daylight between Lee and Dean

  2. Stuart I. Anderson

    Thankfully, the goal of ANYBODY BUT BOYD has been achieved. Another achievement with Boyd’s convincing defeat is hopefully immigration liberalization becoming another third-rail in Tennessee Republican politics. I’d like to think that from now on just as anyone who wants to at least have the option of running as a Republican in the future wants to take care not to have any association with the Freedom of Choice crowd, so should such aspirants avoid association with the forces of immigration liberalization. Less certainly, dare we hope that with Randy’s defeat despite being a near perfect centrist candidate that the day is past when you can spend your political life on the left bank of the Republican Party then run for office as “Tennessee conservative” with any hope for success.

  3. Stuart I. Anderson

    My primary goal in this election was ANYBODY BUT BOYD and that goal was thankfully achieved. Hopefully this is the beginning of immigration liberalization becoming the third rail of Republican politics in Tennessee and eventually nationally. Just as no one with serious political aspirations would ever dream of having any association with the forces of Freedom of Choice regarding abortion so should Boyd’s defeat signal to those sympathetic to the open borders crowd that this is an association that is to be scrupulously avoided as well.

    I am also hopeful but less certain that Randy’s defeat also signals that you can no longer have a lengthy association with the centrist wing of the Tennessee Republican Party then think that you can use your money rub that all out when you run for office as a “Tennessee conservative.” Perhaps that’s too much to hope for, but Randy’s convincing loss despite the fact that he was a near perfect centrist candidate give conservatives a reason for hope.

  4. Kevin Desmond

    Bill Lee’s win is historic for TN. He was the true outsider but he possessed the skills, work ethic and integrity needed to drive voters to the polls. It was no surprise to many of us but unfortunately many promonant conservatives totally missed the boat by backing the more establishment candidates. It should now be obvious that incumbents will be swimming upstream to win future elections,, at least in Tennessee they will be. I am told Diane Black did not win her home county. WOW!
    Real conservatives and the bulk of Tennessee citizens can expect to have the wind at their back for 8 years which will be a welcomed change.
    Congratulations to all involved in the Lee campaign and to all the voters out there with the foresight to support a fantastic candidate without the political resume of his competition.. Bill Lee is a man of the people and we should be very proud.

  5. Silence Dogood

    I campaigned, donated, and voted for Diane Black. I donated to Bill Lee. My strategy was “NO” to LaRaza Randy Boyd. Bill Lee won the Republican nomination. The Legislature needs to pull him to the right as it did with Haslam. Time to roll up our sleeves and get Bill elected as Governor of this great state!! Conservative folks, campaign, donate, and vote for Bill Lee!! MAGA!

    1. 83ragtop50

      I will support Mr. Lee but am skeptical of his less than strong conservative statements. I view him as just another Haslam. A middle of the road wealthy guy who will tout education and promote it at all cost while not doing a whole lot to correct the glaring problems at the elementary and secondary levels. Pushing an arbitrary objective such as the “Drive to 55” makes for a good sounding slogan but it does nothing to improve the educational process where it counts most. I figure Mr. Lee will be overpowered by the establishment bureaucrats and could likely become less conservative than Haslam. I hope I am wrong but fear that I am more right than wrong. Unfortunately it looks like at least another 4 years of a red state being governed by a blue legislature and governor.

      1. charles payne

        Maybe i am wrong ,but i think you are saying Bill Lee while thinking Randy Boyd as he would have been a mirror image of Haslam or worse.

  6. Jack Dobson

    Bill Lee’s victory was well-deserved, and his acceptance speech tonight was another reminder about the many talents he brings to this race. Lee will be elected governor, full stop, and will be a national player if he chooses to go that route in eight years.