NASHVILLE - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said today he doesn't intend to take his 2014 re-election effort lightly and intends to run a "vigorous campaign."
"I've always intended regardless of the circumstance to do this," the governor told reporters. "I felt we worked hard to be here, and we've worked hard and we think we've accomplished a lot while we've been here, and I promise we'll work hard to get re-elected."
State House Minority Leader Craigh Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, said he is considering running against Haslam, but he acknowledges it won't be easy to beat him. But Fitzhugh said it's important for Democrats to have a credible standard bearer at the top of the ticket in 2014 for down-ticket races.
Tennessee Democrats were embarrassed nationally this year when a little-known, anti-gay rights activist unexpectedly won the party nomination for U.S. senator, prompting the state party to disavow his candidacy.
Haslam said "obviously, that's Craig's right to do. We have always intended to have a vigorous campaign. We'll start with some campaign fundraising events even before the legislature comes back in a couple of weeks."