Boyd campaign responds to Black criticism: 'This is Tennessee. Not D.C.'

Businessman Randy Boyd speaks to reporters after a gubernatorial forum hosted by the Tennessee Business Roundtable in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

NASHVILLE - Republican Randy Boyd's campaign is hitting back at GOP gubernatorial primary rival Diane Black after her campaign labeled his plans to have former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush headline a Nashville fundraiser as a "match made in establishment heaven."

Boyd spokeswoman Laine Arnold suggested U.S. Rep. Black has spent a little too much in Washington.

"Each of those claims is ridiculous and false, and honestly beneath the dignity of Diane Black," Arnold said. "This is Tennessee. Not DC. We don't act that way down here."

On Wednesday, the Nashville Post reported that Bush, the son and brother of two presidents and ran unsuccessfully for the 2016 presidential nomination against Donald Trump, will headline a Nov. 30 event in Nashville. Tickets start at $1,000 per head.

Black spokesman Chris Hartline charged that Boyd and Bush's "pro-illegal immigration, pro-big government, anti-Trump positions are more suited to the Democratic primary than the Republican primary."

Republicans strenuously object to being labelled "moderate" or "establishment."

Bush has been a harsh critic of Trump, both during the campaign and afterwards.

"Randy is a strong supporter of President Trump and a long-time friend of Jeb Bush," Arnold said. "We look forward to having their support."

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's former state commissioner of economic development, Boyd backed Bush in the primary and ran as an at-large delegate to last year's Republican National Convention.

Besides Boyd and Black, other Republicans in the 2018 GOP primary include former state Sen. Mae Beavers, state House Speaker Beth Harwell and Williamson County businessman Bill Lee.

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and state House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh are running in the Democratic primary.

Andy Sher can be reached at or 615-255-0550.