Randy Boyd gubernatorial campaign hitting TV, cable with $300,000 ad buy

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 gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd's campaign will take to the air Wednesday with an estimated $300,000 ad buy on statewide broadcast and cable television.

Boyd campaign CEO Chip Saltsman confirmed the move in an interview this week after Times Free Press inquiries regarding Tennessee television stations' recent filings with the Federal Communications Commission.

The filings showed the Boyd campaign had reserved broadcast television ad time in the Chattanooga, Tri-Cities, Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis television markets. That included $42,550 in time reserved on WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, although reserved time doesn't necessarily mean that is what will be spent.

"We're going up Thursday," Saltsman said. "We're excited to start the process of introducing Randy through TV, and we've already spent the last year doing it in person and visiting 95 counties and putting almost 60,000 miles" on Boyd's campaign vehicle.

Boyd, a Knoxville businessman and former state economic development commissioner, bought a Chattanooga-made Volkswagen Atlas shortly after announcing his bid.

Saltsman said the buy amounts to 1,000 points, meaning the ad should be seen 10 times by an average viewer.

Boyd is the second of the now-four major Republican hopefuls running for governor to start television advertising in the Aug. 2 primary election.

Last week, Williamson County businessman Bill Lee's campaign announced he is running television ads statewide.

Saltsman said the Boyd campaign buy "is the first of many communications we're going to see for Randy Boyd communicating with voters all across the state. Basically, we're introducing Randy, talking about key issues of importance to him."

Besides Boyd and Lee, other major candidates in the GOP primary include U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin and Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville. Earlier Tuesday, former state Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, dropped her GOP primary bid. Also running in the GOP primary is Kay White, a Johnson City conservative activist and Realtor.

In a jab at Boyd, Black spokesman Chris Hartline said in an email: "It will be interesting to see how Randy Boyd's TV ads in this election apologize for the fact that he abandoned President Trump in the last election."

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley are running in the Democratic Primary.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.