Boyd announces endorsements from mayors, law enforcement

Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd on Monday announced the addition of two dozen more Tennessee mayors and law enforcement officials, including Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, who are backing him in the Aug. 2 primary.

Other local officials include Soddy-Daisy Mayor Robert Cothran and East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert. In Knoxville, Knox County Sheriff-elect Tom Spangler also endorsed Boyd, a Knoxville entrepreneur and former state economic and community development commissioner.

The campaign says the latest announcements bring the number of city and county mayors to more than 120, with other local law enforcement leaders advising and supporting Boyd as well.

Boyd said in a news release that he is "grateful to these outstanding leaders for their confidence and support. One thing I've seen firsthand is that government governs best closest to home, and when I'm governor, we will work to bring the power back home where it works best and where it belongs."

Boyd has said will appoint a second deputy to the governor to focuse solely on supporting and boosting local governments while serving as a main point person on key projects and activities.

The Knoxville businessman is vying with U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin, Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville and Franklin businessman Bill Lee of Franklin.

Leading Democratic candidates are former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Tennessee House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh.

Early voting in the contest starts July 13.

Lee reports $3.5 million cash in hand for governor race

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Lee's campaign says the Franklin businessman's second quarter campaign disclosure will show him having raised some $400,000 during the period and having more than $3.5 million in cash on hand as of June 30.

"Momentum is building for Bill Lee at the perfect time. He has the resources and the support to win, and he is outworking every candidate in the field," said Stuart McWhorter, Lee campaign finance chairman, in a news release.

Chris Devaney, Lee's senior advisor and campaign manager, said the "strong second quarter fundraising numbers, along with our solid cash on hand, show that Bill Lee has the resources to continue his surge in the polls and ultimately to win the primary race for governor on August 2nd. Our fundraising momentum continues as Bill is rising in the polls and continues to outperform other candidates in debates and forums."

Second-quarter disclosures for the April 1 through June 30 period are due July 10 for candidates in Tennessee's Aug. 2 state and federal primaries and county general elections.

Conservative Union backs Black for governor

The American Conservative Union announced Monday it has endorsed U.S. Rep. Diane Black in the Gallatin congressman's GOP gubernatorial bid.

Its endorsement comes as the ACU-sponsored Conservative Political Action Conference 365 meets in Memphis this week, where Black was scheduled to join U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson Monday night in two panel appearances.

"We are proud to endorse Diane Black for Governor of Tennessee," ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp said in a statement. "As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Diane worked with the President to pass a budget and cut taxes."

Schlapp said Black "knows that a healthy economy is the foundation to the greater success of Tennessee and the country as a whole, and she has a record of spearheading conservative legislation to back it up. If you want a leader who fights for low taxes, is staunchly pro-life, defends the 2nd Amendment and will uphold the rule of law, then vote for Diane in the Republican primary on August 2."

Black praised the ACA and said she "will make sure the world knows that Tennessee is open for business and that every Tennessean who wants a job will have the opportunity to live their version of the American Dream."

Dayton's Evans endorses Phillips in 4th District

Rachel Held Evans, a former faith advisor to President Obama and bestselling author from Dayton, Tennessee, endorsed Democrat Mariah Phillips in Tennessee's 4th Congressional District.

"The people of Tennessee's 4th District deserve someone who will go to work for them every day and represent their interests with integrity, which is why I endorse Mariah Phillips for Congress," Evans said in a news release. "Watching Mariah, a schoolteacher and mother of five, travel across the district for months, learning everything she can about what's important to its citizens, has convinced me she has what it takes to reach across the aisle and actually get something done in Washington," Evans said.

Evans served on President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and has written New York Times bestselling books focused on her faith.

Phillips said of Evans' endorsement, "Rachel has been an inspiration for many people across the 4th District through her writing and service in the Obama administration. She sets a great example for our youth of what they can accomplish if they set their sights high. I'm very proud to have her support."

Compiled by Andy Sher and Judy Walton