President Donald Trump congratulated and offered his endorsement to Bill Lee, the Republican candidate for governor of Tennessee after Lee’s primary win Thursday night.
Congratulations to Bill Lee of Tennessee on his big primary win for Governor last night. He ran a great campaign and now will finish off the job in November. Bill has my total and enthusiastic Endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2018
Lee is a constructions executive who ran as an outsider candidate against established Republicans, including former state economic development Commissioner Randy Boyd, State House Speaker Beth Harwell, and GOP Rep. Dianne Black, the favorite to win the race.
The eight-term congresswoman and former chair of the House Budget Committee had Vice President Mike Pence’s endorsement, but only garnered 23 percent of the vote. Lee won with 37 percent, followed by Boyd with 24 percent, according to The Tennessean.
Although Trump appeared with and praised Black at several events, he never gave her or any other candidate in the race his official endorsement.
Lee faces former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat, in the general election in November.
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