MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) – Memphis city council member JB Smiley Jr. said Wednesday he is running for governor of Tennessee.
Smiley, a Democrat, made the announcement in a video on social media. He also hosted an event at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis.
In the video, the 34-year-old lawyer said he supports community policing, violent crime prevention programs and job training for high school students. He also said he supports the coronavirus vaccination efforts.
Current Republican Governor Bill Lee won the seat in 2018 against Democrat Karl Dean. Lee has said he is running for re-election and currently faces only one other GOP candidate – Curtis Carney, owner of Nashville-based Off The Wagon Tours.
Republicans have held the governorship of Tennessee since 2012. Republicans also control the two seats in the US Senate in Tennessee, the majority of congressional districts, and a qualified majority in both houses of the General Assembly.
Born and raised in Memphis, Smiley attended University of Arkansas Law School and was elected to Memphis City Council in 2019. Smiley chairs the council’s Public Works, Transportation and General Service Committee. .
Other Democrats in the race include Nashville-area physician Jason Martin, Memphis community leader Carnita Atwater, and Casey Nicholson, an ordained minister from Greenville.
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