Harwell for governor campaign coming soon?

PARIS, Tenn. (AP) — Republican state House Speaker Beth Harwell is open to a possible run for statewide office in Tennessee.

Harwell in an interview with the The Paris Post-Intelligencer (http://bit.ly/1w0tOgC ) said she was happy with her current position in charge of the 99-member House, but said she would “certainly be interested” in running for statewide office.

Harwell became the state’s first female House speaker when she was elected by the chamber in 2011.

Republican Rep. Tim Wirgau of the Henry County community of Buchanan cited Harwell’s House leadership for his belief that Harwell will become Tennessee’s “first woman governor.”

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam faces little-known Democrat Charlie Brown in his bid for a second term. The state constitution limits governors to two consecutive terms.

Note: Here’s the full Harwell quote from the Post-Intellingencer (link above) which is not too different from what she’s said in the past:

“I do love what I do, and it’s an honor to get to be speaker,” Harwell said. “Nobody knows exactly what the future holds, either personally or professionally, but if I had the opportunity to run for a statewide office, I would certainly be interested in doing that, and I would just have to see what the lay of the land is.”

Wirgau said several members of the House of Representatives hoped to see Harwell make a bid for higher office.

“I feel very strongly she’ll be the first woman governor,” Wirgau said. “She’s proven that leadership as Speaker of the House.”