A score or so of potential candidates for governor in 2018

Richard Locker has put together a list of prospective candidates for governor in 2018 and talked to a poly sci professor about it. Here’s the list:


— Gordon Ball, Knoxville lawyer who just gained statewide name recognition in his losing challenge of Sen. Lamar Alexander. He’s reportedly moving to Memphis.

— Andy Berke, mayor of Chattanooga and former state senator. Two consecutive former mayors, Phil Bredesen of Nashville and Bill Haslam of Knoxville, disproved the conventional wisdom that mayors didn’t get elected governor because they’re too identified with their cities. It could be Chattanooga’s time.

— Jim Cooper, congressman from Nashville and former congressman from a rural Middle and East Tennessee district. One of the few Blue Dogs left.

— Karl Dean, two-term mayor of Nashville and former public defender, who steps down next year.

— Craig Fitzhugh, state representative from Ripley and House Democratic leader. A lawyer by training, banker by profession, he was finance committee chairman during Bredesen’s tenure.

— Ashley Judd, the actress and liberal activist. Hey, she could bring some star power to the race.

— Madeline Rogero, mayor of Knoxville and former Knox County commissioner. She came close to beating Haslam in his first race for mayor; then he appointed her city community development director. She succeeded him as mayor of the hub of Republican East Tennessee.

Other Democratic possibilities are Nashville businessmen Andrew Byrd, Bill Freeman and Frank Garrison; newly elected state Sen. Sara Kyle of Memphis, and former Nashville mayor Bill Purcell.


— Bob Corker, U.S. senator and former Chattanooga mayor and state finance commissioner. The chances of his running diminished Tuesday when his GOP won control of the Senate, where he’ll be Foreign Relations Committee chairman. But if he doesn’t run for president or if Democrats regain Senate control in 2016, the state Capitol might look attractive.

— Bill Hagerty, state commissioner of economic and community development in Haslam’s administration.

— Tre Hargett, Tennessee secretary of state since 2009, former chairman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and a state representative from Memphis for 10 years, the last four as House GOP leader.

— Beth Harwell, speaker of the House from Nashville, representative since 1988 and former state GOP chairwoman who has traveled the state on behalf of Republican candidates.

— Mark Norris, Senate Republican leader and former Shelby County commissioner.

— Ron Ramsey, speaker of the Senate from Blountville and legislator since 1992. After finishing third in the three-man 2010 GOP primary for governor, he declared he wouldn’t run again. He wouldn’t be the first to change his mind.

— John Schroer, state commissioner of transportation and former mayor of Franklin.

Other potential GOP candidates include U.S. Reps. Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn and Stephen Fincher, and Mark Green, physician and freshman state senator from Clarksville.

Note: And maybe Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown.