Bill Lee Wins GOP Gubernatorial Straw Poll in Robertson County

Bill Lee

Williamson County businessman Bill Lee won the gubernatorial straw poll at the Robertson County Republican Party’s annual Reagan Ranch dinner on Friday.

Bill Lee
Bill Lee (Photos courtesy of Robert Kilmarx)

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06) finished in second place, followed by Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd in third place and Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) in fourth place.

Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill served as master of ceremonies for the evening, which had about 200 people in attendance.

Though straw polls at official Republican Party functions are not necessarily a predictor of voting behavior in primaries, they are a good indication of the local organizational skills of the contending candidates.

Diane Black
Diane Black (Photos courtesy of Robert Kilmarx)

The Lee campaign considered the straw poll win significant, coming as it does less than two months before the August 2 Republican primary in a county that Black represents in Congress.

Robertson County Republican Party officials announced only the order of finish of the candidates in the straw poll, not their actual vote totals.

One source who attended the event who was not affiliated with the Robertson County Republican Party or on the official program provided The Tennessee Star with they claimed was the unofficial but accurate vote tally from the gubernatorial straw poll.

John Rose
John Rose (Photos courtesy of Robert Kilmarx)

Those results were:

Bill Lee: 89 votes

Diane Black: 78 votes

Randy Boyd: 41 votes

Beth Harwell: 0 votes

Total votes cast and counted: 208

Those results were notable for several reasons.

In addition to Bill Lee’s surprising victory and Diane Black’s second place finish, Randy Boyd had a weak third place showing and the failure of Beth Harwell to secure even a single straw poll ballot was quite remarkable.

Crowd w Steve Gill
It is a packed house as Steve Gill takes the stage. (Photos courtesy of Robert Kilmarx)

Statewide public polling on the gubernatorial race has been scant.

The most recent public poll was released by The Tennessee Star back in December. That poll showed a whopping 52 percent of voters were undecided, with Diane Black in the lead with 21 percent support followed by Randy Boyd in second place with 11 percent support.

A lot has happened in the seven months since that poll has been released, and the number of undecided voters has likely declined as all four campaigns–and in particular the Boyd and Black campaigns–have advertised heavily.

The pace of that advertising–as well as direct mailings–is expected to accelerate dramatically during the next seven weeks between now and the August 2 primary.









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12 Thoughts to “Bill Lee Wins GOP Gubernatorial Straw Poll in Robertson County”

  1. Patricia Street

    So sad when we can’t even find out the truth about all the candidates. So many lies that I don’t know who is the best one for the job. Lies all over the place and they all claim to be Christians. I pray that God will lead us all to the one that is honest and the Best one’s for Tennessee.

  2. Pepe Silva

    What basis does anyone have to accuse Rose of accepting donations from Democrats? He is a life long farmer, went to TTU, and in every sense of the word is conservative. He will be getting my vote, Matheny has a bad history whereas Rose is a businessman turned politician(remind you of anyone??)

    1. Stuart I. Anderson

      Yea right, just a down home farmer with a wad of tobacco in his cheek, oh come on Pepe, look at his campaign fundraising disclosures and you will see that at the end of last September he received two maximum contributions from members of the iconic liberal Democratic bundlers, the Bone family. I stopped at last September, subsequent disclosures I am sure will reveal more such contributions.

      Rose entered the race with the encouragement of the centrist/tepid conservative Republican establishment because they can’t abide another member of the Freedom Caucus going to Congress. Why do you think the Freedom Caucus endorsed Matheny? How do you know Rose is conservative? What has he ever done or said that makes you think so BEFORE he decided to buy himself a seat in Congress? He apparently has a few bucks and is well out of puberty, ask him for a history of his contributions to conservative candidates Judd has been voting 88% conservative in the State House since 2002 as per the American Conservative Union? That Pepe, is what I call a great history!

      Pepe, are you a movement conservative or are you simply to the right of Nancy Pelosi?
      If you are a movement conservative I’m glad I caught you before you wasted your vote on Rose. Please Pepe, VOTE MATHENY!

      1. Pepe Silva

        Matheny has accomplished nothing in lackluster career of “voting 88% conservative”. I’ll take the educated outsider with strong republican ties over a cop turned local politician. I’m a strong conservative, which is why I’ll be voting for Rose.

  3. Ralph

    Here’s a thought: go on to each candidates website and evaluate their platform, Then go one step further and see which one offers specifics and a plan to execute their stated policy. Conservatives differ from communists in the ability to reason based on verified fact – not “feelies” – show it by reading, analyzing, and then deciding.

    1. Stuart I. Anderson

      Sorry Ralph, Rose and Corlew are neophytes who have placed their fate in the hands of VERY well paid campaign professionals who, based on expensive polling, have very well paid media consultants craft every news release and all campaign material that you want to look at. In my opinion a complete waste of time and for conservatives unnecessary.

      Judd has served in the Tennessee House since 2002 whereupon he compiled a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 88%. He is endorsed by the only conservative Republican organization in the U. S. House, The House Freedom Caucus, you know Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan et. al. Judd is running against Rose who is financed by liberal Democrats and No Record Candidate Corlew. As that fine Republican Trace Adkins would say, “This Ain’t No Thinkin’ Thing”!

  4. Jennifer

    I.P. Freely , for one , your comment is NOT credible for a few reasons ; first do you seriously think anyone thinks this is your name? Two, using the word “retard” to imply lack of intelligence shows really how you have none! Three, Conservatives true conservatives have their eyes wide open and it is not to elect a man like John Rose who deals more with Democrats then he does true conservative Republicans.

    1. Stuart I. Anderson

      And I. P. knows very well that early voting is only a month away so its far too late to choose his dream candidate. I.P., Jennifer, SIXTH DISTRICT CONSERVATIVES, someone’s butt is going to be sitting in the chair in the U.S. House that Diane is vacating. For two years that person is going to say “yay” and “nay” when each vote comes up in the House. I believe, and so does the House Freedom Caucus, that Judd Matheny will consistently vote “yay” and “nay” in accordance with a conservative world view. That’s the only decision each of you has to make at this point in time. The time is way past for debating IQ’s, who is nice to his wife, who attends church more often, and/or who brushes after every meal.

      It simply boils down to this, whose butt is going to be sitting in YOUR seat in Congress Sixth District conservatives, the obvious favorite of liberal Democratic bundlers John Rose, who the hell is he Corlew, or House Freedom Caucus endorsed Judd Matheny. NOW PLEASE STOP MESSING AROUND – WHAT’S IT GONNA BE?!?!

      Obviously Democratic bundlers and the centrist/tepid cons

  5. 83ragtop50

    I cannot get behind Mr. Lee. He might be a great guy but I do not see him as a public leader.

  6. Robert Forbus

    I was there, and noticed the only people clapping for Black – other than some “courtesy” claps were the tables of young people bussed in as her support staff. Seriously.

    I will add that Lee did not appear to bus in any people, and as a matter of fact I was behind his RV when we drove up to the event. I also had to walk the entire gantlet that was covered with Black and Boyd signs – fairly even in distribution.. Black and Boyd (no show due to elsewhere) were fairly even regarding the large groups of young staff bussed in for their support. Haw many for each candidate? Judging by the number of tables; from twenty-five to thirty.

    Black has worked Robertson County fairly heavily in the past. She lost – in spite of the heavy staffing, and when her support group is removed from the numbers in attendance – she lost “bigly”.

  7. Jim Brown

    Jose Rose wins Roberson County Poll for Congress.
    John Rose for Congress is the winner of the Robertson County Republican Party straw poll! The momentum is growing, join our team here:

    1. Stuart I. Anderson

      How embarrassing! Marsha will be more conservative than Corker, Mark Green will be more conservative than Marsha, Black/Harwell will be more conservative than Haslam, Matlock will be even more conservative than Duncan, while Rebecca Burke will be more conservative than Charles Sargent. Only in the Sixth District will Rose buck the trend and be much more liberal than Diane Black.

      Sixth District conservatives, Diane has a lifetime Heritage score of 78%, just watch Rose break 70% on the downside. He’s not getting donations from liberal Democrats because of his good looks. There’s still time my conservative brothers and sisters! Judd Matheny’s campaign is revving up and so should you. VOTE MATHENY!