*This article has been updated with comments from Diane Black’s campaign team
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Republicans will be spending big bucks in Tennessee for the GOP governor primary this election cycle as Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn), House Budget Committee Chair, enters the race.
Black was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2010, and has been a consistent supporter of President Donald Trump both during and after his election. Black most recently became the first female to chair the House Budget Committee.
In Black’s announcement advertisement released today, she highlights her commitment to pro-life legislation, wasteful spending cuts, border security and her leadership as Chairman of the House Budget Committee.
This governor’s race is expected to be the most expensive in Tennessee history after 2010. The previous record holder was Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam. Haslam spent $16.7 million during his GOP Primary and spent $3.49 million out of his own pocket. The democratic challenger in this race was Mike McWherter whose campaign spent $3.4 million dollars, according to the Times Free Press.
Black is considered to be amongst the wealthiest members of Congress with a personal net worth of $150 million, as reported by The Tennesseean, despite having just $14,000 in cash on hand for her campaign. She enters the race alongside other millionaires, such as Randy Boyd, founder of Radio Systems Corporation and Bill Lee, former CEO of Lee Company.
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Boyd, according to The Chattanoogan, reportedly raised $2.3 million in campaign donations and has contributed another $2 million himself. Lee, according to the Daily News Journal, has reportedly raised $1.375 million and matched that donation giving him total of $2.5 million in the bank for the governor’s race so far.
Along with Black’s deep pockets, she is also counting on her toughness to win votes. Throughout the ad, Black asserts that she does not back down from a fight – even when it involves members of her own party.
“I wasn’t afraid to stand up to the weak-kneed people in my own party, when I had to,” Black states in the ad.
Black is most likely referring to her time as a Tennessee State Senator when she led the fight against a state income tax, which many Republicans in the Tennessee State Legislature were in favor of at the time. Black ultimately won that battle and the legislation did not pass.
Black’s campaign team tells FOX Business that she will still carry out her duties in the House of Representatives.
"She is committed to helping President Trump and completing the work on the conservative House Budget that she passed in her committee with unanimous support," said Black’s campaign advisor Lance Frizzell.
Black was raised in Maryland public housing and raised three kids as a single mom, working the night shift as a nurse, before meeting her husband Dr. David Black. Black, to this day, keeps up her nursing license.
If elected, she will become the first female governor of the state of Tennessee, but will first have to beat out Tennessee State House Speaker, Beth Harwell and Tennessee State Senator Mae Beavers, who are also running.
Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is the only Democrat to have officially announced at this time.