The Johnson City Press endorsed Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Craig Fitzhugh in the Tennessee gubernatorial primaries.
A Sunday editorial said, “After sitting down with all six viable contenders to succeed Haslam in both parties, our team was most impressed with Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Craig Fitzhugh.”
The editorial cited the challenges the next governor will face.
“While Tennessee has crawled out from under the Great Recession and improved its national standing in education, we still lag in economic opportunity, educational attainment, job preparation, infrastructure and, most significantly, public health,” the newspaper said.
The Johnson City Press also said Lee and Fitzhugh have avoided the “detestable trend It’s a different matter when you get the candidates in a personal setting for direct questions.”
Lee earned the endorsement because of “Second Amendment protections, limited government, business acumen and tough immigration policy,” among other issues. The newspaper cited his business success as a factor despite his lack of public experience.
In endorsing Fitzhugh, the newspaper cited his 12 terms in the Tennessee General Assembly as one factor, saying he knows how government works.
“As a bank executive and experienced lawmaker, Fitzhugh knows his way around finance and budgetary issues. He’s an Air Force veteran who rose to the rank of captain in active duty and major in the reserves. As an Eagle Scout, he has served the BSA in leadership roles for more than 35 years.”