NASHVILLE, Tennessee (TSWT) — Jason Martin, a Nashville physician critical of Republican Administration Bill Lee’s hands-off approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, won the Democratic nomination for governor on Friday and will run for it in November against Lee.
Martin, a first-time political candidate, defeated Memphis attorney and city councilman JB Smiley Jr. by a narrow margin, with advocate Carnita Atwater in third. Both Smiley and Atwater would have been the state’s first black gubernatorial candidates had they won.
Lee was unopposed on Thursday as he seeks to secure a second term in a state that has not elected a Democrat to government office since 2006. He defeated his Democratic opponent in 2018.
Martin jumped into the gubernatorial race last year after becoming an outspoken critic of Lee’s handling of the virus outbreak. The Republican governor declined to issue a statewide mask mandate and signed several laws that largely banned vaccine mandates as the pandemic swept across the United States, killing more than 1 million people in two years.
But even as the virus pandemic continues to spread throughout the state, the outbreak is largely not a public priority, especially during the gubernatorial campaign. Martin now hopes that the tumultuous national political landscape and some of Lee’s recent controversies will open a path for a Democrat to win a state seat.
Some of these include the lingering effects of the abolition of constitutional abortion rights. Lee has backed the enforcement of some of the toughest bans in the US
Most recently, Lee declined to answer questions about whether he supported amending the state’s so-called trigger law to expand the exemptions and sidestepped directly by answering whether he supported the exemption of children who were raped and then became pregnant. .
Meanwhile, Lee has received widespread criticism from both sides after he declined to refute the comments of a charter school president who claimed that teachers were “trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges” at a reception the Republican attended.
Martin has definitely elevated and better spent Smiley, the second-highest fundraiser. However, Lee takes a big advantage for the campaign in the November election.
Before the race was decided, Martin’s campaign was quick to declare victory, even as the votes were still being counted in Smiley’s hometown of Memphis. Smiley quickly admonished Martin, demanding that the doctor should have waited until the results were all in.