Longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. of Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District has endorsed Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam in the GOP primary for this year’s gubernatorial election. In doing so, the conservative Duncan passed over both his House-mate U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, of the neighboring Third District, and his ideological neighbor, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. Haslam is seen by many as being more moderate than Ramsey or Wamp, yet Duncan’s conservative credentials are largely unquestioned.
However, Congressman Duncan and Mayor Haslam serve the same city, and sometimes being physical neighbors trumps other modes of proximity. Duncan joins former U.S. Sen. and Ambassador Howard Baker as Honorary Co-Chair of the Haslam for Governor campaign. Chattanoogan.com published the press release:
United States Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. endorsed Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam for the Republican nomination for governor as Knoxville Mayor Haslam opened his campaign’s new Knoxville office on Kingston Pike.
Mayor Haslam also announced Duncan as his campaign’s Honorary Campaign Co-Chairman, joining former Sen. Howard Baker. The announcement comes days after Haslam opened his Memphis campaign office flanked by Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons’ former statewide campaign chairman David Kustoff, now a statewide co-chairman of the Haslam campaign.
“I’ve known Bill for years, and I know he has the qualities and the experience Tennessee needs now,” Rep. Duncan said. “More than ever we have to have true conservative fiscal leadership, and he has the experience, intelligence and temperament needed to be the right Governor at the right time for Tennessee. He knows how to make tough decisions, balance budgets and get the best return on investment.
“Bill and I have worked together to help strengthen this area, and his executive leadership on the ground – he knows what business leaders need – was invaluable in attracting new companies and creating a good environment for expansion,” Rep. Duncan said.
“At the state level, the budget situation is very serious, and we must have someone with real experience. As Knoxville’s mayor, Bill reduced the size of city government, put the city on strong financial ground and helped grow jobs in the area, and I’m honored to be a part of his campaign team,” he added.
“Crissy and I are extremely grateful for the support we’ve received around the state, but there’s nothing like the support you get at home,” Mayor Haslam said. “Let me thank specifically my friend Jimmy Duncan for taking a leadership role with my campaign. Tennessee’s Second District is in good hands with him, and as governor, I will look forward to carrying on our strong working relationship and friendship.”