NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nexstar) – Randy Boyd hopes his lifelong passion helps take him to the governor’s office one step at a time.
He is literally running across the state as part of his campaign for the Republican nomination and as he logs mile after mile almost daily, he’s racking up endorsements and donations.
The idea of a candidate for governor doing something from one end to the other of Tennessee is not new.
Lamar Alexander walked in 1978 in a red plaid shirt, and Boyd even has company in his own party as fellow candidate Bill Lee is driving a tractor, but Boyd is picking up the pace a bit.
“Normally, I would run at 5-5:30 in the morning, but now I wait a few hours later when reporters are more likely to show up,” chuckled Boyd.
“Its my time to reset and think. Most of my speeches or comments I usually formulate during a run.”
When reporters do show he tells about his resume that includes being a Knoxville businessman, adviser to Governor Bill Haslam and state economic development commissioner.
Boyd’s fitness routine folds into his view on health care issues, often seen as a key concern of voters.
“The thing we need to spend more time talking about is how we can have a healthier population,” he said recently to a this reporter who did not join him for a run. “We can’t afford the health that we have.”
On this day of the interview, Boyd was shoring up support at a meeting of county mayors.
He knows many them from his time as state economic commissioner which followed his business career of building a pet products company in Knoxville.
“I have managed to create company that has 700 employees from scratch, so I know what it means to bet everything you own to start a business and to create jobs.”
Along with jobs, Boyd points to his time as an education adviser with Governor Haslam for help starting free community or technical college for all Tennesseans and increasing college grad rates with the program called Drive to 55.
And then there is fundraising. Boyd leads the pack of candidates with $4.3 million raised in the first round of campaign finance reports, including $2 million from his own pocket.
Boyd so far has been running in East Tennessee. He has until the Republican Primary next August to get across the rest of the state.