Governor race full screen - Bill Lee and Karl Dean

Democrat Karl Dean (right) lost out to Republican Bill Lee (left) in the Tennessee governor's race on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

NASHVILLE (WSMV) - Democratic challenger for governor of Tennessee, Karl Dean, released a statement Wednesday after losing out to Republican Bill Lee, Tennessee's new governor-elect.

In his statement, he says that he called Lee on Tuesday night to congratulate him on becoming our next governor. Dean says that his campaign may be finished, but the vision he has for a better Tennessee lives on and that "if we keep working hard, we will move Tennessee forward."

Dean said his "heart is filled with thanks" and that the campaign would not have been possible without the support of the people.

Read the full statement below:


Last night I called Bill Lee and congratulated him on becoming our next governor. I look forward to working with him whenever I can to help him do great things for our state.

We launched this campaign almost two years ago with a vision and a plan for Tennessee. I traveled to all 95 counties meeting folks like you who share our passion and our love for this state. This campaign has come to an end, but our vision lives on. I know that if we keep working hard, we will move Tennessee forward.

We’ll make health care more affordable and accessible. We’ll bring good-paying jobs to the state. We’ll invest in our public schools, our citizens, and our communities. I won’t be the governor that does it -- but it will happen.

Here’s what gives me hope: Voter turnout in this election was historically high. Just four years ago, we were ranked last in voter turnout out of all 50 states. But this year, almost three times as many Tennesseans came out and voted. That’s huge, and it tells me that the future of our state is bright.

This race may be over, but the fight isn’t.

My granddaughter, Davis, was born right around the time we launched this campaign. Last week, we added newborn twin grandsons to our family. As governor, I wanted to make Tennessee a place where they could grow up safe and healthy and secure. And we are not that place -- not yet.

Parts of our state are still struggling. Rural hospitals are closing, and public schools don’t have the funding they need to help our kids succeed. Jobs have left, and they aren’t coming back. All of that is still true, but I’m optimistic that if we work hard, and if we work together, we can solve those problems and bring more opportunities to Tennessee.

Today, my heart is filled with thanks. There are so many people I’m grateful for. My wife, Anne, who has stood by me for 35 years. Our children, Rascoe, Wallen, and Frances, and our daughter-in-law, Caroline. My extraordinary, indefatigable campaign staff. And you.

This campaign would have been impossible without you. You gave me your support. You gave me your time, your energy, and your hard-earned money. And most of all, you gave me your vote. I’ll never forget that, friend. It means the world to me.

Thank you for your confidence in my vision. Thank you for believing in me, and most of all, thank you for believing in Tennessee.


Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

WSMV Digital Content Producer

Joey is an award-winning Digital Content Producer on the WSMV Digital Team! A graduate of the University of South Carolina-Aiken, Joey joined WSMV in September 2018. He's happy to be Working 4 You!

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