Jason Martin, a Nashville physician, officially launched his campaign on Monday for the Tennessee Democratic Gubernatorial nomination.
Martin has gained media attention and prominence among Democrats throughout the state, largely due to his criticism of Governor Bill Lee.
In the official campaign rollout, Martin continued to knock Lee for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing the incumbent governor has not done enough.
“Overall, I feel like the governor’s response to COVID has been ‘Fend for yourself.’ I think it’s costing people lives,” he told The Tennessean.
According to a series of tweets, the Democrat has committed to campaign as a “moderate” and will focus on affordable health care and increasing funding to public schools throughout the state.
Health and growth…stability and prosperity.
That’s the Tennessee we need, and that is why I’m running for governor.
— Jason B. Martin, MD (@jasonbmartin) August 23, 2021
In the primary contest, Martin joins a small field of contenders vying for the nomination. He will face former chair of the Greene County Democratic Party Casey Nicholson and activist Carnita Atwater.
If Martin is successful in the Democratic primary, the self-described “moderate” will face an uphill battle in the general election. Assuming Lee secures the Republican nomination, the incumbent will likely be heavily favored. In 2018, Lee trounced his Democratic opponent, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.
In his quest for an additional term, Lee is likely to be bolstered by the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who remains popular with Republicans throughout the state.
“Governor Bill Lee is an outsider who led the Great State of Tennessee through difficult times, without compromising his Conservative Values. Tennesseans enjoy more freedom than ever before. He fully supports Law Enforcement, Strong Borders, the Second Amendment, our Military and our Vets. Re-electing Bill Lee means putting America first. Bill has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Trump said earlier this month.
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