The two men who want to be the next Governor of Tennessee faced off in a debate which aired on Local 24 News, your Local Election Headquarters.
The event in Nashville marked the final opportunity for Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Karl Dean to make their case to a statewide televised audience.
For Dean, it also was the last chance on a debate stage to make up ground and sway undecided voters, in a race in which the latest polls show him trailing by a significant margin.
The candidates showed contrasts on a question of whether they supported the TBI investigating all officer-involved shootings, not just deadly ones. The topic is of great interest in Memphis, after three MPD officers had their body and dash cameras off last month during the shooting of Martavious Banks.
“You need an outside group to come in and look at it and evaluate it and investigate it in a neutral manner and make the right decisions and recommendations,” Dean said.
“When there is a shooting fatality, I think the TBI should be brought in, we don’t have the resources to investigate every shooting,” Lee said.
The two candidates also differed on whether Medicaid should be expanded under the Affordable Care Act.
“People are hurting right now, so the talk of putting it off 15 to 20 years is the wrong approach,” Dean said. “You know, this is self-serving but it’s the truth, if you want Medicaid expansion, you vote Karl Dean for Governor.”
“Making that broken system even bigger, expanding it even beyond where it is today, is not the right approach for Tennessee,” Lee said.
The issue of sports betting also drew a strong contrast between the Dean and Lee.
“I think that organized betting frequently develops into organized crime that we don’t need in our state,” Lee said.
“We are going to have every state surrounding out state with sports betting and people will be going to those states spending money instead of here,” Dean said.
Early voting begins statewide Wednesday.
The winner will replace outgoing Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, who is term-limited.