Although U.S. Rep. Diane Black has yet to announce her plans for 2018 if she opts to run for governor Tennesseans might see a familiar name on the ballot: Scottie Nell Hughes.
An outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump, Hughes told the USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee that she is being encouraged to run for office.
“I’ve been approached by several to consider the congressional race if Congresswoman Diane Black decides to move on and run for governor,” said the Brentwood native and longtime Hendersonville resident, who frequently stumped for Trump during the 2016 campaign.
“She’s a very powerful Republican female in Washington, D.C. and I would definitely consider it knowing that the Republican Party needs to continue to have strong female leadership and female voices in D.C.”
Black, who earlier this year became chairman of the House Budget Committee and has been mulling a run for governor, has yet to announce her plans for the 2018 election cycle.
Hughes said those who have encouraged her to make her first run for elected office include Tennessee politicians, residents of the state, Tea Party organizations, Trump campaign members and supporters, as well as people in Washington.
“I always said I would never put my name on the ballot. That’s not me. I’ve always been the person that has been out there trying to hold government officials accountable,” she said.
When asked what has changed, Hughes said, “President Trump and his administration and I’m seeing where the fight is needed.”
Hughes said it would be unfair for her to campaign alongside Trump and not continue to fight to help him keep his promises.
“I can do it as a journalist, I can do it as what I’m doing right now,” she said, referring to her current role as spokeswoman for the Committee to Defend the President. “Or I can actually really go into Congress and continue to fight in a place where he definitely needs allies right now.”
Hughes stressed that she has no interest in challenging Black, whose district she lives in, should the Gallatin-based congresswoman opt to seek a fifth consecutive term. Hughes said they are friends, their daughters are friends and Black attended Hughes’ wedding.
While she has not talked to directly to Black about a potential run, Hughes said events that she’s been doing in recent weeks and others that she has had pre-scheduled in the coming months shows there’s an interest in the 6th Congressional District to find out more about her.
“I welcome the opportunity to get to know their families because I imagine that their families are a lot like my own so I know exactly how to represent them if I go down that path and run for Congress,” she said.
Overall, Hughes has already received assurances that she would have support if she were to ultimately run.
“I am blessed that I have a lot of very experienced campaign both in Washington, D.C. and Tennessee who have already told me if you’re in we’re supporting you,” she said.
In terms of the 2018 gubernatorial race, Hughes declined to weigh in yet, saying she prefers to wait until the field of candidates has become more settled.
Overall, the political commentator said she the upcoming election could see some reverberations after Trump’s election.
“2018 is going to be for Tennessee what I think the country went through in 2016. It’s going to be very, very interesting,” said Hughes, while rejecting the notion that there could be a backlash against Trump in the Volunteer State.