Local Tea Party leader, Trump delegate to run for governor – Johnson City Press (subscription)

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Johnson City real estate agent Kay White alluded in a July 8 Facebook post that she would announce the launch of her campaign on July 22.

The avid Tea Party advocate issued the informal statement in response to a friend who had posted on her page.

“I am making an official announcement on July 22nd at 5 p.m. at the Jonesborough Courthouse steps followed by a celebration at the ‘Barn’ just off Boones Creek Road on to Old Gray Station Rd. There will be signs! Bring everyone with you. It is time that we have representation for upper East TN. Some people seem to think that East TN. stops in Knoxville! Many blessings, Kay White,” the post read.

The announcement comes as a bit of a surprise considering, just a few months ago, White was a staunch supporter of Mount Juliet Rep. Mae Beavers’ bid for governor.

In a March Facebook post, which has since been deleted, White said Beavers “is known for standing up for what is right against all odds.”

“She opposed the fuel tax, transgender bathrooms and has a bill ready to require all immigrants here on a ‘visa’ with a driver’s license to have those stamped ‘non citizen’ to prohibit them from voting until they have gone through the proper channels and are legal citizens with voting rights,” the posting said about Beavers.

“Think about that, we would have our own Margaret Thatcher and Jan Brewer wrapped into one!”

White did not answer a Johnson City Press reporter’s calls on Thursday.

On Wednesday, White told the Nashville Scene, which first reported White’s aspirations to become governor, that Beavers was “great” but that “some people affiliated with her campaign have caused me to doubt her judgment, which concerns me as far as who she’d appoint should she win.” 

The social media-savvy Hawkins County native is a vocal proponent of President Donald Trump and served as East Tennessee chairman of his campaign during the 2016 election. White also attended both the 2016 Republican National Convention and Trump’s inauguration ceremony.

“Wow what a wonderful speech our President Trump gave to Americans tonight,” White posted on July 1. “If you missed it, watch the rerun! God blessed America when he allowed us to elect this man!”

White’s politics were quite different in the 1990s, when she ran as a Democrat for the Tennessee’s 1st District U.S. House seat.

In 1998 and 1996, White lost both general elections to former Republican U.S Rep. Bill Jenkins. She did taste victory during the 1996 Democratic primary, earning 3,276 votes to defeat three other candidates.

If White follows through with the announcement, she will join Beavers, businessman Randy Boyd and Franklin native Bill Lee as Republican candidates.

Email Zach Vance at zvance@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow Zach Vance on Twitter at @ZachVanceJCP. Like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/ZachVanceJCP.