VOL. 132 | NO. 222 | Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Boyd Completes Statewide Trek at Beale Street Landing
By Bill Dries
The finish line was uphill Tuesday, Nov. 7, as Republican contender for Tennessee governor Randy Boyd completed a 537.3-mile run across the state that began in August at the Tennessee-Virginia state line in Bristol.
With 19 other runners, Boyd ran up the hill at Beale Street Landing by the Mississippi River through a red finish-line banner bearing the logo of his campaign and then wrote a chalk X on the sidewalk atop the landing and wrote out the mileage, just as he has at the end of each day along the run.
“It’s a great way to get to know the state,” Boyd said. “I wanted to travel the state slowly. And what better way to get to know your state than doing it on foot.”
Randy Boyd crosses the finish line at Beale Street Landing for his run across the state of Tennessee. (Daily News/Houston Cofield)
Boyd’s Memphis leg was 4.3 miles that began at Overton Park Seventh Day Adventist Church, 1224 Chelsea Ave., in North Memphis. There was an extra mile added that included running a Downtown block twice, so Boyd’s campaign could claim he “went the extra mile for Shelby County.”
Treks across the state have been a Republican campaign tradition since 1978 when Lamar Alexander walked from Mountain City to Memphis in that year’s primary for governor, which he won and then went on to win the general election.
Boyd, a Knoxville businessman and former Tennessee commissioner of economic and community development, is a runner. He says daily runs relax him. He ran the Memphis leg after running and completing the New York City marathon on Sunday. It was his 10th New York City marathon.
So he sees the run for the campaign as more than a metaphor and more than another campaign trek.
“There’s no walking in this. We run,” Boyd said. “I think it’s a new tradition to run across the state. Maybe a candidate in Rhode Island has accidentally run across the state, but I don’t think anyone in a state like Tennessee has run across the state.”
Campaigning statewide is challenging. There are two time zones and Mountain City, on the state’s easternmost end, is actually closer to Canada than it is to Memphis. The distance means candidates have to raise a lot of money just to get their message out, with television and radio advertising as well as a healthy travel budget.
There are also cultural and political differences from one part of the state to another.
“I think sometimes candidates will fly into a community, give a 15-minute speech, everybody pats them on the back and they fly out,” Boyd said. “That’s not me. That’s not our campaign. We want to spend time listening to people.”
Boyd began the run across the state one year to the day before the Aug. 2, 2018, Republican primary for governor and completed the run one year to the day of the Nov. 7, 2018, statewide general election. He is one of six candidates for governor in the Republican primary.
Republican rival Bill Lee, a Williamson County businessman, recently completed a tractor ride at a clip of 24 miles per hour from Mountain City to Memphis.