Former Tennessee Economic Development Commissioner Randy Boyd says he's "heavily leaning" toward announcing his plans to run for governor in 2018 as he believes that no other candidate will top his campaign war chest.
In a telephone interview Friday, the wealthy Knoxville native said since exiting his job as commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development last month he's traveled to slightly more than a dozen counties, including Hamilton, Sullivan, Shelby and Davidson.
During his travels, Boyd said, he's been to talking to Tennesseans about a potential gubernatorial bid.
"While I'm not ready to announce yet, I'm heavily leaning toward doing so sometime in the very, very near future," he said.
Boyd said he could file paperwork with the state and have a formal announcement in the "next few weeks."
He said his decision to enter the race would not be determined by the potential field of candidates.
Other potential Republican candidates include U.S. Rep. Diane Black, House Speaker Beth Harwell, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, Franklin businessman Bill Lee and former state lawmaker Joe Carr.
Sen. Mark Green is the only candidate to launch a bid. U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, also is considered a possibility to run for governor.
"In my business I had a dozen competitors making invisible fences so if I have a dozen competitors running for this it's not really any different," Boyd said, while dropping hints about the potential to self-fund a campaign.
"I like my chances. Nobody is going to be able to out-invest me. So I don't really have to worry about finances," he said. "From a raising funds point of view, we'll do well. I'm prepared personally to commit to whatever it takes to be successful."
In his talks around the state, Boyd said people have been positive about someone who is not a career politician.
"I wasn't quite sure that I would have liked the idea of campaigning, but if it's like these last three weeks — it's a great way to get to know your state," he said.
Before becoming ECD commissioner in January 2015, Boyd was focused on his various businesses. He owns Radio Systems Corp., a company that owns several brands, including the Invisible Fence.
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Boyd also owns two minor league baseball teams — the Tennessee Smokies, a AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, and the Johnson City Cardinals, a rookie league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Reach Joel Ebert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-772-1681 and on Twitter @joelebert29.