The only top-tier gubernatorial candidate from East Tennessee celebrated the first day of early voting in Washington County on Friday.
Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, who’s running as a Republican, mingled with voters at each of the county’s three early voting sites: Washington County Courthouse, 100 Main St., Jonesborough; Johnson City Fire Station 8, 106 Gray Commons Area; and the Princeton Arts Center, 2516 E. Oakland Ave., Johnson City.
According to Administrator of Elections Maybell Stewart, more than 600 voters had participated in early voting on Friday.
Before heading back out on the campaign trail, Boyd stopped by the Johnson City Press to chat about the conclusion of his campaign.
“Most of the big things that have happened in the campaign started in Upper East Tennessee, which seems only right since that’s where our state started. So it seems like the right thing to do,” Boyd said during his sit-down with the Johnson City Press.
“As far as our strategy is concerned, it’s like it’s been the whole time: Just continue to get to know the people in the state of Tennessee and ask for their vote. So for the next two weeks, during early voting, we’re going to be standing at polls all across the state, shaking hands, asking people to vote for us (and) answering any questions they might have.”
With only two weeks left before the Aug. 2 election, Boyd said his campaign will be targeting Tennessee’s top 20 counties with the most voters.
In late June, U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s campaign launched the first non-PAC attack ad of the 2018 gubernatorial primary, specifically targeting Boyd and Williamson County businessman Bill Lee as “two moderates.”
Just a day later, her campaign followed with another attack ad specifically targeting Boyd’s pet products company, Radio Systems, for partnering with the Humane Society of the United States, which the ad deemed an “anti-hunting organization.”
Just a few weeks ago, following a news report in the Tennessean that claimed Boyd avoided paying “millions” in U.S. and international taxes by using a “double Irish” loophole, the Black campaign pounced again with another ad asking viewers if they had, “seen the headlines about Randy Boyd?”
Less than a week ago, Boyd finally released his own ad directed solely at Black where he says “Diane Black is a 20-year career politician that’s launched desperate attacks that are false. The truth is my company and I pay all of our taxes ... A lot in taxes.”
“I was hoping to have a positive campaign from beginning to end,” Boyd said. “I was really disappointed to see all the attack ads that started about two weeks ago. But after about a week, we realized we had to respond, both in defending ourselves and to set the record straight. I regret we had to do it, but it was necessary.”
“We pay all our taxes”
Responding specifically to the Tennessean story, Boyd said 85 percent of his company’s sales are in the United States, and in the past 12 years, his company has paid more than $97 million in federal taxes.
“We pay all of our taxes that we’re required to, and we paid a lot of taxes. But we are a global company. We have companies in Australia, in Ireland, in Canada, in Japan, in China (and) in the Netherlands,” Boyd said.
“So when we do business there, we’re going to pay the taxes we owe there. If we ever bring any of that money to the United States, then we have to pay taxes on it here. We’re like any other international company. That’s purely somebody who doesn’t have any understanding of a global business.”