Former Fayette County Public Schools board member Civil Miller-Watkins joined Tennessee’s 2024 Senate race, adding another name to the list of Democratic nominee hopefuls.
Miller-Watkins filed her statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 4 after floating the prospect of a run in the summer.
She said her experience in a rural county and its lack of resources, along with concerns about “kitchen table issues,” prompted her candidacy.
“When you live in a rural county, you try to figure out where you’re going to the hospital: one is 40 minutes away and another 30 minutes,” Miller-Watkins said. “There were times when I felt I had no one to represent me. And I’ve had to ask about kitchen table issues, like when [Ford] Blue Oval City came in, I asked if there would be jobs for people from Fayette County.”
She joins Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, in the primary. Johnson announced her bid on Sept. 5.
During the initial weeks of her candidacy Johnson showed a prowess for fundraising, bringing in $1.3 million as of the most recent Sept. 30 disclosure deadline.
Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn is still heavily favored in the race, holding a strong cash advantage over the field with $6.5 million in the bank as of the Sept. 30 deadline.
Marquita Bradshaw of Memphis announced she would seek the 2024 nomination but has not filed a statement of candidacy. She was the Democratic nominee for Senate in 2020, losing to Republican Bill Hagerty.
Miller-Watkins ran for a West Tennessee state House seat in 2016, losing in the Democratic primary. In 2020, she ran for state Senate against Sen. Page Walley, R-Bolivar, losing to him in the general election.
Miller-Watkins is secretary of the Tennessee Democratic County Chairs Association.
The primary election will be held Aug. 1, 2024 with the general election on Nov. 5, 2024.
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