Officially bowing out of the GOP race for governor, Bill Gibbons said he never really had enough campaign cash to make a solid run at the Republican nomination.
Citing the lack of funds as his “only reason” for dropping out of the race, Gibbons said he probably lost his bid within the first 60 days of his candidacy.
“We were really behind the curve from day one,” said Gibbons in a Downtown Nashville press conference Friday. “To some degree, maybe we lost this campaign in the first 60 days because we were just not ready to hit the ground running on that fund raising.”
Gibbons was one of four remaining candidates running in the Republican primary election slated for Aug. 5. His fund raising was well behind those of his opponents, especially Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam’s, whose personal wealth from the Pilot Oil family business was a constant target of criticism from the Shelby County prosecutor. Haslam had $4.2 million in the bank as of March 22.
As of Feb. 25, Gibbons had $245,562.64 in his campaign fund.
Gibbons said he lacked a statewide fund raising network. While his roots, name recognition and support was strong down in Memphis, he said, he struggled to drum up support in the rest of the state.
Gibbons added that he does not foresee running again for governor. Were he to do it all over again, Gibbons said he would have begun raising money about a year before announcing he was officially seeking the seat.
Now that Gibbons is officially out of the race, there are no remaining gubernatorial candidates from the Memphis area. Sen. Jim Kyle, a Memphis Democrat who serves as the party’s leader in the Senate, dropped out last month.
Gibbons said he wasn’t sure if he would endorse any of his former gubernatorial opponents.
Andrea Zelinski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.