GOP gov race: CA endorses, candidates attack and where they stand on health care

Lots of information and opinions on the Republican gubernatorial primary in today's Opinion section at The CA -- we'll provide the links to the editorial board's endorsement of Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, to Otis Sanford's near-endorsement of U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Chattanooga and the Tennessee Newspaper Network's comprehensive survey of all four candidates' views on the issue of health care. But if you are a serious reader, it's well worth your $2 to run out and get a copy -- or hit this link to get one of the all-time great products, home delivery of the newspaper to keep you well informed.

The editorial board, which includes citizens, settled on Haslam in part because its view that the Knoxville mayor has the "temperament" to work well with others and proven executive experience. But Otis Sanford clearly came away from the board's interview with Zach Wamp very impressed. The board will have to decide in November whether to recommend Haslam, Wamp or State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey against Democrat Mike McWherter (who is running unopposed in the Aug. 5 primary), but the view from the editorial board members seems clear -- they see Haslam and Wamp as good choices.

In the news pages, our Nashville correspondent, Richard Locker, was at the Davidson County GOP picnic Saturday, where if you had just landed in Tennessee with no prior knowledge of the state of things, it would be obvious that Haslam's opponents consider him the clear leader. Wamp and Ramsey have not been shy over the last 18 months pointing to what they see as Haslam's conservative deficiencies, but as early-voting looms (it begins Friday), the fact that they are increasing the attacks speaks volumes. When he was in town last week, I asked Wamp about Ramsey and the congressman suggested that "conservatives needed to close ranks" and vote for Wamp. though Wamp did not specifically say a vote for Ramsey is a wasted vote, that was certainly the implication.

Here is the piece on all of the candidates' views on health care, with Knoxville providing this break out of all the questions and answers.

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