Blake Harris

Blake Harris

Gov. Bill Lee’s chief of staff Blake Harris is leaving to work on Lee’s reelection and other Republican campaigns.

Joseph Williams, currently director of the governor’s office of external affairs, will take over as chief of staff at the end of the year.

Alec Richardson, currently deputy chief of staff, will remain in that role but also assume the position of director of external affairs.

In 2022, Harris will also work with the Republican Governors Association on its campaign efforts. Harris was a strategist on Lee’s successful 2018 campaign and executive director of his transition team.

“Blake’s leadership and friendship have been invaluable to Maria and me since the beginning of our campaign,” Lee said in a release. “I join Tennesseans in thanking Blake for his service to our state as his leadership ensured administrative priorities became a reality. We look forward to continued success as Joseph assumes chief of staff responsibilities and continues our efforts to serve Tennesseans well.”

So far, Lee has only nominal opposition in the 2022 GOP primary. Several Democrats have launched campaigns for governor, including Memphis City Councilmember JB Smiley Jr. and Nashville physician Jason Martin.