Wednesday, November 7

Republican Bill Lee wins race for Tennessee governor, defeating Democrat Karl Dean (Tennessean) Tennesseans elected Republican Bill Lee as the state’s 50th governor on Tuesday, voting into office a political newcomer who rose to prominence traveling the state in an RV, avoiding negative attacks and appealing to voters as a conservative businessman and devout person of faith. With more than three-quarters of precincts reporting, Lee, 59, held a 59 percent to 39 percent lead over Democrat Karl Dean in the race for governor. “I’m humbled. I’m honored. And I couldn’t be more grateful,” Lee said to a crowd of supporters in Franklin as he stood next to his wife, Maria. “I’m grateful you placed your trust in us to lead this great state of Tennessee.”

Lee winner in Tennessee governor’s race; Dean concedes (WSMV-TV) Republican Bill Lee is claiming victor in the Tennessee governor’s race, he gave an acceptance speech addressing supporters. “The last 18 months have been some of the most extraordinary of my life,” said Lee. Lee addressed those who didn’t vote for him, saying that he cares about them and their families, and is going to work hard to make all Tennesseans proud. “I believe all Tennesseans have more that unites us than divides us,” said Lee in his speech.

Bill Lee wins Tennessee Governor’s race (WTVF-TV) Republican businessman Bill Lee has won the Tennessee Governor’s race, defeating former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. Lee – a cattle farmer and chairman of a mechanical contracting, facilities, and home services company – will replace Governor Bill Haslam, who assumed office in 2011. President Trump endorsed Lee following his primary win back in August. Several polls, including one from CNN, indicated that Lee had a double-digit lead over Dean as recent as November 1. Throughout the campaign, Lee and Dean sparred frequently on issues ranging from education to guns to healthcare.

Governor-Elect Lee Celebrates Win To Shouts Of ‘Amen’ (WPLN Radio) Tennessee’s next governor celebrated Tuesday night to shouts of “amen” and by pledging to follow the “Golden Rule.” Republican Bill Lee won in a lopsided victory with nearly 60 percent of the vote but struck a tone of humility. Many voters liked Bill Lee’s positive tone even in the primary race, when he came from behind to easily win a five-way race. On Tuesday, Steve Johnson of Smyrna voted for Lee, calling him a “good man.” “He did not do a smear campaign,” Johnson said. “He never talked bad about anybody.”

Video: Bill Lee Victory Speech (Tennessean)

Bill Lee is Tennessee’s next governor. Here’s how he’ll begin to shape education (Chalkbeat Tennessee) A political novice, Republican businessman Bill Lee has defied conventional wisdom to become Tennessee’s next governor. Now he’ll have to show that he can govern, too, over a state that has pioneered education reforms for a decade and climbed national rankings on student achievement. Lee touted his outsider and business background in cruising to victory Tuesday over former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. A native of tony Williamson County, south of Nashville, he has run a 1,200-employee company there with annual revenues of $250 million. But as the state’s chief executive, he’ll become the top boss to half as many full-time workers in the Education Department alone. He’ll oversee a $37 billion budget, including more than $6 billion to fund schools. And his administration will cast the vision for policies that will affect about a million public school students, a third of whom come from low-income families.

Bill Lee elected governor (Nashville Post) Republican Bill Lee will be Tennessee’s next governor. In his first run for political office, the Franklin businessman bested Democrat and former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. With returns still coming in early Tuesday night, Lee had a sizable lead he was expected to hold. After a surprise primary victory over Randy Boyd and Diane Black, Lee consistently led Dean in polling. The two were mostly cordial on the campaign trail, offering praise for one another from debate stages, though Dean attempted to distance himself from Lee on issues including health care and gun safety. Dean said he would have called a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly to pass Medicaid expansion, while Lee opposes such an expansion.

Photos: Bill Lee elected governor (WKRN-TV)

​​​​​​​Tennessee Governor Race: Republican Bill Lee Wins Race Against Democrat Karl Dean (WATN-TV) Republican businessman Bill Lee won over Tennessee voters to become the state’s next Governor. Lee was declared the winner over former Nashville mayor democrat Karl Dean less than an hour after the polls closed. The Governor-elect walked out to hundreds of supporters at Liberty Hall inside The Factory at Franklin. Lee’s acceptance speech centered around unity. He thanked his family and supporters, but he also talked directly to Tennesseans who did not vote for him.

Republican Bill Lee elected Tennessee’s 50th governor (Johnson City Press) Once a little-known business owner from Franklin, Republican nominee Bill Lee will now be Tennessee’s 50th governor, succeeding term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam. Lee, who had never before sought public office, won an overwhelming majority of the vote, 60.62 percent, to defeat Democrat Karl Dean, who previously served as the mayor of Nashville. While he gained 1.264 million votes statewide to Dean’s 789,039, Lee also had a strong showing in Washington County where he gained 31,039 votes compared to Dean’s 13,559 votes. The Associated Press called the Tennessee governor’s race very early Tuesday night, not long after polls closed and early voting totals showed he was the obvious winner.

Bill Lee’s wife: 6 things to know about next Tennessee first lady Maria Lee (Tennessean) Most Tennesseans are familiar with Bill Lee’s story: He’s a Franklin native and runs Lee Co., an HVAC, plumbing and electrical repair business. But what about his wife of 10 years, Maria? Here are six things to know about Tennessee’s next first lady. Who is Maria Lee? Maria Lee grew up in a middle-class neighborhood and an Italian family. Her mother was a stay-at-home mom, and her dad laid tile. How did Maria and Bill Lee meet? Maria Lee was the third-grade teacher for Caleb, one of four children of Bill Lee and his first wife, Carol Ann, who died in a horse riding accident in 2000. Maria Lee also coached Bill Lee’s daughter Jessica in cross-country and track.

Bill Lee wins Tennessee Governor’s race (WTVF-TV) Republican businessman Bill Lee has won the Tennessee Governor’s race, defeating former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. Lee – a cattle farmer and chairman of a mechanical contracting, facilities, and home services company – will replace Governor Bill Haslam, who assumed office in 2011. President Trump endorsed Lee following his primary win back in August. Several polls, including one from CNN, indicated that Lee had a double-digit lead over Dean as recent as November 1.

Video: Karl Dean Concession Speech (Tennessean)

Tennessee Exit Poll: Voters divided over state of the nation (AP) Voters casting midterm election ballots in Tennessee are divided over the state of the nation, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate. As voters cast ballots for governor, U.S. Senate and members of Congress in Tuesday’s elections, AP VoteCast found that 53 percent of Tennessee voters said the country is on the right track, compared with 45 percent who said the country is headed in the wrong direction. Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in Tennessee, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 135,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,644 voters and 742 nonvoters in the state of Tennessee — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Marsha Blackburn defeats Phil Bredesen, will become Tennessee’s first female senator (Tennessean) Signaling a new direction for Tennessee and helping to cement GOP control of the U.S. Senate, Republican Marsha Blackburn beat Democrat Phil Bredesen on Tuesday to become the state’s first female elected to the upper chamber. With 62 percent of the vote counted, the Associated Press called the race for Blackburn at 9:06 p.m. Central. The victory helped national Republicans in their efforts to control the Senate. “I think the entire country has heard Tennessee loud and clear,” Blackburn told her supporters Tuesday night. “Tennesseans want a conservative U.S. Senator.”

GOP’s Blackburn wins US Senate race in Tennessee (AP) Republican Marsha Blackburn has won a grueling, expensive contest to become the first female U.S. senator from Tennessee. “I want to say thank you to the voters of Tennessee. Thank you for believing in me and giving me your vote….. first woman ever elected to senate from Tennessee,” Blackburn said.  “Tennesseans want a conservative U.S. senator who is going to take Tennessee values and put them to work for you in Washington D.C.” The congresswoman defeated Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen on Tuesday by closely aligning her bid with President Donald Trump, who made three visits to the state for her.

Election Day Notebook: Blackburn wins ugly, urban-rural divide deepens, Gibson’s gets flack, and more (Daily Memphian) Two quotes in the closing days of this year’s midterm election, both on the subject of the “migrant caravan” as a political motivator: First, outgoing Tennessee junior Sen. Bob Corker: “We all know what’s happening. It’s all about revving up the base, using fear to stimulate people to come out at the polls,” Second, now-incoming Tennessee junior Sen.-elect Marsha Blackburn, in a tweet on Sunday: “There is a right & wrong way to come to our country & the illegal alien mob marching on our border is an invading force that must be stopped. My opponent has doubled down on his belief that there is no threat & thinks the wall is ‘political theater.’” Hunter S. Thompson wrote about fear and loathing on the campaign trail in 1972, but it fits the present moment like perhaps no time since.

Blackburn Wins Decisively To Become Tennessee’s First Female Senator (WPLN Radio) The polls were showing the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee as almost a toss-up, but Republican Marsha Blackburn was able to win decisively against Democrat Phil Bredesen. The Brentwood representative won by double digits. Though she acknowledged it was a hard-fought race, the Senator-elect says people in the state sent a loud message that they want conservative values in Washington D.C. She told her supporters she is going to fight for five things: Faith, Family, Freedom, Hope and Opportunity. “I was running to take those values that we share. And to work in D.C. on the things you want to see done. More constitutional judges, lower taxes, less regulations.”

Marsha Blackburn US Senate win prompts mockery of Taylor Swift (Tennessean) Marsha Blackburn supporters called out Taylor Swift after Blackburn’s win against former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen in the U.S. Senate race. Back in October, Swift publicly rebuked Blackburn and endorsed Bredesen in an Instagram post. “Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me,” she said. Twitter was full of users mocking the 28-year-old pop superstar for her choice in the race.

Blackburn wins Tennessee’s US Senate race (WTVF-TV) Marsha Blackburn has won the Tennessee U.S. Senate race to replace Bob Corker. Corker, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent critic of President Trump, is stepping aside after a dozen years. The contentious campaign garnered attention from across the country, with Bredesen being among a handful of Democrats who had a viable shot at taking a Senate seat away from the GOP.

Marsha Blackburn wins Tennessee’s US Senate race: 4 takeaways on her historic victory (Tennessean) Republican Marsha Blackburn defeated former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in a closely watched race for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday night. Blackburn, a conservative Williamson County congressman, will succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, as the state’s next junior senator. She becomes the first women elected to the seat. Here are four takeaways from Blackburn’s historic win: Race came together for Blackburn, fell apart for Bredesen, in final weeks.

Blackburn elected to U.S. Senate (Nashville Post) Republican representative is first woman from Tennessee elected to U.S. Senate. Republican Marsha Blackburn has defeated Democrat Phil Bredesen in their closely watched race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker. Blackburn, an eight-term congressman from Brentwood, closely tied herself during the campaign to President Donald Trump, who appeared three times in the state on her behalf, including on Sunday in Chattanooga. She warned often that Bredesen would support national Democratic priorities out of touch with Tennessee voters, though the former governor and Nashville mayor sought to paint himself as a moderate throughout the race. In the final weeks of the race, Blackburn’s campaign echoed Trump’s fear mongering and often unfounded anti-immigrant rhetoric directed at the so-called caravan of migrants traveling from north from Central America.

Blackburn wins Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race (WATE-TV) Marsha Blackburn has been declared the victor of Tennessee’s high-dollar U.S. Senate race against former Governor Phil Bredesen. Bredesen conceded the race a little after 10 p.m. EST in Nashville. Blackburn, in her victory speech to her supporters in Franklin, said she would be taking Tennessean values to Washington as their new Senator. Blackburn campaigned on what she called conservative, Tennessean values. The former House representative from Tennessee’s 7th congressional district will be the first woman to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.  The highly anticipated Tennessee U.S. Senate race between Marsha Blackburn and Phil Bredesen is coming down to a lull before the roar as voters turn out to the polls across the state.

Lee makes history; Blackburn rolls over Bredesen (Daily Memphian) Republican Bill Lee roared to victory Tuesday as the next Tennessee governor, making history by becoming the state’s first GOP governor-elect to follow a Republican governor in office. And in the most expensive campaign in Tennessee history, Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn trounced former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen Tuesday. Lee, who traveled the entire state twice during his campaign, thanked Democrat Karl Dean for running a good race after winning handily, picking up 1.25 million votes, 60.7 percent, to Dean’s 773,786, 37.58 percent. “Running for governor is tough work, and it means a lot to put yourself out there to the voters – we need more involvement in the public discourse, not less, and I thank Karl for his commitment to our state,” Lee said at his election headquarters at The Factory in Franklin.

Marsha Blackburn wins U.S. Senate race in Tennessee (WJHL-TV) Tennessee voters have decided to send Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn to the U.S. Senate, dashing Democratic dreams of a red-state upset in their quest to gain control of Congress. Blackburn is the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate by Tennesseans. She will take the seat currently held by Sen. Bob Corker, who decided not to run for re-election. She has described herself as a “hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative” who is “politically incorrect and proud of it.” Tuesday night, the Senator-elect issued this statement regarding her win: “You have sent a message that it is time to take Tennessee conservative values to Washington and keep our state and our country moving forward.

Marsha Blackburn defeats Phil Bredesen to win U.S. Senate seat (WMC-TV) Republican Marsha Blackburn is projected to win the U.S. Senate seat, beating out Democrat opponent Phil Bredesen, according to NBC News. She had this message for her democratic challenger former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen — in a race that featured millions in spending and attack ads. “To Phil Bredesen and his team, I want to congratulate them on a hard-fought race and I hope they know that my door is always open,” Blackburn said during her acceptance speech. “And to their supporters I hope that they will work with us for better tomorrows for our children and our grandchildren.”

Blackburn beats Bredesen in Senate race (Johnson City Press) Republican Congressman Marsha Blackburn defeated former Gov. Phil Bredesen Tuesday in a closely watched race to become the first woman to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate. Both Republicans and Democrats had predicted the outcome of the race to be much closer. State election officials said unofficial results showed Blackburn with 1,125,861 votes to 857,965 for her Democratic opponent. That included 28,488 votes for Blackburn in Washington County, 13,944  in Carter County and 4,655 cast in Unicoi County. At the same time, Bredesen collected 16,221 votes in Washington County, 4,546 votes in Carter County and 1,553 in Unicoi County. The former governor carried only two of Tennessee’s 95 counties. “You have sent a message that it is time to take Tennessee conservative values to Washington and keep our state and our country moving forward,” Blackburn said in a prepared statement late Tuesday.

Bredesen encourages supporters to never ever give up (WKRN-TV) Former Governor Phil Bredesen appeared with his wife, Andrea Conte by his side to concede the election and thank supporters.“Well I applied for the job but I got a rejection letter here.” Bredesen was part of a bruising campaign against Republican Congressman Marsha Blackburn. She managed to undermine his reputation as a moderate and independent thinker by tying him to national Democrats. Bredesen ended up with 45% of the vote, while Blackburn won with 55%. Tennessee’s Senate race is the most expensive in state history, costing an estimated $75 million total. Despite the loss, Bredesen said his campaign staff could not have been better. They had more than 5,000 volunteers who knocked on a million doors.  He said it was an honor to work with them and blamed himself for the election loss.

Blackburn defeats Bredesen; becomes first Tennessee woman elected to Senate (Times Free Press) Republican Marsha Blackburn on Tuesday won Tennessee’s open U.S. Senate seat, beating former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen to become the first woman in the state’s history elected to the Senate. Blackburn, the sometimes fiery conservative U.S. representative from Brentwood, won the brutal contest to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Chattanooga. Figures from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website late Tuesday night showed Blackburn ahead with 1,172,433 or 55.8 percent of the vote to Bredesen’s 900,309 or 42.85 percent of the vote with 85 percent of precincts reporting.

Marsha Blackburn wins U.S. Senate race in Tennessee (WDEF-TV) On a night when Republicans won big in the U.S. Senate, no race was bigger than in Tennessee. Republican Marsha Blackburn cruised to an easy 11 point victory, despite a tight race all fall with Democrat Phil Bredesen. Senator-elect Blackburn thanked President Trump for his repeated stops in Tennessee, including Sundays MAGA rally in Chattanooga. Bredesen told his supporters that the election was over and it was time to unify. Blackburn will replace Chattanooga’s Bob Corker in the Senate.

Gibson’s Donuts catches heat after serving Marsha Blackburn on Election Day (Commercial Appeal) After posting a picture of Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn being served breakfast at Gibson’s Donuts in East Memphis, the long-standing doughnut shop received swift and immediate backlash, and it’s still mounting according to Gibson’s owner Don DeWeese.  “So far, we’ve received over 1,200 negative emails through Facebook,” DeWeese said. That was in addition to the four broadcast news stations that showed up almost immediately to get DeWeese’s perspective. For DeWeese, the doughnut is not political, and this is not the first time the shop has served a politician breakfast. DeWeese points out that former Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton would come in regularly for donuts. In 2010, then newly-elected Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam also sat down for a fritter or two.

Video: Phil Bredesen Concession (Tennessean)

Tennessee Republicans Net Clean Sweep In Three Open U.S. House Seats (WPLN Radio) Republicans went undefeated in races for the three open Congressional seats in Tennessee Tuesday night. In District seven, which includes parts of Williamson County and the city Clarksville, GOP state Senator Mark Green will take over Marsha Blackburn’s seat, as she moves on to the U.S. Senate. Green tells WPLN he has three top priorities.  “The overall focus is to decrease government spending, get real solutions for health care, not just throw money at a broken system, and helping our military get strong again,” says Green.

DesJarlais re-elected; Rose, Green elected (AP) Tennessee Republican Scott DesJarlais has won a fifth term in Congress with a victory over Democrat Mariah Phillips. The South Pittsburg physician was considered the favorite to win the race in District 4, which includes the Nashville suburb of Smyrna, the city of Murfreesboro and several southeast Tennessee counties. DesJarlais was one of six incumbents seeking a return to the U.S. House in Tennessee. DesJarlais now opposes abortion rights, but he has faced a series of personal scandals that included affairs with patients, urging a mistress to seek an abortion and once holding a gun in his mouth for hours outside his ex-wife’s room.

Fleischmann, DesJarlais keep seats in Congress (Times Free Press) Both Republican congressman Chuck Fleischmann and Scott DesJarlais secured fifth terms in the U.S. House with wins in Tennessee’s District 3 and 4 races Tuesday. Just two days after he spoke in Chattanooga as President Donald Trump came to town to stump for Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, Fleischmann called the race “noncompetitive” Tuesday afternoon, despite some local push from his Democratic opponent Danielle Mitchell. “It’s been a great night for Republicans in Tennessee,” Fleischmann said Tuesday after clinching the race. Mitchell, a physician from Hixson, did put up a fight locally, with the third contender, Rick Tyler, running as an independent and grabbing 4,441 votes districtwide as of press time.

Tennessee elections: Mark Green wins Marsha Blackburn’s seat, AP says (Tennessean) In the race for Marsha Blackburn’s open congressional seat, Republican state Sen. Mark Green will become one of Tennessee’s newest congressmen. Green stood on stage with his family in Clarksville as he talked to supporters and family members during his victory speech. “It’s great to see everyone, and I am honored by your presence,” Green said. “It is great to be here. In 1875, that’s when Clarksville last had a U.S. congressman. Voters in this district have answered and here we are. I just got one of the greatest phone calls of my life. Justin Kanew graciously conceded this amazing race.”

See who won all 9 of Tennessee’s US House races in Tuesday’s election (Tennessean) Tennessee has three new members of its U.S. House delegation, thanks to open seats in the the 2nd, 6th and 7th Congressional Districts. Meanwhile, the incumbents in the state’s six other districts all cruised to re-election. Here’s a rundown of who won in all nine of the state’s congressional districts.

Tim Burchett wins 2nd District congressional race (News Sentinel) Former Knox County mayor Tim Burchett has won the election to represent East Tennessee’s 2nd District U.S. House seat, according to unofficial returns. The new congressman-elect took the stage inside a ballroom at the Crowne Plaza hotel downtown to a standing ovation from Knox County Republicans. “The House (of Representatives) was created to represent the people — the farmers, the mechanics, the people who go to work every day,” Burchett said. “Those seats belong to you all, the people, and I won’t ever forget that.” Democratic rival Renee Hoyos conceded to a round of applause after 10 p.m.

Republican John Rose wins 6th Congressional District seat held by Diane Black (Tennessean) Republican John Rose has won the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Diane Black in Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. Rose ran against Democrat Dawn Barlow and independents David Ross and Lloyd Dunn. Rose had nearly 70 percent of the vote, with Barlow at just over 28 percent when the race was called by The Associated Press. Rose declared victory shortly after the polls closed and he continued to lead by a big margin. Rose’s platform includes a reduction to the federal deficit and dependence on government programs, along with repealing the Affordable Care Act. He is pro-life, and he supports the Second Amendment and building a wall along the southern border of the U.S.

John Rose wins bid to fill Diane Black’s seat in US House (WTVF-TV) Small business owner John Rose has won Tennessee’s 6th congressional district, a seat held by Diane Black since 2011. Rose, a small business owner, runs his family’s farm. He also spent time working at Tennessee’s Department of Agriculture as a commissioner. The district in northern Tennessee includes 17 counties and parts of two more. Black came in third place in the Republican Primary for governor back in August.

Rep. Jim Cooper wins Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District (WTVF-TV) Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper has been re-elected to Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District. Cooper has held the seat since 2003. Cooper also picked up an endorsement from Pop superstar Taylor Swift when she endorsed he and Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen back in October.

Roe cruises to sixth term in House (Kingsport Times-News) U.S. Rep. Phil Roe cruised to an election victory Tuesday that will give him a sixth term in office serving Northeast Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District. Roe, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and a solid supporter of President Trump, defeated Democrat challenger Marty Olsen and independent Michael D. Salyer.“I want to thank all the people who went out in huge numbers and voted,” Roe said in a phone interview. “This is the best turnout for a mid-term since I’ve been in the U.S. House. I can’t thank the people enough. … How humbling it is to represent the 725,000 or so people I represent. … The election says … that Tennessee is a conservative state and we’re happy with the direction of the country.”

Roe wins re-election, but Republicans lose House (Johnson City Press) Rep. Phil Roe easily won re-election to his sixth term Tuesday, but changes in the U.S. House of Representatives may jeopardize his influence on his prized Committee on Veterans Affairs. Roe, a Johnson City Republican, bested Democratic challenger Marty Olsen, gathering 77 percent, or 159,224 votes to Olsen’s 44,307, for the 1st District seat. Although Roe did his part, his party did not keep hold of its majority in the House, losing key races and control of the chamber to Democrats. With new leadership coming, the committee chairs put in place by Republicans will likely be replaced, including Roe, who ascended to lead the Veterans Affairs committee in 2017. “Clearly I would like to maintain the chairmanship, but Mark Takano, (D-Calif.), is likely to be the person there or Julia Brownley, (D-Calif.), and I’ve worked closely with them and I’m going to continue to work hard to focus like a laser beam on veterans’ issues,” Roe said Tuesday night after Fox News called the House for the Democrats.

See who won the Nashville area legislative races in Tuesday’s election (Tennessean) The Tennessee General Assembly is set for a major overhaul after voters elected a host of new members to the state House and Senate. In all, 17 state Senate seats were up for election Tuesday and all 99 seats in the state House of Representatives. Here’s a look at who won Nashville’s legislative races.

Republicans maintain legislative majorities (Nashville Post) Democrats flip seats in Nashville, Knoxville. Republicans swept the top of the ticket in Tennessee, but Democrats flipped a couple of seats in the Tennessee General Assembly in Tuesday’s midterms. Though Republicans hold large majorities in both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly, Democrats made it a point to get candidates on the ballot in districts long left unchallenged, and dozens of incumbent legislators opted to retire or run for different offices, offering the promise of significant change at the Capitol next year.

Mostly status quo in Tennessee General Assembly (TN Journal) House Republicans lost seats in Knoxville and Nashville, but picked up a rural West Tennessee seat formerly held by a Democrat. A couple races were still hanging late Tuesday, but it looked like mostly it will be status quo ante when the General Assembly comes into session in January: Rep. Eddie Smith (R-Knoxville) lost 55%-43% to Democrat Gloria Johnson, whom he defeated by about 300 votes two years ago in House District 13. In the race to succeed House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) in House District 56, Democrat Bob Freeman beat Republican Brent Moody by fewer than 3 percentage points.

Van Huss, Hill re-elected to General Assembly (Johnson City Press) Two veteran Republican incumbents in Washington County are returning to the Tennessee House of Representatives. State Reps. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, and Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, both defeated their opponents in Tuesday’s election. In the 6th District race, Van Huss outpolled independent candidate Murphey Johnson by 8,439 votes. The 6th District covers the northern and western parts of Washington County. Van Huss is a web programmer with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Pensacola Christian College. The former Marine was elected to his fourth two-year term in the General Assembly. “I will continue to vote against in-state tuition for illegal aliens and ensure that Tennesseans are put first,” Van Huss told the Johnson City Press last month.

Kelsey fends off strong challenge from Democrat Salinas in state Senate race (Daily Memphian) Incumbent Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey appears to have held off Democrat Gabby Salinas in one of the most competitive races District 31 has seen in recent memory. With all but one precinct reporting, Kelsey was leading Salinas, a political newcomer, by less than 2,000 votes at about 10:40 p.m., according to unofficial totals from the Shelby County Election Commission. “I congratulate Ms. Salinas on the hard fought campaign that she ran and I hope that she stays involved in the community,” Kelsey said from the Marriott East hotel in East Memphis. Kelsey said two of his top priorities when he returns in the next legislative session will be to improve education, cut taxes and grow the economy. “People on the campaign trail told me that they want stronger public schools and safer communities and a supply of well-paying jobs and that’s what I intend to provide them through state government,” he said.

Republicans sweep Williamson County seats in the legislature (Tennessean) Williamson County residents voted Tuesday to keep their slate of Republicans in the Tennessee legislature. All three state House seats plus the lone Senate seat were on the ballot. For the first time in more than a decade, each race had a Democratic candidate. Republicans have maintained a stronghold over Williamson County since 2001, when the last Democrat served the area. Voter turnout was 67.93 perceent, with 50.1 percent of registered voters in the county casting their ballots early.

State Senate GOP incumbents Randy McNally, Richard Briggs capture Districts 5, 7 (News Sentinel) Incumbent Republican Randy McNally defeated Democrat Stuart Starr with 72 percent of the vote in the District 5 state Senate race, while in District 7, incumbent Richard Briggs held nearly 56 percent of the vote over Democratic challenger Jamie Ballinger, according to complete but unofficial returns. McNally, a Republican who also has served as speaker of the state Senate and lieutenant governor since January 2017, has presided over District 5 since 1986. McNally expressed a lot of gratitude toward the constituents who voted for him, emphasizing that he’ll “be ready to go to work for them tomorrow.”

Hulsey wins re-election (Kingsport Times-News) Republican state Rep. Bud Hulsey won re-election to a third term for his 2nd House District seat on Tuesday. “I want to thank the voters in District 2 for the honor of returning to the General Assembly,” Hulsey said in a text message. “I am humbled and grateful.” Less than one hour after the polls closed, returns from the Sullivan County Election Commission showed Hulsey with 76 percent of the vote over his two opponents. Hulsey, a retired police lieutenant and businessman, defeated Democrat Arvil Love Jr. and independent Robert Ellis. In Sullivan County, Republican state Reps. John Crawford in the 1st House District and Timothy Hill in the 3rd House District were unopposed.

Matthew Hill maintains TN House District 7 seat (WJHL-TV) Voters have re-elected state Rep. Matthew Hill in Tennessee’s 7th House District (part of Washington County). With 7,575 votes received, Hill (R-Jonesborough) topped his opponent Nathan Farnor’s (D) 3,864 votes. Hill has represented the 7th District since 2004. In 2017, he sponsored a bill that would have provided civil immunity to some drivers if they ran over protesters blocking a roadway. Hill also sponsored a bill banning most abortions after a woman is 20 weeks pregnant. In the General Assembly, Hill serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways, & Means and House Health Committees. Hill is a radio broadcaster and small business owner with degrees from Northeast State and ETSU.

David Hawk maintains TN House District 5 seat (WJHL-TV) Voters have decided to give incumbent David Hawk another term in the Tennessee General Assembly. Hawk (R-Greeneville) was re-elected as representative of Tennessee House District 5 (part of Greene County). The incumbent Republican received 12,621 votes. His opponent, Park Overall (D) got 3,052 votes. Hawk was first elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2002 and has represented the 5th District in the 16 years since. In August, Hawk announced his bid for Speaker of the House after Speaker Beth Harwell said she would not run again during her unsuccessful bid for governor.

Chris Todd wins the House District 73rd seat with nearly 70 percent of the vote (Jackson Sun) Republican Chris Todd won the 73rd Statehouse district with 68.9 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat James Baxter. “I’m just extremely thankful to my neighbors in Madison County, most of which didn’t know me several months ago,” Todd said. “I’m grateful that they put their faith and trust in me, it’s very humbling and it’s very exciting.” Todd received 16,477 votes while Baxter got 7,446 votes, the lowest amount of any democratic candidate in Madison County. Baxter was unavailable for comment after his election night loss. When he’s inaugurated in January, Todd will replace outgoing Rep. Jimmy Eldridge, who has represented the 73rd district for eight terms.

Ed Jackson re-elected to state senate (Jackson Sun) Ed Jackson is returning to the state senate. Jackson was re-elected on Tuesday, defeating former Democratic Madison County Commissioner Savannah Williamson 35,828 to 19,166. “It’s very humbling to be re-elected again,” Jackson said. “We’ve accomplished a lot in the last four and eight years, but there’s still a lot of work left to be done. “But I look forward to working with Chris Hurt and Chris Todd and Johnny Shaw and Bill Sanderson and other representatives and senators from different counties in West Tennessee.” Jackson mentioned education, health care, justice reform and juvenile justice reform as issues that need attention over his next term in the senate.

Wilson County sales tax increase referendum voted down (Tennessean) Wilson County residents voted down a half-cent sales tax increase, which supporters saw as an alternative to another type of tax or fee increase. The vote according to the Wilson County Election Commission was just over 52 percent against the half-cent sales tax increase and nearly 48 percent for the increase. Results are still unofficial. The referendum proposed raising the local option sales tax from 9.25 percent to 9.75 percent with money from the increase to be put into a special purpose tax fund for school construction and renovation, debt service and other educational expenditures. Sandra Walters voted against the sales tax referendum on Tuesday as she cast a ballot at Lakeview Elementary.

Voter rush in after work, police investigating possible intimidation (Tennessean) Despite severe rain and a tornado the night before, voter spirits in Tennessee weren’t dampened Tuesday for the midterm election. Voters already were waiting in long lines when polls opened across the state, including those at Shoreline Church in Knox County, forced to vote in the dark with the help of lanterns after storms knocked out power to more than 31,000 customers in the area overnight. The power outages at nine polling places required paper ballots at multiple locations, according to Knox County Election Commissioner Cliff Rodgers. Voters at a polling place in Antioch waited in line as long as two hours. A lengthy queue snaked through the foyer of Antioch High School.

Shelby County Democrats: Legal action coming against political club distributing fake flyers at the polls (Commercial Appeal) The chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party says the group will pursue legal action against the Greater Memphis Democratic Club after the midterm elections. Corey Strong said the club has continued to present itself as an official Democratic group, though it is not recognized by state Democrats. The latest example Strong cites: Flyers distributed at polling places from the Greater Memphis Democratic Club. When Shelby County voters walk up to their polling place on Election Day, they might be approached by someone distributing flyers for an organization called Greater Memphis Democratic Club.


Alex Hubbard: Marsha Blackburn victory: Tennessee moderation took a hit (Tennessean) Moderation came to Tennessee to die tonight. Or so it would seem. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, long the scourge not just of liberals but also of moderate conservatives, capped off her fiery run for the United States Senate with a resounding victory over former Gov. Phil Bredesen. In doing so, she tossed aside the state’s long history of electing moderates or the moderate in temperament to statewide office — folks such as Howard Baker, Jim Sasser and Bill Frist. Blackburn set the tone from her very announcement. “Too many Senate Republicans act like Democrats or worse,” she said in her campaign announcement video. One wonders what would be worse than a Democrat.

David Plazas: The midterms are over. Here’s why we must recommit to civility (Tennessean) Talking about civility is not easy and it was especially difficult during the contentious 2018 midterm elections. Negative ads ate away at the reputation of many decent candidates seeking public office. Factions preferred to listen to their own messages and drown out the voices of those who opposed or questioned them. Citizens are feeling tired, maybe wounded, and wary of politics.

Guest column: Reject the politics of fear; in Tennessee, we love our neighbors (News Sentinel) When an angel of the Lord appeared before the shepherds in the fields he declared, “Be not afraid,” which is how they knew he wasn’t a politician running for office. It’s election time in Tennessee. Even though signs of Christmas are beginning to appear in stores, the messages on Twitter are not good news and the paid political ads tell us, “Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.” “Mass movements can rise and spread without a belief in God but never without a belief in a devil,” wrote the blue-collar philosopher Eric Hoffer. “The ideal devil is a foreigner.” Cable news commentators stir up anxiety about refugees more than a thousand miles away from our border. Too often the question they ask is “What will happen to us if they come?” instead of “What will happen to them if we don’t help?”




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