NASHVILLE, TN – There were no surprises in Tennessee’s primary election for Senator and Governor. Republicans picked political neophyte Bill Lee and Democrats picked former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, a veteran politician. They will face off in November in the Governor’s race.
For the seat Senator Bob Corker is leaving, former Governor Phil Bredesen will face Marsha Blackburn, who has been representing Tennessee 7th Congressional District since 2002.
Blackburn and Lee are big Trump supporters. If they can be beaten in a red state Trump won by 25 points in 2016, the Republican Party could be set back on its heels just about anywhere. Democratic Party strategists certainly hope so. Worth noting: Blackburn got 606,402 Republican votes; Bredesen got 346,305 Democratic votes. Bill Lee got 287,959 votes; Karl Dean got 277,516 votes.
Gubernatorial candidates spent more than $50 million in the Tennessee primary. The General Election might see even greater infusions of campaign cash because pundits and poll watchers are focusing closely on Tennessee as a bellwether state in what could be a stormy November election.
Trump endorsed Blackburn and now Lee. He has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to take Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election could rain on both their chances in 2018. Mueller is in negotiations with the White House over the interview Trump says he welcomes but which his lawyers are against.
Local democratic primary races yielded few surprises. Brenda Gilmore easily held off challenger Howard Jones in the TN Senate District 19 race. That seat was vacated by State Senator Thelma Harper who is retiring.
In the House District 54 race to fill the seat vacated by Gilmore. Vincent Dixie outpolled three others, including District 5 City Councilman Scott Davis. Harold Love easily won in the House District 58 race. He was the incumbent. Sheri Weiner outpolled Councilman at Large Jim Shulman in the Vice-Mayor’s race but there will be a runoff.
Fran Bush upset incumbent Tyese Hunter in the District 6 School Board race.