A look at the Tennessee primary

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AFP) – Voters can begin casting ballots Friday in the August 4 Tennessee primary as candidates vie to win their party’s nomination for governor, Congress and state legislative seats.

Some local counties will also hold judicial elections, ballot initiatives, and races for county attorneys.

Here’s a look at some of the top competitions:

Governor Governor

Republican Governor Bill Lee is running unopposed in the Republican primary as he seeks a second term, the first time in nearly 30 years that there has been no primary opponent for an incumbent governor. Meanwhile, three Democratic candidates hope to win their party’s nomination. Those three are physician Jason Martin, Memphis board member JP Smiley Jr. and community advocate Karnita Atwater.

While Tennessee has not elected a Democrat to a statewide office in nearly 15 years, these three hope that the current national political landscape and dissatisfaction among some voters about Lee’s first state will create a path for a Democrat to win the top seat.


Earlier this year, the Republican-dominated General Assembly divided left-leaning Tennessee Nashville into three congressional districts with the goal of flipping the seat from Democrat to Republican. This change prompted the current Democratic Representative in the House of Representatives, Jim Cooper, to announce that he would not seek re-election because he felt there was no way to win.

After some maneuvering over who qualifies to vote, there are nine candidates in the race. This includes Morey County Mayor Andy Uglis, former House Speaker Beth Harwell, of Nashville, and retired brigadier general of the Tennessee National Guard. General Kurt Winstead of Franklin.

Senator Heidi Campbell of Nashville is the only candidate running in the Democratic primary.

Meanwhile, five of Tennessee’s nine congressmen are running unopposed in the primaries: Representatives of the US House of Representatives Diana Harshbarger, Tim Burchett, Scott DeGarlais, John Rose and Mark Green are all running unopposed.

Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis and Republican Congressmen David Kostov and Chuck Fleishman face primary opponents.

state office

In the Republican Supermajority Legislature, all 99 Tennessee House of Representatives seats are up for election this year. There are currently 15 open seats, most of which are held by Republicans. Twenty-one seats feature the contested Republican primaries and nine include the contested Democratic primaries.

Some of the editorials include former House Speaker Glenn Cassada, who was ousted from the top job in 2019 due to a series of scandals. Former Republican Representative Robin Smith resigned earlier this year after facing charges via federal cables alleging she ran a political consulting bribery scheme with Cassada and his former chief of staff, neither of which has yet been charged.

Nor will Representative David Bird seek re-election. The Republican faced allegations from three women of sexual misconduct three decades ago when he was a high school teacher and basketball coach. He was never charged, but two of the women accused Bird of inappropriately touching them; The third said Baird tried.

Bird initially announced that he would retire in 2020, but he reversed course by saying it was important to have an experienced lawmaker during the coronavirus pandemic.

Notably, state Representative John Mark Wendell has run as an independent after being a registered Democrat for nearly three decades.

In the Senate, 17 of the 33 seats are on the ballot, four of which are contested in the Republican primaries and two of which are contested Democratic races. Three of the departing senators left open seats: Republicans Brian Kelsey and Mike Pell and Democrat Brenda Gilmore. Kelsey faces a federal indictment for violating federal campaign finance laws during his failed 2016 campaign.

Also up for election is a Shelby County seat that Democratic Senator London Lamar of Memphis has been appointed to fill after the former senator. Katrina Robinson was expelled from the Senate. Robinson, a Memphis Democrat, was convicted of using about $3,400 in federal grant money for wedding expenses in lieu of her nursing school. She was expelled before the sentence was issued, which did not include a prison term. Lamar faces two Democrats in the primaries.

Supreme court

All five seats on the Tennessee Supreme Court are eligible for the eight-year primary in the August primary. They are Jeff Bivens, Sarah Campbell, Sharon Lee, Holly Kirby and Roger Page. It is expected that they will all acquit the vote.

Other major races

Shelby County, the most populous in Tennessee, has two major races and a notable referendum.

County Mayor Lee Harris was challenged by Memphis City Council member Worth Morgan. Harris, a black Democrat, is seeking a second four-year term. Morgan, a white Republican, has served on the council since 2016.

Long-serving Shelby County District Attorney Amy Wehrish, who has held the position since 2011, is facing Democratic civil rights attorney and former county commissioner Steve Mulroy.

The pair clashed in discussions, and the issue of abortion trials under the state’s pending “Prosecution Act” became a problem. Basically all abortions are prohibited by law at the state level. It would also make abortion a crime and expose doctors to up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Mulroy said he would make prosecuting those who perform abortions a “very low” priority. Wehrish has not said explicitly whether or not she will sue the doctors who perform abortions. Wehrish said it would be a violation of Tennessee law for her office to “issue a broad, presumptive statement without an actual charge or case.”

Voters will also decide whether the terms of the Memphis mayor and city council should be extended from two to three. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said he would seek a third term if the referendum passed.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.