presidential campaign

Rundown on final (unofficial) TN election results in key races


Donald Trump 1,519,926, 61.06%

Hillary Clinton 868,853, 34.90%

Gary Johnson, Independent, 70,266, 2.82%

(County-by-county results, HERE.

U.S. Congress

All incumbents reelected, along with former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff, GOP nominee in the 8th Congressional District seat vacated by Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher. District-by-district results HERE.

State Senate

Republicans maintain 28-5 control in the state Senate. Closest races were those won by Republican Sens. Steve Dickerson of Nashville (results HERE) and Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga (HERE.)

(Times-Free Press story on Gardenhire’s win HERE; TEnnessean story on Dickerson win HERE.)

State House

Republicans picked up two seats previously held by Democrats, both in fairly rural areas, while losing one seat in suburban Shelby County previously held by a Republican. That will give the GOP a total of 74 seats in the House versus 25 for Democrats. The last session began with Republicans holding a 73-26 majority.

The turnover seats:

-House District 43, where Republican Paul Sherrell defeated Rep. Kevin Dunlap, D-Sparta. (Results HERE)

-House District 69, where Republican Michael Curcio defeated Democrat Dustin Evans to win the seat previously held by retiring Rep. David Shepard, D-Dickson. (results HERE.)

-House District 96, where Democrat Dwayne Thompson upset Rep. Steve McManus, R-Cordova, with 14,105 votes to 13,754 for the incumbent.

Some other House races of note:

-House District 13, the closest race in the state, where Republican Rep. Eddie Smith of Knoxville triumphed over former Rep. Gloria Johnson. Smith got 11,160 votes; Johnson 11,006. (News Sentinel story HERE.)

-House District 56, where House Speaker Beth Harwell won reelection over Democrat Chris Moth, 21,041 to 15,201. (Nashville Scene story HERE.)

-House District 74, where Republican Rep. Jay Reedy of Erin defeated Democrat Andy Porch, 11,256 to 8,013. (County-by-county results HERE.)

-House District 41, where Democratic Rep. John Mark Windle of Livingston survived a challenge from Republican Ed Butler, 12,230 to 10,008. (County-by-county results HERE.)

Trump carries Tennessee

Republican Donald Trump won Tennessee’s 11 electoral vote Tuesday by a comfortable margin over Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to projections by major news organizations. Television networks including CNN, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC  declared Trump the winner in Tennessee just minutes after the polls closed and others quickly followed. The AP did so at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time).

The first Tennessee returns reported showed the Republican with a lopsided lead of almost 3-to-1, though those precincts apparently do not include the state’s more urban areas that produce most of the Democratic vote.

Neither candidate made a public campaign appearance in Tennessee during the general election, though both did so prior to the March 1 presidential preference primary – where both got a boost toward the party nomination from the Volunteer State.

Both also were active in fundraising from Tennesseans and, in that respect, Clinton bested Trump. According to the most recent figures compiled by the Federal Election Commission, Clinton raised $3,311,876 from Tennesseans while Trump collected $1,961,733.

Note: This post will be updated.

TN among 22 states skipped in National Election Poll exit polling

From a Politico report:

The consortium of news networks that commissions election exit polls will survey 28 states on Tuesday, eschewing state-level polls in many smaller and less-competitive states.

In recent elections, the National Election Pool — which includes The Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News — and Edison Research, which conducts the exit poll, have eliminated state-level surveys in an effort to cut costs. In 2012, there were 31 state-level exit polls, with exit pollsters skipping 19 states, plus the District of Columbia.

(This year, 22 states will be skipped, though the list hasn’t been officially released.)

…The list (of covered states) includes Texas, where there was no state exit poll four years ago. It also includes the nation’s most populous state, California, though it isn’t expected to be competitive this year.

Every state where the presidential race is contested or there is a competitive Senate race is represented, including Indiana and Missouri.

The most-populous states without exit polls are bright-blue Massachusetts and solid-red Tennessee. And while the gubernatorial races are tight in Vermont and West Virginia, there won’t be state-level exit polls there.

Haslam: Politicians should practice humility and pay their taxes

Excerpt of comments by Gov. Bill Haslam included in a Tennessean story on his discussion of religion and politics with a pastor and a political activist at a Nashville church:

One of the realizations Haslam had when he became an elected official was to understand that other elected officials are also people with flaws and insecurities.

“I always thought the person who would be the President of the United States would be different,” he said. “But they’re not.”

Amid an election’s banter and aggrandizing, Haslam said he has “a great appreciation for people who, in the middle of all that, understand that the story’s not about them.

“Humility is that clear call for all of us,” he said. “… Those people who have those positions and are people of humility just resonate with me.

“And even when I don’t agree with their politics all the time, I am just drawn to them.”

So, to those who may consider not voting or writing in a candidate, Haslam echoed Wear’s statement about showing a commitment to the welfare of the community and emphasizing that character needs to be part of the decision-making “because it is in everything else.”

“I think the New Testament is really clear that of all citizens we’re supposed to be the exemplary ones,” Haslam said. “We’re supposed to obey authority and pay our taxes and be those kind of citizens. And being those kind of citizens means engaging in the process even when it’s not exactly the way we would have written the story.”

…”I think party identity is going to look pretty different five to 10 years from now than it does now,” Haslam said.

Trump wins TN Student Mock Election

News release from Tennessee Secretary of State

Nashville, Tennessee – (Nov. 2, 2016) – Tennessee students are now part of a major milestone after successfully voting in the first-ever statewide Student Mock Election.

Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States if Tennessee students were casting real ballots. 165,968 students representing 479 schools from 90 of the state’s 95 counties participated.

“I’m thrilled that so many students and teachers from across our great state got behind this project with such passion,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett while announcing the results at Thurman Francis Arts Academy in Smyrna where the winner was decided by just four votes. “Hopefully giving civics such an important role in the classroom translates into engaged citizens who continue exercising their right to vote when they are old enough to vote in real elections.”

This is how the votes break down across the state:

  • Donald J. Trump, Republican: 88,208 votes or 53.1%
  • Hillary Clinton, Democrat: 56,935 votes or 34.3%
  • Gary Johnson, Independent: 8,374 votes or 5.0%
  • “Rocky” Roque De Le Fuente, Independent: 3,888 votes or 2.3%
  • Jill Stein, Independent: 3,800 votes or 2.3%
  • Alyson Kennedy, Independent: 2,434 votes or 1.5%
  • Mike Smith, Independent: 2,329 votes or.4%
  •   TOTAL (votes cast) 165,968

More in-depth results are available HERE.

Continue reading

So who got Haslam’s vote for president? Maybe Evan McMullin

Gov. Bill Haslam has said he won’t vote for Donald Trump (or Hillary Clinton) and will instead cast a write-in vote for “another Republican.” He voted early and won’t say who got his vote. But, just as a matter of pure speculation, the guess here is that the most likely candidate as the Tennessee governor’s choice behind the closed doors of the voting booth is Evan McMullin, who is one of six write-in candidates for president who actually filed the paperwork necessary to have their votes counted in Tennessee.

The AP today has a profile story on McMullin, a former CIA counterterrorism operative and a Utah native who appears to have a chance of carrying his home state this year, according to some polls. He’s been characterized as a “never Trump” Republican. Trump says he’s a Clinton “puppet” who’s taking votes from the GOP nominee, reports Politico.

Here’s the start of the AP story:

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former CIA agent Evan McMullin has quickly evolved from a political unknown to a legitimate threat to become the first independent candidate in nearly half a century to win electoral votes in a presidential election.

The presidency itself is out of his reach because McMullin is only on the ballot in 11 states (including Tennessee). But he could poach enough conservative votes in Utah to squeeze past Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton and become the first non-GOP candidate to win the mostly-Mormon state since 1964. That would be a particular blow to Trump.

McMullin, 40 and a Mormon, has been embraced by many Republican-leaning voters who are steeped in Utah’s culture of courtesy and fed up with Trump’s crudeness and antics.

So who is this guy?

…He was chief policy director for U.S. House Republicans when he watched with amazement as Trump won the GOP nomination and no other conservative jumped in the race. By late summer, McMullin decided to try to give conservative voters an alternative to Trump and Clinton. Despite knowing he would endure ridicule and questions about his motives, McMullin went for it.

The whole story is HERE.

Cohen calls for FBI director’s resignation

News release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, today called on James Comey to resign as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“FBI Director James Comey’s recent public comments on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her emails, apparently before seeing any evidence, and against the advice of the Justice Department according to press reports, and even, some have suggested, in violation of the Hatch Act, make it clear that for the good of the FBI and the Justice Department, he should resign his position effective immediately,” said Congressman Cohen. “In the past, even quite recently, I have expressed my appreciation for Director Comey.  I appreciated his courage as Deputy Attorney General when he stood up to President Bush’s Chief of Staff Andrew Card and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales when they attempted to persuade hospitalized Attorney General John Ashcroft to reauthorize Bush’s domestic surveillance program, which the Justice Department had just determined was illegal.  When, in July of this year, Director Comey recommended no criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified information while she was Secretary of State but added his own sidebar of opinions to the announcement, I gave Director Comey the benefit of the doubt, despite the fact that his making such highly unusual remarks was called into question by many.”

Continue reading

Haslam won’t say who got his presidential vote — but he’s concerned with GOP future

Gov. Bill Haslam won’t say who got his vote in the presidential election but does say he has concerns about the long-term future of the Republican Party, according to the Times-Free Press.

The governor voted early in Knoxville Thursday and, after returning to Nashville later in the day, refused to tell reporters how he cast his ballot in the presidential election – except that it wasn’t Hillary Clinton. Haslam had previously declared he would not vote for Republican nominee Donald Trump and intended to vote for another Republican via write-in ballot, bringing criticism from some fellow Republicans, including some county organizations that have passed resolutions condemning him.

Asked about (the resolutions),… Haslam, who has been campaigning for Republican state legislative candidates this week, said, “I understand, and believe me, I’m not at all excited about Hillary Trump — Hillary Clinton — as president, and I did not vote for her. I’ll say that really clearly.”

After voting, Haslam cited his concerns with the GOP’s direction.

” I’ve said before, I have some real concerns about the long-term future of the Republican Party when we’re losing the way we are with women and minorities and millennials. That’s a concern to me,” the governor added. “Long term, I have all the faith in the world that our party will continue to represent the things it’s represented.”

… Asked about the governor’s remarks, Brent Leatherwood, executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party, said: “You know what wins over voters of all stripes in the long-term? Policies that promote opportunity. That’s exactly what the governor is out there touting across the state today.”

Note: Haslam had a similar comment in Memphis on the GOP’s future. As reported by WNAT: “We have to have a party that appeals to the broader sense, to women, to minorities, to young people, areas we have not traditionally done well… And I’m afraid we’re going to struggle at that this year as well.”

Duncan campaigns for Trump in N.C., Knoxville

Fresh from campaigning with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in North Carolina, U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. Monday told hundreds at a rally in Knoxville that if Republicans work hard between now and Election Day, “we’d shock the world” and particularly news organizations.

Further from Georgiana Vines’ report:

“Who do you want to negotiate trade deals?” he asked, leading the crowd, and calling, “Trump, Trump, Trump.”

“Who will enforce the border?” Duncan asked again, with the crowd chanting, “Trump, Trump, Trump.”

A rally to get Republicans to support all candidates on the ticket in the Nov. 8 election was held almost at the last minute at the Knoxville Expo Center on Clinton Highway. A handful of candidates and office holders came off the bus with Duncan.

…A bus for the Republican presidential/vice presidential ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence started Monday in Knoxville. It goes on to four other states, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida before Nov. 8.

TN political reading list, 10/23/2016 (with some observations)

Tennessee elections rigged?

Commercial Appeal columnist Otis Sanford suggests, tongue in cheek it seems, that there’s evidence of rigged elections “right there under our noses” on the state election ballot where Republican candidates are listed ahead of all others – and Donald Trump is the first name a voter sees. (That’s in accord with a state law, enacted when Democrats dominated in the state, giving the “majority party” top billing on the state ballot.)

He goes on to observe that two of 11 cases of documented voter fraud nationwide 2000-2014 – according to one often-cited study – occurred in Shelby County and both were cast against Republican Terry Roland, now a county commissioner, in a 2005 race for a state Senate seat.

Yet, Roland downplays Trump’s claims that the presidential election is being rigged. “I don’t think there is a consorted effort to manipulate the ballot,” Roland told me last week.

In fact, Roland, like most of us, is sick and tired of the whole campaign. “I can’t wait for it to be over,” he said. “I’m watching Sanford and Son, Andy Griffith and The Jeffersons on TV now rather than the news.”

Continue reading