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Dems submit congressional redistricting plan

Legislative Democrats are submitting a congressional redistricting plan that would avoid breaking up Nashville. The proposal would also reimagine the 4th District as being comprised of fast-growing suburban Williamson, Rutherford, and Wilson counties, while ceding most of its current rural population to the 6th and 3rd districts.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE — Middle Tennessee’s fast-growing suburban communities would elect their own member of the U.S. House of Representatives under a congressional map proposed by state Democrats on Monday.

While most of the map will look familiar, Democrats say their nine-seat congressional plan improves representation by keeping almost every city and county whole while also better connecting communities that have shared socio-economic interests — like Knoxville and the Smoky Mountains, rural West Tennessee and booming suburban Middle Tennessee communities along I-840.

“People all over the state shared the same message: please keep our community together,” said Sen. Raumesh Akbari, the Democratic caucus chairwoman. “People want their elected officials to be responsive to the needs of their community. So, in addition to drawing districts that are near identical by population, we are proposing districts with deep community connections and shared needs—like housing, healthcare, education, transportation and job creation.”

The biggest change recommended by Democrats is a new configuration for the 4th Congressional District that combines three Middle Tennessee counties, Williamson, Wilson, and most of Rutherford, along with the cities of Hendersonville and Spring Hill. The current district lines sprawl across southern Tennessee from Nashville’s southeastern border nearly to North Carolina.

“The 840 corridor encompassing Williamson, Rutherford & Wilson are facing the shared challenges of explosive growth, infrastructure and services spread thin, alongside effective regional coordination and collaboration. The future of these communities is inherently linked together regardless of county lines or city lines,” said Sen. Jeff Yarbro, the minority leader in the Senate. “The congressional lines is one way we can recognize and respond to that reality. It’s not only good for these communities experiencing rapid growth to have common leadership, but also more advantageous for other regions to address the different but equally complicated economic, education and health decisions they face.”

Democrats in the legislature held five meetings across the state and participated in dozens more meetings to gather public input from communities across the state. This proposed congressional map incorporates feedback from people who spoke at those hearings and submitted public comment in other ways.

“This map proposal is a reflection of real people and the concerns that are shared by underserved communities across the state,” said Rep. Karen Camper, the minority leader in the House. “We look forward to presenting their ideas and policy priorities to the General Assembly.”

Before the 2022 election cycle, the Tennessee General Assembly, by law, must draw political boundaries so that every congressional district in the state has an equal number of people.

The community districting process — also called redistricting or reapportionment — happens every 10 years after federal census officials release data showing the population of every city, town and county in the nation.

A good district map reflects a whole community or a community of shared interests, such as a city, neighborhood or group of people who have common policy concerns that would benefit from being drawn into a single district.

While Republicans who control legislature have so far kept their proposed congressional maps a secret, Democrats are making their draft congressional proposal available for public comment ahead of the next legislative session.

“We know Republicans are cutting deals on district lines behind closed doors and playing partisan politics with their maps, but that’s not going to stop us from engaging Tennesseans in a good faith process,” said Rep. Vincent Dixie, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “We welcome input from the community because we want fair maps and a healthy democracy.”

To offer feedback on the congressional maps proposed by state Democrats, email maps@tndemocrats.org..

1st Congressional District

The 1st Congressional District proposal includes 11 counties from the current map: Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, Washington.

Additions: Claiborne, Grainger, Union and a portion of Campbell County just west of the city of LaFollette.

Other changes: Sevier County shifts to the 2nd Congressional District.

2nd Congressional District

The 2nd Congressional District proposal includes Knox, Anderson and Sevier counties as well as the city of Maryville in Blount County.

Knox County residents offered public comment making the case for including both Anderson and Sevier counties in a district with Knoxville due to the shared interests in those communities.

For example, the Great Smoky Mountains and Knoxville are tied together through tourism, and Knoxville’s innovation sector is intrinsically linked to the science being performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

3rd Congressional District

This map would move the 3rd Congressional District into Tennessee’s southeast corner—rather than its current configuration which extends from downtown Chattanooga to the Kentucky border.

What’s in: Bradley, Hamilton, Loudon, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Polk, Rhea, Roane counties, the city of Maryville and part of Blount County.

What’s out: Everything north of Knox County — Scott, Campbell, Union, Morgan and Anderson counties.

4th Congressional District

The plan’s reimagined 4th Congressional District undergoes the biggest change to create a district for Middle Tennessee’s fast-growing suburban counties along the I-840 bypass.

Their shared status as booming suburban communities and similar growth-related needs make a strong case for these areas to be included in a single district.

What’s in: Williamson and Wilson counties, most of Rutherford County, as well as the city of Hendersonville and the city of Spring Hill, which straddles the Williamson-Maury County line.

5th Congressional District

Nashville-Davidson County is about 50,000 people short of qualifying to be its own congressional district.

To complete a full district, this plan draws from public comments that asked mapmakers to link Nashville to neighboring cities that are confronting similar challenges.

What’s in: Davidson County, the city of La Vergne, the city of Goodlettsville, which straddles the Davidson-Sumner County line, and Millersville, which shares a long border with the city of Nashville along I-65.

What’s out: Dickson and Cheatham counties.

6th Congressional

This plan expands Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District to the south, putting the shared interests of rural communities at the forefront.

What’s in: Bledsoe, Cannon, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Franklin, Grundy, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Marion, Morgan, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Scott, Sequatchie, Smith, Trousdale, Van Buren, Warren, White counties as well as portions of Sumner County and Campbell County.

What’s out: Wilson County.

7th Congressional District

This proposed map includes most areas of the current district, including Clarksville and Columbia, but it shifts away from counties in West Tennessee. Instead, the Tennessee River serves as a western boundary for most of district.

What’s in: Bedford, Cheatham, Dickson, Giles, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Lawrence, Lewis, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Perry, Robertson, Stewart, Wayne counties and most of Maury and Hardin counties.

What’s out: Benton, Chester, Decatur, Hardeman, Henderson and McNairy counties.

8th Congressional District

The 8th Congressional District would become the rural West Tennessee district. Bordered mostly by the Tennessee River on the east and the Mississippi River on the west.

What’s in: Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Henry, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Obion and Tipton counties, as well as a portion of Hardin County and the Shelby County cities of Arlington, Collierville, Germanton Lakeland and Millington.

What’s out: Parts of East Memphis.

9th Congressional District

In this map, the entire city of Memphis is included within the boundary of the 9th Congressional District.

To complete the district, the whole city of Bartlett is also included as well as some unincorporated areas of Shelby County.

See by how much Tennessee districts miss their ideal populations following census count

Lawmakers await Gov. Bill Lee arrival for his second State of the State address in Nashville on Feb. 3, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The U.S. Census Bureau late last week released population count data to be used for the once-a-decade redistricting process. The information arrived in a legacy format that requires some massaging to make usable for legislative consultants. But the City University of New York has already processed the numbers in the form of a national map.

We’ve teased out the Tennessee numbers to show how much variance current legislative districts have with the ideal population. State case law has established General Assembly seats can fall within plus or minus 5% of the average. The bigger the variance, the more districts will have to be shifted before next year’s election.

Here are the breakdowns for the Senate and House:

SENATE:

DistrictSenatorPartyCountiesover/under
29Akbari, RaumeshDShelby (part)-12%
15Bailey, PaulRBledsoe, Cumberland, Jackson, Overton, Putnam, White3.8%
9Bell, MikeRBradley (part), McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Polk-5.6%
16Bowling, JaniceRCoffee, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Sequatchie, Van Buren, Warren-1.6%
7Briggs, RichardRKnox (part)-1.8%
20Campbell, HeidiDDavidson (part)6.7%
3Crowe, RustyRCarter (part), Washington, Unicoi-6.5%
10Gardenhire, ToddRBradley (part), Hamilton (part)-4.4%
19Gilmore, BrendaDDavidson (part)8.6%
18Haile, FerrellRDavidson (part), Sumner, Trousdale13.8%
28Hensley, JoeyRGiles, Lawrence, Lewis, Maury, Perry, Wayne1.6%
27Jackson, EdRMadison, Crockett, Dyer, Lake, Lauderdale-13.2%
23Johnson, JackRWilliamson18.3%
31Kelsey, BrianRShelby (part)-0.1%
30Kyle, SaraDShelby (part)-10.3%
4Lundberg, JonRCarter (part), Johson, Sullivan-10.4%
6Massey, Becky DuncanRKnox (part)-3%
5McNally, Lt. Gov. RandyRAnderson, Knox (part), Loudon-3.5%
8Niceley, FrankRClaiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Union-7.6%
17Pody, MarkRCannon, Clay, DeKalb, Macon, Smith, Wilson12.2%
22Powers, BillRStewart, Houston, Montgomery15.6%
14Reeves, ShaneRBedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore, Rutherford (part)4.2%
25Roberts, KerryRCheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Humphreys, Robertson1.3%
33Robinson, KatrinaDShelby (part)-5.1%
32Rose, PaulRTipton, Shelby (part)0.6%
1Southerland, SteveRCocke, Greene, Hamblen, Sevier (part)-7%
24Stevens, JohnRBenton, Carroll, Gibson, Henry, Obion, and Weakle-9%
2Swann, ArtRBlount, Sevier (part)0%
26Walley, PageRChester, Decatur, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, McNairy-7.1%
11Watson, BoRHamilton (part)-1.4%
13White, DawnRRutherford (part)19.1%
12Yager, KenRCampbell, Fentress, Morgan, Rhea, Roane, Pickett, Scott Counties-8.4%
21Yarbro, JeffDDavidson (part)12%

HOUSE

DistrictIncumbentPartyCountiesover/under
7Alexander, RebeccaRWashington (part)-5.2%
37Baum, CharlieRRutherford (part)15.1%
51Beck, BillDDavidson (part)7.9%
46Boyd, ClarkRCannon, DeKalb (part), Wilson (part)14.7%
47Bricken, RushRCoffee, Warren (part)2.2%
71Byrd, DavidRHardin, Lawrence (part), Lewis, Wayne,-10.3%
32Calfee, KentRLoudon (part), Roane (part)-10.4%
3Campbell, ScottyRCarter (part), Johnson, Sullivan (part)-9.1%
87Camper, KarenDShelby (part)-2.5%
12Carr, DaleRSevier (part)-4.7%
16Carringer, MicheleRKnox (part)-4.9%
29Carter, JoanRHamiton (part)15.1%
63Casada, GlenRWilliamson (part)42.9%
64Cepicky, ScottRMaury (part)14.4%
85Chism, JesseDShelby (part)-3.3%
55Clemmons, John RayDDavidson (part)0.2%
23Cochran, MarkRMcMinn, Monroe (part)-2.1%
86Cooper, BarbaraDShelby (part)-8.8%
1Crawford, JohnRSullivan (part)-13.5%
69Curcio, MichaelRDickson (part), Hickman, Maury (part) 1.8%
76Darby, TandyRCarroll (part), Obion (part), Weakley-15.9%
54Dixie, VincentDDavidson (part)-5.1%
70Doggett, ClayRGiles, Lawrence (part)-3.2%
10Eldridge, RickRHamblen-7.6%
11Faison, JeremyRCocke, Greene (part), Jefferson (part) -10.6%
17Farmer, AndrewRJefferson (part), Sevier (part)-3.1%
56Freeman, BobDDavidson (part)1.5%
94Gant, RonRHardeman (part), Fayette, McNairy1%
45Garrett, JohnnyRSumner (part)10.4%
97Gillespie, JohnRShelby (part)0.5%
75Griffey, BruceRBenton, Henry, Stewart-11.6%
77Grills, RustyRDyer, Lake, Obion (part)-10.4%
28Hakeem, YusufDHamiton (part)-2.1%
79Halford, CurtisRCarroll (part), Gibson-6.8%
24Hall, MarkRBradley (part)0.4%
93Hardaway, G. A.DShelby (part)-8.8%
90Harris, Torrey C.DShelby (part)-15.3%
72Haston, KirkRChester, Decatur, Henderson, Perry-6.9%
5Hawk, DavidRGreene (part)-10.3%
27Hazlewood, PatsyRHamilton (part)1.6%
30Helton, EstherRHamilton (part)6.9%
9Hicks, GaryRWashington (part)-9.2%
6Hicks, TimRwashington-4.3%
67Hodges, JasonDMontgomery (part)15.2%
4Holsclaw, JohnRCarter (part), Unicoi-8.7%
22Howell, DanRBradley (part), Meigs, Polk-1.4%
2Hulsey, BudRSullivan (part)-10%
82Hurt, ChrisRCrockett, Haywood, Lauderdale-18.5%
60Jernigan, DarrenDDavidson (part)-0.5%
68Johnson, CurtisRMontgomery (part)30.5%
13Johnson, GloriaDKnox (part)-5.1%
38Keisling, KellyRClay, Fentress (part), Macon, Pickett, Scott-2.3%
66Kumar, SabiRRobertson4.3%
89Lafferty, JustinRKnox (part)8.1%
91Lamar, LondonDShelby (part)-16.7%
44Lamberth, WilliamRSumner (part)22.6%
99Leatherwood, TomRShelby (part)1.5%
78Littleton, MaryRCheatham, Dickson (part)0.8%
58Love, HaroldDDavidson (part)5.8%
57Lynn, SusanRWilson (part)27%
18Mannis, EddieRKnox (part)-2.5%
62Marsh, PatRBedford, Lincoln (part)-2.1%
15McKenzie, SamDKnox (part)-7.4%
88Miller, LarryDShelby (part)-9.2%
50Mitchell, BoDDavidson (part)0.7%
81Moody, DebraRTipton-12.7%
8Moon, JeromeRBlount (part)-5.4%
61Ogles, BrandonRWilliamson (part)2.6%
98Parkinson, AntonioDShelby (part)-8.6%
59Potts, JasonDDavidson (part)8%
53Powell, JasonDDavidson (part)5.9%
36Powers, DennisRAnderson (part), Campbell, Union (part)-11.8%
33Ragan, JohnRAnderson (part)-2.6%
20Ramsey, BobRBlount (part)-0.8%
74Reedy, JayRHouston, Humphreys, Montgomery (part)8.7%
34Rudd, TimRRutherford (part)42.8%
39Rudder, IrisRFranklin (part), Marion (part), Moore-9.4%
21Russell, LowellRLoudon (part), Monroe (part)1.6%
25Sexton, CameronRCumberland, Putnam (part), Van Buren 4.7%
35Sexton, JerryRClaiborne, Grainger, Union (part)-10.9%
80Shaw, JohnnyDHardeman (part), Madison (part)-18.6%
43Sherrell, PaulRGrundy, White, Warren (part)-2.1%
26Smith, RobinRHamilton (part)3.1%
49Sparks, MikeRRutherford (part)15.5%
52Stewart, MikeDDavidson (part)4.2%
48Terry, BryanRRutherford (part)15.8%
96Thompson, DwayneDShelby (part)3%
73Todd, ChrisRMadison (part)-7.2%
84Towns, JoeDShelby (part)-2.9%
31Travis, RonRBledsoe, Rhea, Roane (part), Sequatchie-0.2%
95Vaughan, KevinRShelby (part)4.2%
92Warner, ToddRFranklin (part), Lincoln (part), Marion (part), Marshall-5%
40Weaver, Terri LynnRDeKalb (part), Smith, Sumner (part), Trousdale12.8%
83White, MarkRShelby (part)-1.4%
65Whitson, SamRWilliamson (part)9.3%
42Williams, RyanRPutnam (part)6.1%
41Windle, John MarkDFentress (part), Jackson, Morgan, Overton-6.7%
19Wright, DaveRKnox (part)-4.6%
14Zachary, JasonRKnox (part)2.5%

Here are the projected amounts headed to TN cities and counties under the COVID relief program

Gov. Bill Lee speaks at a press conference in Nashville on March 22, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Tennessee’s cities and counties are projected to receive $2.27 billion under the latest federal COVID-19 relief package. On a conference call about the influx earlier this week, Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) asked for a breakdown of exactly how much is headed to each local government.

There’s a big caveat: The rules for how the money can be spent aren’t entirely clear yet. So state officials are warning local governments to be careful about how they plan to spend the money.

And even then the answer for local allocations isn’t simple.

The Federal Funds Information Service has come up with projections for the totals that could be flowing soon. Estimates for the biggest cities is based on Housing and Urban Development data while smaller towns and cities’ are based on census estimates from 2019. County totals are filtered through adjusted Community Development Block Grant data.

While none of it is final, here’s how FFIS sees it breaking down for counties and cities:

CountyAmount
Anderson14,929,409
Bedford9,641,530
Benton3,134,132
Bledsoe2,921,570
Blount25,811,598
Bradley20,967,269
Campbell7,727,111
Cannon2,846,708
Carroll5,385,239
Carter10,936,687
Cheatham7,887,114
Chester3,354,647
Claiborne6,198,251
Clay1,476,882
Cocke6,982,754
Coffee10,961,706
Crockett2,759,821
Cumberland11,737,481
Davidson134,624,954
Decatur2,261,967
DeKalb3,973,909
Dickson10,462,882
Dyer7,206,759
Fayette7,977,492
Fentress3,592,422
Franklin8,185,982
Gibson9,529,043
Giles5,714,361
Grainger4,522,770
Greene13,395,507
Grundy2,604,084
Hamblen12,593,549
Hamilton71,333,321
Hancock1,283,908
Hardeman4,858,293
Hardin4,975,047
Hawkins11,013,295
Haywood3,356,004
Henderson5,453,119
Henry6,273,114
Hickman4,883,118
Houston1,590,533
Humphreys3,603,864
Jackson2,285,822
Jefferson10,568,970
Johnson3,449,873
Knox91,214,310
Lake1,360,710
Lauderdale4,971,363
Lawrence8,561,069
Lewis2,379,303
Lincoln6,665,074
Loudon10,486,156
Macon4,771,406
Madison19,003,393
Marion5,606,335
Marshall6,666,820
Maury18,693,665
McMinn10,433,015
McNairy4,983,193
Meigs2,409,170
Monroe9,027,116
Montgomery40,532,905
Moore1,258,308
Morgan4,150,980
Obion5,831,697
Overton4,313,505
Perry1,566,290
Pickett979,029
Polk3,264,463
Putnam15,563,024
Rhea6,432,535
Roane10,353,110
Robertson13,927,689
Rutherford64,444,630
Scott4,279,953
Sequatchie2,914,200
Sevier19,054,982
Shelby181,757,575
Smith3,909,326
Stewart2,659,940
Sullivan30,710,619
Sumner37,098,160
Tipton11,946,747
Trousdale2,188,462
Unicoi3,468,298
Union3,873,446
Van Buren1,138,838
Warren8,005,420
Washington25,091,485
Wayne3,233,626
Weakley6,463,760
White5,303,394
Williamson46,238,539
Wilson28,055,334
TOTAL1,324,476,243
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Thursday is last day to vote early

Campaign signs outside an early voting location in Nashville on Oct. 21, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The early voting period for the Nov. 3 election ends on Thursday following what has been a record turnout.

In-person and absentee voting through the first 12 days had already exceeded the total turnout during the entire early voting of the last presidential election in 2016 period by 16%.

Only five counties had seen decreases with two days of results left to report: Haywood (-12%), Carter (-11%), Franklin (-8%), Madison (-4%), and Knox (-1%).

The biggest increases in early and absentee balloting have occured in Shelby (+44,914), Davidson (+40,278), Rutherford (+25,177), Williamson (+25,177), and Hamilton (13,573).

Here is the statewide breakdown:

County2020 through
12 Days
Compared with
all of 2016
Anderson23,70510%
Bedford12,47220%
Benton4,91810%
Bledsoe2,18439%
Blount43,46226%
Bradley31,97514%
Campbell7,3613%
Cannon3,35622%
Carroll7,03325%
Carter10,295-11%
Cheatham14,45828%
Chester4,77212%
Claiborne7,83217%
Clay2,06128%
Cocke9,07229%
Coffee14,68915%
Crockett3,71517%
Cumberland20,55815%
Davidson218,78723%
Decatur3,30817%
DeKalb4,2719%
Dickson13,83521%
Dyer9,75010%
Fayette13,8146%
Fentress5,54312%
Franklin8,922-8%
Gibson12,73722%
Giles7,4088%
Grainger5,57021%
Greene12,87212%
Grundy2,96923%
Hamblen13,8554%
Hamilton88,32418%
Hancock1,20022%
Hardeman6,0967%
Hardin6,63613%
Hawkins14,0928%
Haywood4,051-12%
Henderson7,45210%
Henry9,30014%
Hickman6,09831%
Houston2,32615%
Humphreys5,4019%
Jackson2,73833%
Jefferson15,44523%
Johnson4,75213%
Knox140,685-1%
Lake1,34512%
Lauderdale5,78413%
Lawrence10,03022%
Lewis3,55021%
Lincoln8,0426%
Loudon21,91716%
Macon6,28419%
Madison24,788-4%
Marion6,68726%
Marshall9,96135%
Maury26,1918%
McMinn13,81014%
McNairy6,30011%
Meigs3,33224%
Monroe13,27820%
Montgomery42,13214%
Moore2,31926%
Morgan4,37019%
Obion8,3986%
Overton6,16823%
Perry1,92336%
Pickett1,55413%
Polk4,69340%
Putnam18,3383%
Rhea8,38023%
Roane16,69412%
Robertson19,19017%
Rutherford104,59332%
Scott5,67035%
Sequatchie4,27229%
Sevier23,26912%
Shelby288,56018%
Smith5,49315%
Stewart4,04514%
Sullivan46,6452%
Sumner55,59521%
Tipton18,7328%
Trousdale2,58418%
Unicoi5,47213%
Union3,45033%
Van Buren1,57621%
Warren8,9603%
Washington35,95416%
Wayne3,46612%
Weakley9,03918%
White6,79910%
Williamson107,07528%
Wilson54,03828%
TOTAL1,962,90016%

Early voting down 8% compared with 2018 primary

Early voting was down 8% compared with Tennessee’s 2018 primary election featuring a heated governor’s race and another open U.S. Senate seat.

Republican voting was down 11%, while Democratic turnout was up 2%. GOP voters still showed up in far greater numbers than Democrats, 354,600 to 215,790.

Only 21 counties saw increases in Republican early voting, led by a 63% growth in Washington County in the heart of the 1st Congressional District, where 16 Republicans are vying to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Johnson City). Other counties in the district posing GOP gains included Unicoi (21%), Sullivan (14%), Sevier (11%), and Grainger (8%). Turnout decreased in the district’s remaining counties: Jefferson (-9%), Hamblen (-13%), Greene (-21%), Johnson (-23%), Hancock (-28%), and Cocke (-30%).

Democratic turnout saw its biggest boost in Davidson County, where early voting was up 53% compared with two years ago. Knox County also saw a Democratic gain of 29%, while GOP turnout dropped 10%. In Hamilton County, Democrats saw a 24% increase but Republican turnout also grew 19%.

In Shelby County, which usually accounts for the state’s largest turnout for both parties, Democratic early voting was down 4%, while GOP balloting cratered by 25%.

The full early voting list by county compared with the 2018 primary follows below.

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Here’s how much federal relief money is flowing to Tennessee counties

The Senate meets in Nashville on June 1, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A total of $13 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money is flowing to Tennessee, and a new interactive state website allows users to break down how much is headed specific counties.

In a meeting of the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group on Monday, Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) asked whether the amounts can be broken out on a per-capita basis to ensure smaller counties weren’t getting less than the likes of Metro Nashville and Shelby County. Gov. Bill Lee’s administration didn’t have those figures at their fingertips, so the Tennessee Journal has crunched the numbers. Here are the top 10 per-capita recipients of federal aid (Anderson County, where McNally lives, comes in at No. 12):

  1. Jackson, $7,126
  2. Cheatham, $4,363
  3. Davidson, $3,931
  4. Carroll, $3,380
  5. Smith, 3,738
  6. Fayette, $3,525
  7. Cannon, $3,056
  8. Carter, $2,643
  9. Giles, $2,643
  10. Bledsoe, $2,557

The full per-capita breakdown follows:

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GOP early voting lags behind 2018, while Nashville surge boosts Democrats’ totals

(Graphic credit: Don Johnson)

Republican turnout has been down 10% compared with the first 13 days of early voting in 2018, while Democratic turnout has been up 3%. Overall turnout has been down 7%.

(This post has been updated to reflect turnout figures for the first 13 of 14 days of early voting.)

Early voting for the Aug. 6 primary runs through Saturday.

The nominations for the open U.S. Senate race in 2018 were settled by the time the primary rolled around, but that year featured a rough-and-tumble primary for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. This year’s campaign season has been dominated by a bitter GOP contest for yet another U.S. Senate vacancy between former Ambassador Bill Hagerty and Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi.

Despite the comparative lag, Republicans have still turned out in far higher numbers than Democrats across the state, 330,580 to 194,368.

The biggest increase in GOP early voting has been a 64% jump in Washington County, which is in the heart of the 16-way 1st District primary to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Johnson City). It’s also home to heated primary challenges of state Reps. Matthew Hill and Micah Van Huss (both R-Jonesborough). GOP voting has been down in 72 of 95 counties.

The biggest increase in early voting among Democrats has occurred in Nashville, where turnout has been  61% higher than it was through the same period two years ago. This year’s primary features Keeda Haynes’ insurgent campaign against longtime U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) and a spirited contest for the Democratic nomination to challenge state Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville).

See your county’s turnout compared with the first 13 of 14 days of early voting in 2018 below.

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Absentee voting well ahead of 2016 primary, nearing level of last presidential election

Secretary of State Tre Hargett speaks with Rep. Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) before Gov. Bill Haslam’s final State of the State address on Jan. 29, 2018 in Nashville. (Photo credit: Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Requests for absentee ballots are well ahead of the number cast in the August 2016 primary and are already coming close to matching the levels of that year’s November presidential election, according to data gathered by The Tennessean‘s Joel Ebert and Carmel Kookogey.

The Secretary of State’s office said it doesn’t keep track of absentee ballot requests, referring the newspaper to local election commissions. The newspaper contacted officials in all 95 counties. Eighty provided information on how many mail-in ballots had been requested as of last week, nine refused to release data, and six did not respond.

A judge last month ordered the state to allow anyone who fears infection by the coronavirus to cast absentee ballots. The state is appealing that ruling, but it’s unlikely the Supreme Court will decide the issue before the Aug. 6 primary.

About 57,000 absentee ballots had been requested as of last week. That compares with about about 12,000 for the August 2016 primary and 64,000 for that year’s general election.

A look at the percentage difference between absentee ballot requests this year and the number cast in August and November 2016 follows after the jump.

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Early voting up slightly compared with 2016

About 3,000 more early ballots were cast through the first four days of early voting in Tennessee compared with the same period in the 2016 presidential primary.

Republican voting was down by 3,456 votes, while Democratic voting jumped by 6,465 ballots. It’s not an entirely unexpected result given President Donald Trump isn’t facing serious opposition in the GOP primary. And even then, Republicans have accounted for 60% of the early ballots cast so far.

The biggest increase in Democratic primary votes has so far occurred in Shelby (+3,248), Knox (+1,490), Hamilton (+661) and Rutherford (+404) counties.

Shelby County also saw that largest increase in Republican voters with 1,314, followed by Washington (+707), Blount (+412), Knox (+391), and Wilson (+315) counties.

Davidson County saw the biggest drop in both Democratic (-1,602) and Republican (-1,564) votes. The next biggest GOP drops were in Rutherford (-883), Monroe (-743), and Sumner (-433) counties. Democrats’ next biggest losses were votes in Monroe (-192), White (-133) , and Stewart (-108) counties.

(95-county breakdown after the jump)

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Sethi names 174 ‘grassroots supporters’ for Senate bid

Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi is releasing a list of “grassroots support” in all 95 counties in his bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

“I am so honored to have support in every corner of Tennessee,” Sethi said in a release. “From Mountain City to Memphis, and Turtletown to Tiptonville, these grassroots leaders are eager to elect a conservative outsider to the United States Senate. I look forward to adding to this list in the coming months as we work towards victory next August.”

The list includes state Reps. Dan Howell (R-Cleveland) and Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown), as well as former state Rep. Tony Shipley (R-Kingsport). Also represented is Rebecca Griffey, the wife of freshman state Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-Paris), who has been in the news lately. She is one of 12 members of the state Republican Party’s executive committee endorsing Sethi.

“Conservatives from across the state are hungry for a fresh voice to take on the Washington establishment and support our president,” said “It is a remarkable accomplishment for a campaign to have this level of broad grassroots support this early in a campaign,” said Forrest Barnwell-Hagemeyer, Dr. Manny’s campaign manager. “It’s clear that Dr. Manny is the choice of Tennessee conservatives.”

Here’s the list broken down by county:

ANDERSON:
State Executive Committeewoman Amy Jones

BEDFORD:
Reverend Jeff Heard

BENTON:
James Peach

BLEDSOE:
Robert Standefer

BLOUNT:
Sharon Earley

BRADLEY:
Jonathan Cantrell
Sarah Cantrell
State Representative Dan Howell

CAMPBELL:
Les Barnaby

CANNON:
Denise Caffey
Shirley Boren

CARROLL:
Colonel Jim Harding

CARTER:
Lynn Richardson

CHEATHAM:
Linda Klingmann

CHESTER:
Sam Boyd

CLAIBORNE:
Daniel Chauncey

CLAY:
Bev Young

COCKE:
Joan Fine
Rama Brunswick

COFFEE:
Benny Jones
Dow Jones
John Roberts

CROCKETT:
Ruste Via

CUMBERLAND:
State Executive Committeewoman Barbara Gregson
Steve Frank

DAVIDSON:
David Birdsong
Dr. Ming Wang
Duane Dominey
Neil B. Chaffin
Reverend Louie Johnston Jr.
Rick Williams
Scooter Clippard
State Executive Committeeman Robert Duvall
Tootie Haskins

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