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NEW Fox News articles can now be heard on audio! On Thursday, a number of primary elections are being held across Tennessee as Republicans attempt to take over a House seat that has long been held by a Democrat following the redistricting of the state’s congressional district.
Thursday’s ballot will also include the candidates for governor of Tennessee. In the Republican gubernatorial primary, incumbent GOP Gov. Bill Lee, who has led the state as its 50th governor since 2019, is the only candidate.
Despite the fact that Democrats have not won statewide government in nearly 15 years, three candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination for governor in the primary election. These contenders are Carnita Atwater, a community activist, Memphis councilman JB Smiley Jr., and physician Jason Martin.
fundraising totals for candidates in the Democratic gubernatorial primary had a wide range before Thursday’s vote. A little under $4,000 had been raised by Atwater, $200,000 by Smiley, and about $650,000 by Martin.
In January, Nashville will host the State of the State address by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. Mark Zaleski for AP
Tennessee’s congressional primaries are being held after a GOP-controlled assembly divided the left-leaning city of Nashville into three congressional districts, potentially opening the door for a Democrat to lose the seat to a Republican.
Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., who has served as the state’s 5th Congressional District’s incumbent since 2003, declared after the split that he would not run for re-election because he had little chance of winning.
There are now nine Republicans running for the 5th District seat, including Andy Ogles, the mayor of Maury County, Beth Harwell, a retired general in the Tennessee National Guard, Geni Batchelor, Natisha Brooks, Jeff Beierlein, and Robby Starbuck, a write-in candidate.
On October 19, 2017 in Nashville,
Representative Jim Cooper gave a speech at the Recording Academy District Advocate Day at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. (Jason Davis/WireImage via Getty on behalf of The Recording Academy)
The sole Democratic primary contender is Nashville state senator Heidi Campbell.
In the Republican primary, five of Tennessee’s nine congressional Republicans are running unopposed: Reps. Diana Harshbarger of the 1st Congressional District, Tim Burchett of the 2nd, Scott DesJarlais of the 4th, John Rose of the 6th, and Mark Green of the 7th.
Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat who has served as the state’s 9th Congressional District’s representative since 2007, along with Reps. David Kustoff, of the 8th Congressional District, and Chuck Fleischmann, of the 3rd Congressional District, are up for election.
Businessman Danny Bridger Jr., Air Force veteran Dean Clouse, and Marine Corps veteran Bob Hendry are among Kustoff’s rivals. Veteran of the Navy Sandy Casey is challenging Fleischmann.
Representatives Chuck Fleischmann (right), David Kustoff (left), and Steve Cohen (center) are all from Tennessee. (Tom Williams and Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Inc., Getty Images) )
Odessa Kelly, a Democrat running unchallenged in her primary, is the far-left candidate Green must defeat in the 7th District.
Kelly is being supported by the Justice Democrats, a left-wing group working to elect progressive Democrats to Congress and supported by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. Kelly’s campaign has emphasized issues like economic injustice, criminal justice reform, “Medicare-for-All,” backing for the Green New Deal, and promoting stricter gun control regulations. If she manages to pull off an unusual victory in the heavily red area, some speculate that she might become the newest member of the “Squad.”
All 99 of Tennessee’s state House seats, which are held by a Republican supermajority, are up for election this year. There are 15 available seats, with Republicans holding the majority of them. Nine seats have disputed Democratic primaries, while twenty-one seats have contested Republican primaries.
The job of disgraced former House Speaker Glen Casada, who was removed from office in 2019 following a string of scandals, is one of the opportunities. As a result of federal wire charges alleging she conducted a political consulting kickback scam with Casada and his former chief of staff, neither of whom have been indicted to far, former GOP state representative Robin Smith resigned earlier this year.
David Byrd, a state representative, likewise announced that he will not run for office again. Three women have accused the Republican of sexual assault from thirty years ago, when he was their basketball coach and a high school teacher. Although Byrd was accused of improperly touching two of the ladies and attempting to touch a third, no charges were ever brought against him.
Byrd previously stated he would retire in 2020 but then changed his mind, citing the need for an experienced lawmaker to serve during the coronavirus pandemic.
Nashville, Tennessee’s state building Getty Images (Andrew Woodley/Universal Images Group)
Notably, longtime state representative John Mark Windle, who has served for almost three decades, has filed to run as an independent.
17 of the Senate’s 33 seats are up for election, including two disputed Democratic elections and two with competitive GOP primaries. Republican Brian Kelsey, Democrat Brenda Gilmore, and Republican Mike Bell are the three leaving senators that leave unfilled seats. On allegations that he broke federal campaign finance regulations during his unsuccessful 2016 congressional campaign, Kelsey is rated facing a federal indictment .
In the August primary, there will be an eight-year retention election for all five of Tennessee’s Supreme Court seats. The vote is anticipated to be upheld by Justices Jeff Bivins, Sarah Campbell, Sharon Lee, Holly Kirby, and Roger Page.
Tennessee’s polls will shut at 7 o’clock CT.
This article was written with help from The Associated Press.
For Fox News, Kyle Morris covers politics. : @RealKyleMorris on Twitter.