Tennessee held its primary election, where much of the attention was focused on the two statewide races that will be on the ballot in the fall.
GOVERNOR: Former Nashville mayor Karl Dean won the Democratic nomination, beating House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh by a whopping 56 points. He will face businessman and political outsider Bill Lee, a dark horse candidate who beat Rep. Diane Black and businessman Randy Boyd.
The Republican race showed that money, connections and experience aren’t enough to guarantee victory. According to the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel, Black is the fifth House Republican in this cycle to run for statewide office and lose in the primary. She spent $10 million of her own money on the race, was endorsed by Vice President Mike Pence and finished in a lackluster third place. Boyd spent $19 million of his own money on the race and finished a distant second.
SENATE: As expected, former governor Phil Bredesen and Rep. Marsha Blackburn won their respective parties’ nominations to compete for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring incumbent Bob Corker. It would normally be a safely Republican seat, but because of the political climate, the choice of candidates, and the fact that it is an open seat, Tennessee will be one of the Democrats’ top opportunities to gain a seat in the U.S. Senate in an election cycle where the map favors Republicans. According to the most recent poll of this race taken in mid-July by Emerson College, Bredesen leads Blackburn 43-37. Tennessee could potentially determine control of the United States Senate in November, so expect a lot of money and media attention on this race during the next three months.