Here’s a fascinating look at how the politics of health care have shifted dramatically since the 2010 election when Republicans rode it to electoral victory.
Karl Dean, the former mayor of Nashville who is now the Democratic nominee in the Tennessee governor’s race, sent out an email urging supporters to support Medicaid expansion in the state, noting “We lost millions of dollars — federal funding paid for by our own taxes — that went to other states instead. We missed out on years of health care coverage for almost half a million uninsured Tennesseans and had several of our hospitals close.”
There are no new polls for the Tennessee governor’s race in the wake of last week’s primary. Larry Sabato and the Cook Political Report both rank the race as likely Republican.
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.
Karl Dean, the former mayor of Nashville, announced he is running for governor of Tennessee in 2018. Running as a pro-business moderate on a platform of education and jobs, Dean would be running for the top job in a state that has been dominated by Republicans for almost a decade. The good news is that Tennessee has a record of electing Democrats, most notably Al Gore, and most recently Governor Phil Bredesen; as well as the fact that Dean would be running for the position during Donald Trump’s midterm election cycle, meaning that – depending on the national political winds – he could ride an anti-Trump wave into office.
The bad news is that state and national Democrats have a lot of work to do throughout Tennessee:
If Dean does become the Democratic standard-bearer, he would be running in a state where Democrats won just three counties in last year’s presidential election. Donald Trump won 12 rural counties by 80 percent or more en route to carrying the state with 61 percent of the vote.