AP News Guide: A look at Tennessee’s election

November 4, 2020 GMT
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Bill Hagerty, left, stands with his family after he was named the winner of his race for U.S. Senate Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Franklin, Tenn. (George Walker IV/The Tennessean via AP)
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Bill Hagerty, left, stands with his family after he was named the winner of his race for U.S. Senate Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Franklin, Tenn. (George Walker IV/The Tennessean via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — With all eyes on the presidential election, the biggest race in Tennessee was the seat U.S. Senate seat opened by the retirement of Republican incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander. A handful of U.S. House and legislative seats also remain competitive in the GOP-dominant state. Here is a summary of top races on the ballot:

U.S. President

President Donald Trump has won Tennessee against Democrat Joe Biden, claiming the state’s 11 electoral votes.


Trump’s win continued a string of GOP victories in the Volunteer State. Republicans currently hold every statewide office and control supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.

The last time the state swung for a Democratic nominee was in 1996 when Bill Clinton was on the ballot with Tennessean Al Gore. Four years ago, Trump won Tennessee by 26 percentage points.

U.S. Senate

Republican Bill Hagerty has won the U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee being vacated by retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander.

The former U.S. ambassador to Japan under President Donald Trump rode the president’s endorsement to a win against Democrat Marquita Bradshaw.

Republicans have held both Senate seats in Tennessee since 1994, and Trump remained popular enough in the red state to win the state a second time. Hagerty mentioned the president at every turn, both in a contested primary and the general election campaign.

Hagerty is a Nashville businessman who sits on the board of a private investment firm. He served as the economic development commissioner for former Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

Bradshaw became the first Black woman nominated for statewide office by either major political party in Tennessee.


1st Congressional District

The only open congressional race in Tennessee has been won by Republican Diane Harshbarger.

The first-time political candidate won the northeastern Tennessee congressional district that has been represented by Republicans since the Civil War. Harshbarger will replace outgoing Rep. Phil Roe, who decided against pursuing a sixth term. Her win means a woman will be joining the state’s nine-member U.S. House delegation, which is currently all-male.

A woman hasn’t held the seat since Louise Reece was elected in 1961 to replace her husband, B. Carroll Reece, when he died.



Remaining Congressional Districts

In Tennessee’s other eight districts, incumbents are seeking reelection and have raised far more money than their opponents.

In the 2nd District, Republican Rep. Tim Burchett has been reelected to a second term. In the 3rd District, Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischmann has been reelected to represent a southeastern Tennessee district. In the 4th District, GOP Rep. Scott DesJarlais was reelected, securing a sixth term in Congress.

Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper is running unopposed in Tennessee’s 5th District. Tennessee’s other Democratic House member, seven-term incumbent Rep. Steve Cohen has won in the 9th District, which encompasses the city of Memphis.

In the GOP stronghold of the 6th District, one-term incumbent Republican John Rose has won the race for the U.S. House seat representing north-central Tennessee. Republican Mark Green is returning to the U.S. House for a second term in the sprawling 7th District.

Republican Rep. David Kustoff has won a third term representing the 8th District in west Tennessee. His district includes suburban Memphis and parts of more than a dozen mostly rural counties.


State Legislature

All 99 state House seats and about half the 33 Senate seats were on the ballot. Republicans were poised to keep strong majorities in both chambers.

Democrat Heidi Campbell defeated incumbent state Sen. Steve Dickerson, a physician representing a Nashville-centered district and the Senate’s most moderate Republican. Campbell is the former mayor of Oak Hill.

Republican Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, meanwhile, won after a tough challenge from Glenn Scruggs, a Black Democrat and the city’s assistant police chief.

They were two of eight Republican senators facing Democratic challenges, most of them in Republican-tilted districts.

Republican Page Walley, a former Department of Children’s Services commissioner, won the open contest to replace retiring Republican Sen. Dolores Gresham.

On the House side, 41 Republicans and 19 Democrats had no opposition from the other major party, though a handful independent opponents.

One incumbent who lost is Rep. John DeBerry in Memphis, who was a Democrat until his party booted him from the ballot because of the Black preacher’s tendency to side with Republicans. DeBerry ran as an independent and lost to Torrey Harris, a Black Democratic human resources professional who, as a bisexual man, will become one of the first two openly LGBTQ Tennessee lawmakers.

The other will be Republican businessman Eddie Mannis, who is gay, and who won the race to replace GOP Rep. Martin Daniel in the Knoxville area.


Find AP’s full election coverage at APNews.com/Election2020