Same-day returns were coming in late — very late — Thursday night, but, suspense-wise, it hardly mattered, since we have evidently reached the point in the history of elections when more people cast ballots in the early voting period than on election day.
And there were few surprises in the early-voting returns. One of them was in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, where Marquita Bradshaw
of Memphis was running first, well ahead of Nashville lawyer and Iraq war vet James Mackler
, who had been running more or less nonstop for two years but finished this race mired in third behind Bradhsaw and Robin Kimbrough
. Other candidates in a largely nondescript field were Gary Davis
and Mark Pickrell
On the Republican side, where 15 candidates were on the ballot, former Ambassador Bill Hagerty
, a Trump
endorsee, defeated Manny Sethi
, a Nashville physician who had competed with Hagerty for the ultra-conservative vote (to the point of calling publicly for the firing of Dr. Anthony Fauci
) from the president’s coronavirus task force). George Flinn
of Memphis finished third.
Another possible surprise was the 50 percent-plus winning margin of Gabby Salinas
(2.454)in the hotly contested Democratic primary for state House of Representatives District 97, an open seat. Second was Ruby Powell-Dennis (1,240), followed by Allan Creasy (661)and Clifford Stockton III (442). There was a contested Republican primary, too — won by John Gillespie
(3,626)over Brandon Weise (1,007).
Another GOP primary contest saw incumbent state Rep. Tom Leatherwood
overcome former Republican county chairman Lee Mills by a margin of 5,237 to 2.599.
Interestingly, the vote totals (during early voting, anyhow) were roughly equal for the parties’ primaries in District 97 — a circumstance that gave some credibility to state Democratic chair Mary Mancini
’s election-night statement that “Democrats across Tennessee showed up at polls to make sure their voices were heard loud and clear this election and we are excited by the strong slate of candidates they chose to represent the Democratic Party on the ballot this November.”
Another race featuring multiple Democratic candidates was in House District 90, where Torrey Harris
(3,829) prevailed over Anya Parker (1,160) and Catrina Smith (1,752) in the primary and will vie in November with incumbent John DeBerry
, who was kept off the Democrat ballot by the state Democratic committee (for excessive coziness with GOP issues) and is running as an independent.
Republicans own a legislative supermajority in Tennessee and also possess all the major statewide offices, of course — a fact that makes Hagerty, for example, an odds-on favorite in the forthcoming November election.
Other legislative primary winners in contested races were, among Democrats, Sara Kyle
(10,173) over Marion L. A-Williams (3,980) in state Senate District 30, Joe Towns
(4,223) over Dominique Primer (2,571) in state House District 84; Jesse Chism
(6,730) over Alvin Crook (1,481) in state House District 85, Barbara Cooper
(3,926) over three opponents in District 86, Larry Miller
(4,334) over Orrden W. Williams (885)in District 88, and Antonio Parkinson
(4,256) over Charles A. Thompson(720) in District 98 — all winners being incumbents.
In congressional districts, 8th District incumbent Republican David Kustoff
won renomination without opposition, while Erika Stotts-Pearson
, who was Kustoff’s unsuccessful Democratic opponent two years ago, will take another shot, having out-polled three primary opponents.
9th District Democratic congressman Steve Cohen
(56,126)easily prevailed in the Democratic primary over former Shelby County party chairman Corey Strong (9,908). (Not a good night for former party chairs.) Perennial madcap candidate Leo Awgowhat
finished a distant third.
In the county general election, Democratic nominee Joe Brown
(64,230) won out over Republican entry Paul Boyd (42,0730.
There were five Shelby County School Board races on the ballot. The winners were Althea Greene
in District 2, Stephanie Love
in District 3, Kevin Woods
in District 4, and Miska Clay Bibbs
in District 78. In District 5, challenger Sheleah Harris
, boosted by her own hard work and reams of mailer material furnished by an out-of-state charter/voucher group, defeated incumbent Scott McCormick and two others.
More to come, including more vote totals.