It appears that Tennessee Republicans are beginning to seriously coalesce behind Ambassador Bill Hagerty to succeed retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R). Yesterday two-term Rep. David Kustoff (R-Germantown) said he would not enter the statewide race and will presumably seek re-election to the House. The only serious Republican candidate other than Mr. Hagerty, who has yet to formally announce, is Nashville surgeon Manny Sethi. For the Democrats, attorney and Iraq War veteran James Mackler has the early field all to himself.
This race is slow to develop, but Tennessee features a long primary season. The candidate filing deadline is April 2nd with an August 6th partisan primary date.
Democrats are in the House majority, and they are also seeing a wide lead in primary challenges to their current incumbents. Another announcement was made yesterday that likely takes the Democratic primary number to 28 as compared to the Republicans’ three. The 28 races feature candidates of some prominence are challenging the incumbent Congressman.
Yesterday, former Shelby County Democratic Party chairman and US Navy Reserve officer Corey Strong says he will challenge Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis). The Congressman has been an anomaly in this district. A 61% African American district, Mr. Cohen, who is white, won the seat in 2006 when the African Americans split their votes among too many candidates. That pattern continued in subsequent elections until Mr. Cohen solidified his support. Now, however, he has drawn an African American opponent, and if the challenger can solidify the black vote behind him, this could become a serious campaign. The Tennessee primary isn’t until August 6th, so this contest has much time to develop.
Now that former two-term Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and freshman Rep. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) will not pursue US Senate campaigns, speculation is building as to who might. Now expected to join the Republican Senate field is US Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty. The strongest GOP candidate in the race so far appears to be surgeon Manny Sethi. The top Democrat is attorney and Iraq War veteran James Mackler. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) is retiring after three terms.
After months of stringing Tennessee politicos along, former two-term Gov. Bill Haslam yesterday announced that he would not run for the state’s open Senate seat next year. Perhaps more surprisingly, the man thought to be entering the race if Haslam did not, freshman Rep. Mark Green (R-Clarksville), also said that he will not run for the Senate, choosing to seek re-election from his safe Republican western Tennessee House district.
At this point, Republicans have no major Senate candidate to replace retiring incumbent Lamar Alexander (R), but that will soon change now that Haslam has finally made his intentions known. Currently, the most credible Republican is surgeon Manny Sethi, while the Democrats look to be lining up behind attorney and Iraq War veteran James Mackler.
Yesterday, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke (D) said he will not pursue the Democratic nomination in next year’s August Senate primary election. Meanwhile, Republicans are still awaiting former Gov. Bill Haslam’s decision about whether he will again become a statewide candidate. After postponing publicizing his decision for now a third time, Mr. Haslam promises a candidate decision “within two or three weeks.”
The Republican potential field has been frozen awaiting word from the former two-term Governor. But, the seat is expected to remain safely in Republican hands after veteran incumbent Lamar Alexander (R) indicated that he will not run for a fourth term next year.
Though Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) announced that he would not seek re-election back in December, no Republican had yet come forward to announce his or her candidacy. That has now changed. Dr. Manny Sethi, a surgeon who co-authored medical books with former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), announced his candidacy yesterday.
Former Gov. Bill Haslam (R) had frozen the GOP field. He is reported to be still contemplating running, and now says he will make a decision sometime in the next few weeks. Originally, the ex-Governor, who left office in January after being ineligible to seek a third term, said he would decide in April. Attorney James Mackler is the lone Democrat in the race. Once the Republican field solidifies, the party’s eventual nominee will become the favorite to hold the seat.
Triton Research, polling for the Tennessee Star news site (4/13-16; 1,003 TN likely Republican primary voters), finds that former Gov. Bill Haslam is not quite a lock for the open Republican nomination as many believe. No Republican, including Mr. Haslam, has yet announced their candidacy.
According to Triton, while President Trump boasts an 88% positive rating among Republicans with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R) at 76% and new Gov. Bill Lee (R) at 73.5%, Mr. Haslam only polls 49% favorability. And, in a hypothetical pairing with freshman Rep. Mark Green (R-Clarksville), the former two-term state chief executive would lead only 39-30%. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) is retiring.
Yesterday, state Sen. Sara Kyle (D-Memphis), one of the Democrats thought to be eyeing the open US Senate race since incumbent Lamar Alexander (R) has already announced that he won’t be seeking re-election, said that she will not run statewide next year. At this point, only Iraq War veteran James Mackler, who for a time was in the 2016 Senate campaign but bowed out when former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) stated his intention to run, is the only announced open seat candidate.
It is clear that the potential field, particularly on the Republican side, awaits former Gov. Bill Haslam’s (R) decision about his Senate candidacy. Mr. Haslam has said he will decide in a matter of weeks about whether he will enter the race. Expect the field to remain frozen until he makes his decision public.
Gov. Bill Haslam leaves office on Saturday, and speculation is continuing as to whether he will become a 2020 US Senate candidate to replace the retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R). Gov. Haslam reiterated that he is considering running and says he will make up his mind in “a month or so” after leaving office. No other Republican has yet to come forward to declare for the open seat, obviously waiting to see what Gov. Haslam intends.
Attorney and Iraq War veteran James Mackler, who quickly raised $1 million for the 2018 open Senate campaign but withdrew when former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) declared his candidacy, is the only Democrat so far to officially enter the 2020 contest.
Iraq War veteran James Mackler (D), who quickly raised over $1 million for the 2018 Senate race before ending his effort in favor of former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), announced yesterday that he will enter the 2020 open seat contest to replace retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R). He is the first person from either party to declare his candidacy.
Republicans will be favored to hold the seat especially since new Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R) just defeating Mr. Bredesen, the Democrats’ best possible candidate, by a full eleven-percentage point margin.
No Republican has yet step forward to become a candidate, probably because former Gov. Bill Haslam (R) made a statement last week confirming that he is at least considering running. The move likely froze the potential GOP field, which is likely to remain in limbo until the popular two-term chief executive makes his political intentions public.
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