Tennessee Politics – early guesses on 2010 Elections

Let’s take some time and analyze what’s about to happen in Tennessee come November 3rd. I’ll begin with poorly constructed logical reasoning as to which candidates will win, why, and what it will mean for both State and Federal politics.

TN Governor:

If Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam loses this election, it would be the single-biggest upset in the history of Tennessee politics. He has had a dominating lead since day one, and Mike McWherter really has no shot to make any waves leading up to November 2nd. In fact, here is how bad it is for Mike in my eyes… I was driving through Green Hills after the August Primary and saw a “McWherter” bumper sticker on an old Mercedes. As I drove, I couldn’t help but wonder where someone had been storing this car with a Ned Ray bumper sticker on it in such good condition. I had completely forgotten that Mike was running. Whoops. Mayor Bill Haslam wins big 66-32 with those other percentage points garbled up by the other 10-15 candidates.

TN Congressional Races:

1st District – Rep. Phil Roe stands to win this race easily. His most difficult race was the 2008 GOP primary. I figure he’ll win 74-25, a small increase over his 2008 victory.

2nd District – Rep. John Duncan, Jr. A Duncan, either Sr. or Jr., has held this seat since 1965. I feel like he’s as safe a bet as any Republican in the country to win his 2010 election 80-20.

3rd District – Chuck Fleischmann faced his toughest battle in a madly contested primary with beloved TNGOP former chair Robin Smith and Sheriff Tim Gobble. Now he will waltz into Congress with a win, likely 68-3o.

4th District – Dr. Scott DesJarlais has been gaining ground over the past 4 weeks on incumbent Rep. Lincoln Davis. Rep. Davis has fought hard to hold onto his seat, but he is sure to be a casualty of the “Party of Pelosi” issue. He voted against some of the major legislation proposed by the Democrats since President Obama took office, yet he looks to lose his seat due to guilt by association. I expect DesJarlais to win by 8 points, 53-45.

5th District – Rep. Jim Cooper will likely hold onto his seat. From what I could find, the 5th District GOP primary had the most candidates of any GOP congressional race in 2010. Cooper has been attacked from all sides for months now, but it appears that Hall, for all his hard work and effort, won’t be able to upset the incumbent this time. I see this race being the closest for Rep. Cooper (other than his Senate bid in 1994) in his political history. I see him winning 55-43 with 2% going to the independents and write-ins.

6th District – State Senator Diane Black will win the seat being vacated by Rep. Bart Gordon. While the 5th may have had the most primary candidates, the 6th was easily the closest primary. Essentially split between three candidates, Black won the primary and the task of facing Brett Carter. Black will win by 15-20 points, my guess is 59-41.

7th District – Congressman Blackburn, in much the same way as Rep. Duncan, will likely win big with a percentage close to 70-30.

8th District – Rep. John Tanner announced his retirement and this race got out of control. Three extremely well funded GOP candidates and one Democrat raising large sums all over West and Middle Tennessee showed up and it became the most expensive race in the country. Fincher won the GOP primary and currently looks to be stealing the seat from the Democrats. Herron will give him a run for it, but I see Fincher winning 54-46.

9th District – Cohen by an obvious landslide. I think CookReport.com lists this as one of the top 20 democratic districts in the country. Lest we forget that the GOP swept every contested race in Shelby County Commission elections in August. I’m not saying that trend continues, I’m only saying the GOP in Shelby county showed up. Cohen wins 78-20.

So we will all become witnesses, ala LeBron James, and see a state currently holding a 5-4 Democrat majority in its House delegation switch to a GOP majority of 7-2, maybe 6-3 should DesJarlais or Fincher lose (which I don’t see happening), and a slight chance of going 8-1 should Hall pull an upset in the 5th.

Either way, the political landscape in TN is getting ready to change in many ways. For the first time since I can remember, we will have a Republican Governor, two Republican Senators, and a Republican majority representing the state in the House. It’s tougher to call where the State House and Senate will land, but I expect that the GOP will retain control of both houses and also elect a new Speaker of the House that is more in line with the TN GOP than Kent Williams.

Assuming the GOP wins enough seats to regain control of the House, it changes President Obama’s second term in a big way. With ‘Speaker Boehner’ pulling the strings, he’ll either be forced to move back to the center in order to accomplish anything of substance or his next two years will result in lame-duck leadership. Tennessee will lack strong leaders in the house; not for lack of quality, but for lack of tenure. Alexander and Corker will be forced to carry the load along with Congressmen Blackburn and Duncan.

We’re less than 3 weeks out. What do you think will happen, or do you even care?

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