Tennessee election review

The statewide primary for Tennessee was held on August 6, 2020. Candidates competed to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020.

Candidates ran in elections for the following offices:

U.S. Senate:

Incumbent Lamar Alexander (R) did not file for re-election, leaving the seat open. Five Democrats and 15 Republican candidates competed in partisan primaries. Unofficial results show Marquita Bradshaw (D) and Bill Hagerty (R) advanced from their respective primaries.

U.S. House:
All of Tennessee’s nine U.S. House seats are up for election this year. U.S. House District 1 incumbent Phil Roe (R) was the only representative that did not file for re-election. Three incumbents—two Democrats and one Republican—faced primary challengers. The remaining five incumbents, all Republican, did not face primary challengers. No incumbents lost their bids for re-election, according to unofficial results.
• District 1: Three Democrats and 16 Republicans competed in partisan primaries. Blair Walsingham (D) and Diana Harshbarger (R) advanced from their respective primaries.
• District 2: Incumbent Tim Burchett (R) was unopposed in the Republican primary. Renee Hoyos (D) advanced from the Democratic primary.
• District 3: Incumbent Charles J. Fleischmann (R) was unopposed in the Republican primary. Candidate Meg Gorman (D) was also unopposed in the Democratic primary.
• District 4: Incumbent Scott DesJarlais (R) defeated two challengers in the Republican primary. Christopher Hale (D) advanced from the Democratic primary.
• District 5: Incumbent Jim Cooper (D) defeated two challengers in the Democratic primary. No Republican candidates were on the ballot.
• District 6: Incumbent John Rose (R) was unopposed in the Republican primary. Candidate Christopher Finley (D) was also unopposed in the Democratic primary.
• District 7: Incumbent Mark Green (R) was unopposed in the Republican primary. Candidate Kiran Sreepada (D) was also unopposed in the Democratic primary.
• District 8:  Incumbent David Kustoff (R) was unopposed in the Republican primary. Erika Stotts Pearson (D) advanced from the Democratic primary.

• District 9: Incumbent Steve Cohen (D) defeated two challengers in the Democratic primary. Charlotte Bergmann (R) was unopposed in the Republican primary.

State Senate:
The chamber has five Democrats and 28 Republicans. Sixteen of 33 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 17 seats.

• Fifteen incumbents filed for re-election. No incumbents lost their bids for re-election, according to unofficial results.

State House:
The chamber has 26 Democrats and 73 Republicans. All 99 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 50 seats.
• Ninety-three incumbents filed for re-election. Three incumbents—James Van Huss (R-6), Matthew Hill (R-7), and Thomas R. Tillis (R-92)—were defeated in the primary, according to unofficial results.

• The District 15 race remains too close to call.

One seat on the Tennessee Court of Appeals was up for retention election. According to unofficial results, Western Section incumbent Carma Dennis McGee won her retention election. McGee will serve the remainder of an eight-year term, which is set to expire in 2024.

Ballotpedia also covered general local elections in the following areas:
• Shelby County
• Nashville
• Clarksville-Montgomery County School System
• Hamilton County School District
• Knox County School District
• Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
• Rutherford County Schools
• Shelby County Schools

• Williamson County Schools

Entering the 2020 election, Tennessee’s U.S. congressional delegation has two Republican senators, two Democratic representatives, and seven Republican representatives. The U.S. Senate has 45 Democrats, 53 Republicans, and two independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. Only 33 out of 100 Senate seats are up for regular election and two seats are up for special election. A majority in the chamber requires 51 seats. The U.S. House has 232 Democrats, 198 Republicans, one Libertarian, and four vacancies. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

Tennessee has a Republican state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

The primary is the 37th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next primary is on August 8 in Hawaii.

Additional reading:



About the author

Marielle Bricker

Marielle Bricker is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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