Tennessee has its fewest contested state legislative primaries in five election cycles

Tennessee has 36 contested state legislative primaries this year, 16% of the total number of possible primaries, and a 5% decrease from 2020.

This is the fewest contested state legislative primaries in Tennessee over the past five election cycles.

A primary is contested when more candidates file to run than there are nominations available, meaning at least one candidate must lose.

Of the 36 contested primaries, 11 are for Democrats and 25 are for Republicans. For Democrats, this is down from 14 in 2020, a 21% decrease. For Republicans, the number increased 4% from 24 in 2020.

Fifteen contested primaries feature an incumbent, representing 15% of all incumbents who filed for re-election. This is the lowest rate of incumbents in contested primaries over the past five election cycles in the state.

Five of the incumbents in contested primaries are Democrats, and 10 are Republicans.

Overall, 214 major party candidates—79 Democrats and 135 Republicans—filed to run. All 99 House districts and 17 of the state’s 33 Senate districts are holding elections.

Seventeen of those districts are open, meaning no incumbents filed to run. This guarantees at least 15% of the districts holding elections will be represented by newcomers next year.

Tennessee has had a Republican trifecta since 2010 when the party won control of the governorship. Republicans currently hold a 72-24 majority in the House, which has one vacant district, and a 27-6 majority in the Senate.

Tennessee’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for Aug. 9, the 11th statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

Additional reading:

Tennessee House of Representatives elections, 2022

Tennessee State Senate elections, 2022