UPDATED: House race deadlocked
UPDATE: After releasing updated figues showing Tracy in the lead by two votes, Associated Press has now revised its figures back to last night's, showing DesJarlais in the lead by 35 votes.
State Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville is refusing to concede a too-close-to-call Republican primary race against incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, in which only 35 votes separate Tracy from DesJarlais.
With all precincts reporting, the state election web site lists DesJarlais, a physician from South Pittsburg, with 34,787 votes, and Tracy, an insurance agent, with 34,752. School teacher John Anderson of Bell Buckle was third, with 4,590, followed by Steve Lane, David R. Tate, Michael S. Warden and Oluyomi "Fapas" Faparusi, Sr.
At one point Thursday evening, Tracy claimed victory during an election watch party in Murfreesboro. But when DesJarlais came out on top in the election-night tally, he claimed a win.
"Despite my opponent spending more than a million dollars on desperate, negative attacks, Tennesseans chose to judge me on my record in Washington," said DesJarlais in a statement released to the media. "I want to thank my constituents for voting to elect me to another term in Congress. I look forward to continuing my independent, conservative approach to stopping President Obama's radical agenda."
But with the margin so close, Tracy is unwilling to concede defeat yet.
"There are ballots left to be counted in the Fourth District Republican primary," said Tracy's statement. "We eagerly await the final outcome once the counting is completed and verified."
The final result of Thursday's election may drag out until the end the month as election officials consider provisional ballots and potential challenges, according to The Associated Press. Provisional ballots are paper ballots cast on election day when there is some question about the voter's eligibility. The paper ballot is kept until election officials can determine whether or not it should be counted.
Bedford County strongly supported Tracy, giving him 3,374 votes to 2,052 for DesJarlais. Anderson received 384 votes.
The Republican primary winner will go on to face Monteagle accountant Lenda Sherrell, the Democratic nominee, in the November general election. Sherrell was unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Bedford County Republican primary voters joined statewide voters in supporting Gov. Bill Haslam's re-election bid. Haslam got more than 85 percent of the vote in Bedford County and 88 percent statewide against three opponents.
Haslam will face Democratic nominee Charles Brown, who got 42 percent of the vote statewide against John McKamey (26 percent), Kennedy Johnson (24 percent) and Ron Noonan (8 percent). Locally, Democrats favored McKamey, giving him 653 votes (41 percent) to Brown's 529 votes (33 percent).
Local Republicans favored Tea Party candidate Joe Carr in his unsuccessful attempt to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander. Statewide, Alexander got 50 percent of the vote to Carr's 41 percent, earning the Republican nomination, but in Bedford County Carr got 2,819 votes, or 49 percent, to Alexander's 2,577 votes, or 45 percent.
Alexander will face Democrat Gordon Ball in November; Ball was the winner both statewide and in Bedford County.
State Rep. Pat Marsh was unopposed for re-election in the Republican primary and has no Democratic opposition. He received 5,241 courtesy votes in Bedford County's Republican primary.
Primary voters also selected party executive committee members. The committee seats are based on State Senate districts. In the Republican primary for the 14th District seat, Jim Sandman was defeated by Lance Frizzell of Murfreesboro for the committeeman seat while Lynne Davis defeated Joanne Skidmore, both in Bedford County and district-wide, for the committeewoman seat. In the Democratic primary, Mark Farrar of Shelbyville was unopposed for the committeeman seat while both local and district voters chose Brenda Ables over Joan G. Hill for the committeewoman seat.
State Supreme Court
Another statewide race, this one in the general election, was the question of whether to retain or reject the incumbent members of the State Supreme Court. Normally, judicial retention races get little attention, but this year, there was a firestorm of controversy. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey accused the incumbent justices of supporting liberal causes and urged their rejection. Defenders of the justices said they were following the law and that it was out-of-state political action committees who were trying to politicize the judiciary by rejecting them.
Bedford County voters joined statewide voters in calling for justices Cornelia A. "Connie" Clark, Sharon Gail Lee and Gary R. Wade to be retained. Locally, 3,589 voted to keep Clark, while 3,283 voted to reject her. Lee was supported by 3,592 local votes, with 3,221 votes to reject. Wade got 3,599 votes to retain and 3,198 votes to reject.
Some Bedford County voters may remember Clark, long before she was named to the Supreme Court, hearing a high-profile court case between the county and the operators and other customers of Quail Hollow Landfill. Clark was brought in to hear that case after local judges had recused themselves. The case involved a fee or tax which the county had imposed on landfill collections. That fee was eventually ruled by Clark to be an illegal tax.
--Associated Press reports contributed to this story.
- Unofficial Aug. 7, 2014 Election Results (08/07/14)
- It's Ray all the way; Swing, Thomas, Murray elected (08/08/14)
- Election night photos (08/08/14)