Bradley voters support Bill Lee, Marsha Blackburn

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 11/7/18

Bradley County voters went to the polls to bolster several candidates who won their respective election races Tuesday. The following is a combination of election night returns and Associated Press coverage of Tennessee’s major races.

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Bradley voters support Bill Lee, Marsha Blackburn

Marsha Blackburn
Marsha Blackburn
Posted

Bradley County voters went to the polls to bolster several candidates who won their respective election races Tuesday.

The following is a combination of election night returns and Associated Press coverage of Tennessee’s major races.

Governor:

In the governor’s race, 26,121 voters (77.35 percent) cast their ballots for Republican Bill Lee. Democrat Karl Dean was a distant second among Bradley County voters, garnering 7,287 (21.58 percent) of the vote.

Lee will become Tennessee's next governor, replacing outgoing GOP Gov. Bill Haslam, who served the maximum two straight four-year terms as Tennessee governor, as allowed by the state constitution.

Lee is chairman of a Franklin mechanical contracting, facilities and home services company. His positive campaigning and religious faith became defining characteristics of his election bid, although he's faced criticism for not providing specific details on key policy positions.

Lee has promised to work to fix the state's health care system, saying it may take 15 to 20 years. Unlike Dean, the Republican said he would ultimately lobby the Tennessee Legislature to vote against Medicaid expansion, should lawmakers ever get close to doing so.

Lee also says he supports school choice, a position his opponents say will result in school vouchers.

U.S. Senate:

Bradley County voters put 24,431 votes (71.87 percent) toward making Republican Marsha Blackburn the first female U.S. senator from Tennessee.

The congresswoman defeated Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen on Tuesday by closely aligning her bid with President Donald Trump, who made three visits to the state for her.

Bredesen earned 9,030 votes (26.56 percent) in Bradley County.

Blackburn has sought to undermine Bredesen's reputation as an independent thinker by tying him to national Democrats at every turn. Blackburn was first elected to the House in 2002 and has called herself a "hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative."

The race set a state record in spending among the campaigns and outside groups interested because of its implications for the GOP's 51-49 Senate majority.

Blackburn will replace retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker. She represents a rightward shift from Corker and other more centrist senators that Tennessee has historically elected.

U.S. House of Representatives:

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, both Republicans, took commanding leads over their Democratic and Independent challengers.

• 3rd District – Fleischmann received 7,177 votes (81.86 percent) in Bradley County over his closest challenger, Democrat Danielle Mitchell with 1,421 votes (16.21 percent), and Independent Rick Tyler a distant third with 159 votes (1.81 percent).

Fleischmann was a heavy favorite to win the District 3 race and return for a fifth term in Congress. The Ooltewah Republican's district winds from the Kentucky state line in northeast Tennessee to Chattanooga in the south. Fleischmann is one of six incumbents seeking a return to Washington to represent Tennessee in the U.S. House.

Fleischmann currently serves on the House Committee on Appropriations.

• 4th District – DesJarlais received 16,523 (71 percent) of Bradley County’s votes, compared to Democrat Mariah Phillips receiving 5,849 (25.13 percent) votes and Independent candidate Michael Shupe receiving 855 votes (3.67 percent).

DesJarlais has won a fifth term in Congress. The South Pittsburg physician was considered the favorite to win the race in District 4, which includes the Nashville suburb of Smyrna, the city of Murfreesboro and several southeast Tennessee counties. DesJarlais was one of six incumbents seeking a return to the U.S. House in Tennessee.

DesJarlais now opposes abortion rights, but he has faced a series of personal scandals that included affairs with patients, urging a mistress to seek an abortion and once holding a gun in his mouth for hours outside his ex-wife's room.

DesJarlais serves on the House Armed Services committee and has said he supports strong border control and reducing taxes for families and small business.


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