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Tue. Nov 04, 2014
Republicans 52
Democrats 45
Independents 3
GOP +7, IND +1
Republicans 245
Democrats 190
GOP +11
Republicans 27
Democrats 22
Independents 1
DEM +1, IND +1
2014 Elections on Demand
Election Day
November 8, 2016
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2014 Tennessee Governor Race

When Republican Lamar Alexander defeated Democrat Jake Butcher in 1978 race, he began a pattern in Tennessee gubernatorial elections that remains unbroken to this day.  Every governor elected since then has won re-election to a second term.  And each has succeeded someone from the opposite party.
Tennessee Governor Election Winners since 1978
Governor Party Years Elected Served
Lamar Alexander Republican 1978, 1982 2 terms
Ned McWherter Democrat 1986, 1990 2 terms
Don Sundquist Republican 1994, 1998 2 terms
Phil Bredesen Democrat 2002, 2006 2 terms
Bill Haslam Republican 2010, 2014? 2 terms?
Republican Bill Haslam, the current top executive and a Republican, continued the pattern by winning the office in 2010, succeeding term-limited Democrat Phil Bredesen.  But will he be able to keep it going in 2014?  History says yes - and so do some other factors in the 2014 Tennessee Governor race.

First, and most importantly, is Tennessee ever-reddening ideological makeup.  In a state routinely represented by Democratic senators throughout much of the last century, Vice-president Al Gore's 1990 election victory here marks the last time the blue team has sent someone to the Senate from Tennessee.  And the GOP's dominance in the Volunteer State culminated four years ago when they captured complete control of state government for the first time since 1869.

Second, Democrats struggled to find a first-tier candidate to mount a challenge.  Several state legislators declined a run, including House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, former State Senator Roy Herron - who chairs the state Democratic Party - and State Senator Jim Kyle, an unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate four years ago.

Finally, while Haslam's approval rating has seen a marked decrease over the last year, down from 68% last Spring, it still sits close to 50%.  In some situations, that number might not instill confidence in an incumbent's chances for re-election.  However, in a Republican state like Tennessee, it signifies he's most likely done well enough to get a second term - and keep that pattern going for another four years.

Preliminary projection:  Solid GOP Hold

You can track this race throughout the 2014 election season here at Election Projection by visiting the Tennessee Governor Election page for polls, projections and updates.  Also, check out the 2014 Governor Elections page for a summary of all gubernatorial races on tap in 2014 complete with EP's colorful red and blue Governor map.

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:04pm 04/08/14 :: link
Election Projection
Bill Haslam-inc  +26.5
Solid GOP Hold
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