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|
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