KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Two down and more to go. Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton won in Iowa. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders won in New Hampshire. As early voting starts in Tennessee, campaigns are opening offices in Knoxville.
The Trump campaign office is now open. Supporters were busy picking up yard signs and bumper stickers Wednesday. Tim Hutchison says he supports Trump because of his devotion to our military and veterans.
“Protection comes first. We can’t have good education,” said Hutchinson. “We can’t have a good life unless we’re safe in the first place. He will support the veterans.”
Bernie Sanders supporters met at the City County building Wednesday to vote together. Clayton Davis says he supports Sanders because of his views on the economy and healthcare.
“We need to go farther with the Affordable Care Act and Bernie is providing a platform that represents the best possible solution to the healthcare crisis in the country,” said Davis.
After Sanders’ and Trump’s win in New Hampshire, WATE 6 On Your Side wanted to know how it would impact early voting for Tennessee voters. WATE asked UT Political Science professor Dr. Richard Pacelle.
It may be best for Democrats to vote early in order to avoid lines on Super Tuesday. Pacelle believes Republicans may want to wait to vote until after the South Carolina primary on February 20th to see who is still in the race.
“Otherwise if you’ve voted for Bush and he’s out of the race you’ve wasted your vote,” said Pacelle. “Particularly if there is someone you don’t like and you want to make sure you are voting against that person.”
He tells WATE the more Republican candidates who remain in the race, probably help Trump. When it comes to the Democrats, he believes Sanders may struggle to beat Clinton in the future.
“Iowa and New Hampshire are states that play well to his strength. The next primaries do not, so he’s going to suffer a number of losses,” said Pacelle.
Pacelle says the fact so many candidates are still in the race Tennessee will be especially important in determining who gets the nomination.
“Because of Tennessee’s length and the differences between East Tennessee and West Tennessee, I think it’s a kind of a state that can be a bellwether for what’s going to happen later in the campaign,” said Pacelle.
He believes candidates will put a lot of effort in the state because it is important in the primary election. Candidates will make more stops and spend a lot on commercials.