NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The heated race to become the Republican nominee for an open U.S. Senate seat topped Tennessee’s primary election Thursday, as well as contested challenges in a handful of U.S. House and legislative seats. Here is a summary of those offices on the ballot:
Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty, 60, endorsed by President Donald Trump, won a contested Republican primary for an open U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee. The Nashville businessman emerged from a tough challenge from trauma surgeon Manny Sethi to clinch his party’s nomination for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander. Trump threw his support behind Hagerty, who contended that Sethi wasn’t a good enough advocate for Trump during the 2016 election. Sethi countered by describing himself as a conservative “outsider” and criticizing Hagerty as a part of the “political establishment.”
Memphis environmentalist, Black activist and single mom Marquita Bradshaw won the Democratic primary to face Hagerty in November. Bradshaw defeated Nashville attorney and former Army helicopter pilot James Mackler, who had been endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and others. Bradshaw is expected to face a challenge, considering Republicans have held both of Tennessee’s Senate seats since 1994.
1st Congressional District
Sixteen GOP hopefuls are crowding the ballot after U.S. Rep. Phil Roe announced earlier this year that he would retire. Top candidates include longtime state Sen. Rusty Crowe; state Reps. Timothy Hill and David Hawk; and Diana Harshbarger, a pharmacist from Kingsport running for political office for the first time. Two previous mayors are also running: former Kingsport Mayor John Clark and former Johnson City Mayor Steve Darden.
Blair Walsingham is the only active candidate campaigning for the seat in the primary. Walsingham is a U.S. Air Force veteran who has been endorsed by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
4th Congressional District
Incumbent Scott DesJarlais won the Republican primary in Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District against two opponents. DesJarlais is seeking a sixth term in Congress. He’s a physician from Jasper, has survived cancer and a series of revelations that included affairs with patients. DesJarlais also urged a mistress to seek an abortion and once held a gun in his mouth for hours outside his ex-wife’s room. He has since said he opposes abortion rights. Two Democrats were running to oppose him in the fall.
5th Congressional District
No active Republicans are running for this seat.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, a white lawmaker with a reputation as a moderate Democrat, defeated Keeda Haynes, a Black public defender, in the primary for just one of two Democratic-held congressional seats in Tennessee. Haynes argued that the Middle Tennessee district should be represented by someone more progressive, while Cooper countered that he has voted overwhelmingly with Democrats during his long political tenure. Cooper has held his Nashville-area House seat since 2003. Before that, he served in the House representing the 4th Congressional District from 1983 to 1995. Joshua Rawlings also ran in the Democratic primary but raised the least amount of money of the three.
8th Congressional District
Two-term incumbent David Kustoff is running unopposed in the GOP primary.
Four candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination in the Republican-leaning district, though only Erika Stotts Pearson has filed a campaign finance report.
9th Congressional District
A vocal critic of President Donald Trump, seven-term incumbent Rep. Steve Cohen defeated former Shelby County Democratic Party chair Corey Strong in the primary in the 9th district, which includes majority-black Memphis. Cohen, who is white, has won his past six general elections by 74% of the vote or more. Strong, who is Black, is a U.S. Navy veteran who was vying for an upset.
Charlotte Bergmann ran unopposed on the Republican side. She has lost three previous general elections to Cohen in the 9th district.
n the GOP supermajority General Assembly, all 99 state House seats and about half of the 33 Senate seats are on the ballot.
Republican Sens. John Stevens, Paul Rose and Bill Powers, and Democrat Sen. Sara Kyle face primary challenges.
Moderate Republican Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville will find out which Democrat he will face in November: Kimi Abernathy, who has an educational counseling practice; or Oak Hill Mayor Heidi Campbell.
Two former state commissioners are facing off for the Republican nomination for retiring GOP Sen. Dolores Gresham’s seat: Jai Templeton, who led the Department of Agriculture, and Page Walley, who headed the Department of Children’s Services. One Democrat is unopposed.
In the state House, there are contested GOP primaries for the seats of Republican Reps. Timothy Hill, Bill Dunn, Martin Daniel, Jim Coley and Andy Holt, who are all leaving at the end of the term. Coley’s seat also features a Democratic contest. Additionally, there’s a contested Democratic primary for the seat of Rep. John DeBerry, who was kicked off the Democratic ballot but has indicated he wants to run as an independent.
The House also includes more than a dozen contested primaries for sitting Republican lawmakers and nine for Democratic incumbents. One is Republican Rep. David Byrd, who has faced allegations by three women of sexual misconduct that stem from three decades ago when he was a high school teacher and their basketball coach. He has two Republican challengers.
Byrd cruised to reelection in 2018 after the sexual misconduct allegations were made public earlier that year in his conservative-tilted district.
Byrd has not outright denied the allegations, though he has said he’s sorry if he hurt or emotionally upset any of his students. He was never charged.
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