2014 United States Senate election in Tennessee
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Alexander: 40–50% 50–60% 60–70% 70–80%
|Elections in Tennessee|
The 2014 United States Senate election in Tennessee took place on November 4, 2014, to elect a member of the United States Senate from the State of Tennessee. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander defeated Democrat Gordon Ball and was reelected to a third term in office with 61.9% of the vote against 31.8%.
- 1 Background
- 2 Republican primary
- 3 Democratic primary
- 4 General election
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Alexander was reelected with 65.1% of the vote in the 2008 election. Alexander stepped down from his leadership role as Republican Conference Chairman of the United States Senate in 2011, but announced that he would seek reelection to a third term. Nashville businessman, counseling executive and former 2012 U.S. Senate candidate Larry Crim filed his announcement of candidacy with the Secretary of the United States Senate in January 2013.
Although Alexander was initially thought to be vulnerable to a primary challenge from the right, he worked to avoid this and ultimately did not face a high-profile challenger. He declared his intention to run early, quickly won the endorsement of Governor Bill Haslam, every living former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman and the state's entire Republican congressional delegation (except scandal-hit Scott DesJarlais). He also raised a large amount of money and worked to avoid the mistakes of ousted Senators Bob Bennett and Richard Lugar by trying to stay in touch with his constituents, especially in East Tennessee. Moreover, out-of-state conservative organizations such as the Senate Conservatives Fund made little effort to defeat Alexander.
During his re-election campaign in 2008, Alexander faced no opponents in the Republican primary. As early as July 2013, it was obvious that the same would not be true in 2014. The weekend of July 20, 2013, a rally was held in Smyrna in opposition to Alexander. Activists attending the event included Williamson County GOP leader Kevin Kookogey. By mid-August, Triton Polling released a poll showing Alexander trailing "a generic conservative" by 4.6 points. But no "generic conservative" seemed to want to step up. In search of a candidate, a "Beat Lamar" PAC held a forum and invited Kookogey, Knox County mayor Tim Burchett, and Alexander's only formal opponent at the time, Brenda Lenard of Knoxville.
On August 20, 2013, State Representative Joe Carr announced his candidacy. He had previously been opposing Scott Desjarlais in the race for Tennessee's 4th congressional district, but swapped races under public pressure. Kookogey soon dropped out of the race. Four candidates were then vetted in September by the "Coalition for a Constitutional Senate": Carr, truck driver Jerry Davis, business owner John McDaniel, and electrician Danny Page. The coalition ultimately endorsed Carr with 59% of the vote, but some felt that Carr's nomination was coerced by the leaders of the Beat Lamar PAC. Independent candidate Danny Page was especially vocal on that issue.
Entering the race late was George Flinn, a radiologist from Memphis who had run for Congress against Steve Cohen in 2012. There was some speculation that Flinn was a spoiler deployed by Alexander to steal Tea Party votes from Carr.
In the primary's final stretch Carr was endorsed by Sarah Palin, but he did not receive much other support from outside of Tennessee, failing to receive endorsements from the Senate Conservatives Fund or the Club for Growth.
Ultimately, Alexander won the primary, though he recorded the lowest winning percentage (49.7%) and lowest margin of victory (9.2 points) ever in a primary for a Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee. Carr won a larger percentage of the vote (40.5%) than the previous 11 challengers to sitting Republican U.S. Senators in Tennessee history combined (40.3%).
- Christian Agnew
- Lamar Alexander, incumbent U.S. Senator
- Joe Carr, state representative
- George Flinn, radiologist, radio station owner, former Shelby County Commissioner and nominee for Tennessee's 9th congressional district in 2012
- John King, businessman
- Brenda Lenard, doctoral student at the University of Tennessee and candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2012
- Erin Kent Magee
- Diane Black, U.S. Representative
- Marsha Blackburn, U.S. Representative
- Tim Burchett, Mayor of Knox County
- Stacey Campfield, state senator
- Jimmy Duncan, U.S. Representative
- Stephen Fincher, U.S. Representative
- Chuck Fleischmann, U.S. Representative
- Mark Green, state senator
- Glenn Jacobs (Kane), professional wrestler
- Kevin Kookogey, former Chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party
- Monty Lankford, businessman, board member of the Tennessee Family Action Council and nominee for Tennessee's 4th congressional district in 2008
- Ron Ramsey, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Tennessee Senate
- Phil Roe, U.S. Representative
|North Star Opinion Research*||August 19–22, 2013||600||± 4%||64%||22%||—||—||—||—||14%|
|Public Policy Polling^||December 2–3, 2013||391||± 5%||46%||40%||—||—||—||—||14%|
|MTSU||January 23–26, 2014||?||± ?||40%||7%||—||—||—||4%||49%|
|North Star Opinion Research*||February 3–6, 2014||600||± 4%||62%||17%||—||2%||1%||—||18%|
|North Star Opinion Research*||May 12–14, 2014||600||± 4%||56%||14%||—||1%||1%||—||22%|
|Tea Party Nation/Triton||May 22, 2014||1,100||± ?||44%||20%||—||—||—||9%||27%|
|Tea Party Nation/Triton||July 10–11, 2014||1,099||± 2.9%||43%||36%||—||—||—||—||21%|
|North Star Opinion Research*||July 20–22, 2014||600||± 4%||53%||21%||—||—||—||9%||15%|
|North Star Opinion Research*||July 27–29, 2014||600||± 4%||53%||24%||—||1%||1%||5%||16%|
|Red Racing Horses & PMI inc.||July 28–30, 2014||400||± 5%||41%||29%||5%||—||—||5%||20%|
|Triton Polling||August 15–16, 2013||680||± 3.7%||44.9%||49.5%||5.6%|
- * Internal poll for Lamar Alexander campaign
- ^ Internal Poll for Terry Adams campaign
|Republican||Lamar Alexander (incumbent)||331,705||49.65%|
|Republican||George Shea Flinn||34,668||5.19%|
|Republican||Brenda S. Lenard||7,908||1.18%|
|Republican||John D. King||7,748||1.16%|
|Republican||Erin Kent Magee||3,366||0.52%|
- Terry Adams, attorney
- Gordon Ball, attorney
- Larry Crim, candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2012
- Gary Gene Davis, perennial candidate
- Phil Bredesen, former Governor of Tennessee
- Joe Brown, arbiter of the CBS television series Judge Joe Brown and former Shelby County Criminal Court judge
- Craig Fitzhugh, Minority Leader of the Tennessee House of Representatives
- Roy Herron, Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, former state senator and nominee for Tennessee's 8th congressional district in 2010
|Democratic||Gary Gene Davis||42,549||17.66%|
- Lamar Alexander (Republican), incumbent U.S. Senator
- Gordon Ball (Democratic), attorney
- Tom Emerson, Jr. (Independent)
- Edmund Gauthier (Independent)
- Joshua James (Independent)
- Danny Page (Independent), electrician
- Bartholomew Phillips (Independent)
- Martin Pleasant (Green)
- C. Salekin (Independent)
- Eric Schecter (Independent)
- Rick Tyler (Independent)
- Joe Wilmoth (Constitution), candidate for the State Senate in 2010
|Lamar Alexander (R)|
Tennessee State Government
Members of US Congress
Former Tennessee Officials
|Gordon Ball (D)|
|Danny Page (I)|
The first was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee sponsored by Democrats United For Tennessee Inc. and Central Labor Council Members which included 15 Candidates for state and federal office attended by Larry Crim for U.S. Senate  (The Chattanoogan). Crim criticized Senators Bob Corker of Chattanooga and Lamar Alexander of Nashville for overreaching into the free enterprise of VW and their works councils which Mr. Crim stated also implicated free association rights of the company, workers and labor and the free vote.(http://www.chattanoogan.com/2014/3/3/270950/Tennessee-Democratic-Candidates-And.aspx) (The Chattanoogan). U.S. Senate candidate Larry Crim and UAW International Rep. Tom Savage spoke on the importance of free elections at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga at the candidate debate. The candidate debate and forum was held at the Kingdom Center of Olivet Baptist Church. Mr. Crim said, "Protecting voter rights for a free and fair election are as fundamental to expressing the will of workers in the workplace as it is to Americans at the polling place". "For a U.S. Senator to offer incentives or threaten withdrawing public resources based on whether workers vote to recognize the union interferes with their free choice" continued the Democratic candidate for United States Senate. "It seems clear that there was an overreach here and I stand with labor on that" said Crim.
The second debate was held in Bolivar, Tennessee and attended by Democrats Gordon Ball and Terry Adams, Republican George Flinn, and independents Ed Gauthier and Danny Page. The attendees criticized Alexander and Carr for not attending.
The fourth debate was on October 23 at a Sheraton Hotel across from the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville. The nominees for the Democratic Party (Gordon Ball), Libertarian Party (Joshua James), Green Party (Martin Pleasant), and Constitution Party (Joe Wilmoth) were all in attendance as well as independents Tom Emerson, Ed Gauthier, and Danny Page. The moderator was blogger Tom Humphrey of the blog "Humphrey on the Hill". The candidates discussed a number of issues, including abortion, The Islamic State, Common Core education standards, and global warming, but the issue that stuck most with the media was marijuana. There was a general consensus among the seven candidates in attendance that the federal government should not be involved in the issue, and that authority on marijuana should be reserved to the states and people. Incumbent Senator Lamar Alexander declined to participate in the debate, and was mocked by Democrat Gordon Ball as being "chicken". Alexander was speaking in front of various groups in Nashville and Murfreesboro that day.
In September, an education summit was held in Nashville by Governor Bill Haslam. A protest of the summit (which was largely a protest of the "Common Core" standards) was attended by Democrat Gordon Ball and independent Danny Page.
In late September, eleven members of the Tennessee General Assembly who had backed Joe Carr in the primaries announced they would back Alexander in the general election, saying, "We feel that it is vitally important to the country that we stand together and support replacing the liberal agenda that is now in control of the United States Senate". Carr himself abstained from the endorsement.
|The Cook Political Report||Solid R||November 3, 2014|
|Sabato's Crystal Ball||Safe R||November 3, 2014|
|Rothenberg Political Report||Safe R||November 3, 2014|
|Real Clear Politics||Safe R||November 3, 2014|
|Rasmussen Reports||April 29–30, 2014||750||± 4%||51%||25%||10%||15%|
|CBS News/New York Times||July 5–24, 2014||1,465||± 5.4%||48%||33%||14%||5%|
|Rasmussen Reports||August 11–12, 2014||750||± 4%||47%||32%||10%||12%|
|CBS News/NYT/YouGov||August 18 – September 2, 2014||1,056||± 4%||47%||32%||10%||11%|
|CBS News/NYT/YouGov||September 20 – October 1, 2014||1,007||± 4%||53%||32%||2%||12%|
|CBS News/NYT/YouGov||October 16–23, 2014||974||± 5%||55%||33%||2%||10%|
|Republican||Lamar Alexander (incumbent)||850,087||61.87%||-3.27%|
|Independent||Tom Emerson, Jr.||11,157||0.81%||N/A|
|Independent||Bartholomew J. Phillips||2,386||0.17%||N/A|
|Independent||Edmund L. Gauthier||2,314||0.17%||N/A|
- 2014 United States Senate elections
- 2014 United States elections
- 2014 United States House of Representatives elections in Tennessee
- 2014 Tennessee gubernatorial election
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- "Bolivar bristles at politicians' debate snub".
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- Official campaign websites