United States Senate election in Tennessee, 2008

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United States Senate election in Tennessee, 2008
2002 ←
November 4, 2008 → 2014

  Lamar Alexander official portrait.jpg
Nominee Lamar Alexander Bob Tuke
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,571,637 762,779
Percentage 65.14% 32.64%


County results

U.S. Senator before election

Lamar Alexander

Elected U.S. Senator

Lamar Alexander

The 2008 United States Senate election in Tennessee was held on November 4, 2008. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander won re-election to a second term.

Democratic primary[edit]



Mike Padgett finished third after Gary Davis, who did not campaign and used no money. Many were surprised at the results. They claimed that perhaps there was name confusion, with two incumbent congressmen David Davis and Lincoln Davis.[1]


Democratic Party primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bob Tuke 59,050 32.21
Democratic Gary G. Davis 39,119 21.34
Democratic Mike Padgett 33,471 18.26
Democratic Mark E. Clayton 32,309 17.62
Democratic Kenneth Eaton 14,702 8.02
Democratic Leonard D. Ladner 4,697 2.56
Total votes 183,348 100.00

Republican primary[edit]



Republican Party primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lamar Alexander (inc.) 244,222 100.00
Total votes 244,222 100.00

General election[edit]




In Tennessee, a candidate seeking a House or Senate seat at the state or national level must gather 25 signatures from registered voters to be put on the ballot for any elected office.[4][5][6][7] Presidential candidates seeking to represent an officially recognized party must either be named as candidates by the Tennessee Secretary of State or gather 2,500 signatures from registered voters, and an independent candidate for President must gather 275 signatures and put forward a full slate of eleven candidates who have agreed to serve as electors.[8] In order to be recognized as a party and have its candidates listed on the ballot under that party's name, a political party must gather signatures equal to or in excess of 2.5% of the total number of votes cast in the last election (about 45,000 signatures based on the election held in 2006).[9] The last third party to be officially recognized was the American Party in 1968; none of its candidates received five percent of the statewide vote in 1970 and it was then subject to desertification as an official party.[citation needed]. Due to these hurdles third party candidates almost always appear on the ballot as independents.

  • Edward Buck (I)
  • Christopher Fenner (I)
  • David "None of the Above" Gatchell (I)
  • Bo Heyward (I)
  • Ed Lawhorn (I)
  • Daniel T. Lewis (L)[10]
  • Chris Lugo (I), Green party peace activist


On April 3, 2007, Alexander confirmed that he would seek re-election to the Senate in 2008. Alexander has remained a popular figure in Tennessee since his first term as governor and faced no opposition in the Republican primary[11] Tuke is a former Marine who served in the Vietnam War. Tuke served as Barack Obama's Presidential campaign chair in Tennessee. Tuke declared himself to be a candidate March 3, 2008, and he secured the help of several high profile Democratic campaigners including Joe Trippi. There were many minor candidates in the race. Chris Lugo announced on January 17 that he was seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party as a 'Progressive Democrat.'[citation needed] In March 2008, Lugo announced he was dropping his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, and would run either for the Green Party nomination or as an independent.[12]


Source Date Alexander (R) Tuke (D)
Rasmussen Reports October 16, 2008 62% 34%
Rasmussen Reports September 29, 2008 56% 32%
MTSU Poll September 29, 2008 50% 26%
Rasmussen Report April 8, 2008 59% 30%
Ayres, McHenry & Associates (R) March 11, 2008 59% 28%


United States Senate election in Tennessee, 2008[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lamar Alexander (inc.) 1,579,477 65.14% +10.87%
Democratic Bob Tuke 767,236 31.64% -12.69%
Independent Edward L. Buck 31,631 1.30%
Independent Christopher G. Fenner 11,073 0.46%
Independent Daniel Towers Lewis 9,367 0.39%
Independent Chris Lugo 9,170 0.38%
Independent Ed Lawhorn 8,986 0.37%
Independent David Gatchell 7,645 0.32%
Majority 812,241 33.50% +23.56%
Turnout 2,424,585
Republican hold Swing


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bob Corker (R)
Tennessee U.S. Senate election
Succeeded by