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Off to the races and back to 1865

By Ryan King, TFC Marketing and Events Coordinator 6/28/2018


Ryan King, TFC Marketing and Events Coordinator
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In just about a month and again in November, we will be exercising our American-given right to vote. There is nothing to indicate this fall will be anything short of one for the Tennessee history books. In years to come, this election will be recognized as having shaped the course of our state for years, perhaps even decades. In an election cycle that has already drawn the president to our capital city of Nashville and has been responsible for the spending of millions of campaign dollars, it is extremely important we put it in its correct historical context. Before that, look at it through simply a mathematical context. Over 25 percent of the Tennessee House of Representatives are not seeking reelection. That is the biggest shift in the body since reconstruction. Pair that with the fact that only eight years ago Republicans gained majorities for the first time since Tennessee’s Andrew Johnson was president and things begin to sound especially historically significant. Here is a glimpse at some of what we will be looking at during this cycle.


There are two major Democratic candidates and four major Republican candidates remaining in their respective primaries at press time. On the Democratic side, party blue bloods are certainly in the running. Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and former House Majority Leader Craig Fitzhugh round out the field. The Republican ticket is a little more complicated with its share of big spenders. Diane Black, Randy Boyd, Beth Harwell, and Bill Lee all have unique credentials. No science here, but it seems as though rural Tennessee has come much more into focus for candidates this time around.

U.S. Senate

The eyes of the country will likely be fixed on this one come November. It is not expected there will be much of a contest in either primary next month. Rather, the excitement will be saved for November. Hoping to fill the seat vacated by Senator Bob Corker, former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen and sitting Republican U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn continue to duke it out in what could be a very symbolic race on the national stage. This, along with the gubernatorial match, are the two statewide races we will see in 2018.

U.S. House

Three of our nine United States Representatives will not be seeking reelection to their current post. This is the case for two of those because they have chosen to seek another office. All three are Republicans who represent districts which have had a tendency to vote red in the recent past. There are plenty of agriculture-friendly candidates who have filed petitions to run in these primaries, many of whom are looking for opportunities to get to know you and learn about your


Tennessee Legislature

As already mentioned, an unprecedented 23 Tennessee House seats will be up for grabs as result of an incumbent not seeking reelection. Adding to the frenzy is that a number of incumbents who have decided to run for reelection are being challenged either in their primary or general election. Making things even more interesting is the vacuum created by Speaker Beth Harwell’s run for governor which requires her to vacate her leadership position and house seat. Expect long-tenured leaders in the state house to be vying for the speaker’s gavel when the General Assembly reconvenes in January. Also, pay close attention to how support from potential speaker nominees may influence other races across the state. In the state senate, we will watch a total of 18 races play out in the coming months. Four of those districts are going to elect a new individual to the seat as result of the incumbent choosing not to seek reelection.

It is easy to see why it is critically important that rural Tennesseans make their decision known over the next four months. As Tennesseans map out our political future, make sure agriculture has its say. Be sure to get to know your candidates. Whether in the local elections in August or any of the state and federal contests discussed, rural Tennessee matters, and candidates understand that. Don’t forget to mention the issues that matter most to you. Is one of those issues overregulation? Pressures from environmental issues? Now is one of the most important times to share concerns with your potential elected officials. Support those who support you. It’s hard to overstate how important it is to show support for lawmakers who have earned your respect by their actions to improve Tennessee agriculture. They will not forget your assistance.

One way to raise political awareness for Tennessee agriculture this election season is to embrace the iFarm iVote campaign. Initiated in Tennessee during the 2014 election year, the program has expanded to seven states. Learn more by taking a look at the graphic on this page or

visiting Another way to educate yourself on all things election central is by visiting the Tennessee Secretary of State’s webpage at Secretary Tre Hargett and Administrator of Elections Mark Goins have done an exemplary job of communicating with citizens and registering potential voters. You can also check out their mobile app where you can view voting precincts, hours, sample ballots, and a wealth of other valuable information.

See you at the polls…

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