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Tennessee features congressional, legislative elections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Here is a look at Election Day in Tennessee:

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FALLOUT OVER TRUMP: Gov. Bill Haslam has faced criticism from some fellow Republicans over his public rejection of presidential nominee Donald Trump after the release of a video in which the candidate boasted about groping women. Haslam is the titular head of the state GOP, which is officially dedicated to supporting Republican candidates in elections. Some members of the party’s executive party are focusing their anger at Chairman Ryan Haynes, a close ally of the governor.

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NO STATEWIDE RACES: Tennessee’s two U.S. senators and the governor are the only officials elected by a statewide vote, and none are on the ballot this year. But as soon as the dust settles from this week’s elections, several potential candidates are expected to quickly start laying the groundwork for their bids to succeed term-limited Haslam in 2018.

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CONGRESS: Six Republican and two Democratic incumbents are expected to face little trouble winning re-election to the U.S. House. And in the northwestern Tennessee seat vacated by Rep. Steve Fincher, fellow Republican David Kustoff, a former U.S. attorney in Memphis, faces little known Democrat Rickey Hobson. 

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LEGISLATURE: While all 99 seats in the state House and half of the 33 seats in the Senate are up for re-election, only 62 races in the lower chamber and six in the upper chamber are being contested. Republicans came into the election year with a 28-5 advantage in the Senate and 73-26 in the House. Two of those seats were vacated in September with the expulsion of Republican Rep. Jeremy Durham of Franklin and the resignation of Democratic Rep. Joe Armstrong of Knoxville. The Republican supermajorities are not expected to be in play on Tuesday.

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HOUSE SPEAKER: Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville has been criticized by Democrats for not doing more to combat sexual harassment at the Legislature and from the right wing of her own party for doing too much in facilitating the expulsion of Durham following an attorney general’s report detailing improper sexual contact with at least 22 women. Harwell faces a spirited challenge from Democrat Chris Moth, who is hoping that distaste for Trump in the affluent district could boost his underdog chances against the longtime incumbent. A closer-than-expected result could also boost the confidence of Republican Rep. Jimmy Matlock of Lenoir City, who has announced he will challenge Harwell for the speakership.

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OTHER STATE HOUSE RACES: Democrats are confident of former Rep. Gloria Johnson’s chances in her rematch against Republican Rep. Eddie Smith in Knoxville, while Republicans expect to pick up a seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. David Shepard of Dickson. Rural Democrats, including Reps. Kevin Dunlap of Sparta and John Mark Windle of Livingston, are on the defense in areas where Trump is popular, while Democrats hope they might have a chance against Republican Rep. Steve McManus in the Memphis community of Cordova.

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STATE SENATE: Republican Sen. Steve Dickerson faces Democrat Erin Coleman in the Nashville district where Hillary Clinton is popular. Republican Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga has far outspent his challenger Khristy Wilkinson, but an independent group has dropped $ 46,000 in TV ads praising the Democrat.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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