Tennessee’s Republican Supermajority Gets Even Bigger
Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville is a teacher by trade and led some of the resistance to Gov. Bill Haslam's reforms and became a lead spokesperson for the Tennessee Education Association. Credit: Gloria Johnson via Facebook

Tennessee’s Republican Supermajority Gets Even Bigger

Ousted Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville is a teacher by trade. She led some of the resistance to Gov. Bill Haslam's reforms and became a lead spokesperson for the Tennessee Education Association. Credit: Gloria Johnson via Facebook
Ousted Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville is a teacher by trade. She led some of the resistance to Gov. Bill Haslam’s reforms and became a lead spokesperson for the Tennessee Education Association. Credit: Gloria Johnson via Facebook

Republicans picked up a few more seats in the state legislature. Knoxville teacher and Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson fell to challenger Eddie Smith, who got big help from the state’s Republican Party.

Democrat John Tidwell of New Johnsonville was defeated by his Republican opponent – Jay Reedy, a farmer and veteran. The district includes Houston, Humphreys and part of Montgomery County.

“I just couldn’t overcome Montgomery County. It’s a straight ‘R’ county and probably getting more so,” Tidwell told the Leaf Chronicle newspaper.

Tidwell spent 18 years in the legislature.

In the state Senate, two retiring Democrats will be replaced by Republicans. Ed Jackson cruised to victory in the city of Jackson after Democrat Lowe Finney retired to run for mayor. State Rep. Paul Bailey easily won the seat of retiring Sen. Charlotte Burks of Monterey, north of Cookeville. Republican

But Bailey’s House seat in Grundy, Warren and White counties did flip to Democrats. Kevin Dunlap won by just 55 votes according to unofficial results.

In Nashville, it was close, but two endangered first-term legislators fended off Republican challengers. Bo Mitchell – whose district stretches from Bellevue to Joelton – won over Troy Brewer with just 51 percent of the vote.

Teri Roy of Bellevue says she usually votes for Democrats and decided to stick with the incumbent.

“I did vote for Bo Mitchell, but it’s not just because I loved him,” she said. “It’s just because I didn’t know anything about the other guy. And I probably could have just left it blank…Every day I would have two or three things in my mailbox. That was very irritating to me.”

Rep. Darren Jernigan of Hermitage won by a slightly wider margin, holding off the Republican he upset two years ago, Jim Gotto, on a vote of 53 to 47 percent.

And in perhaps the closest legislative race of the night, Democrat David Shepard of Dickson appears to have kept his seat by a mere 16 votes over Republican Michael Curcio.

Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.
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