2016 election predictions: Tennessee

Presidential election:

In 2012, Mitt Romney received 59.48% of the vote compared to Barack Obama’s 39.08% of the vote.  I think that might be overstating the closeness of the election.  Tennessee has undergone quite a shift from the 1990s and I think it’s fairly similar to 2012.  I expect Trump to get close to 60% of the vote in the Presidential election.

Federal elections:

U.S. House of Representatives:

District 1:

Phil Roe (R)
Alan Bohms (D)

Roe will be easily re-elected to Congress in 2016.  He did not have a major party challenger in 2014 defeating Independent and Green party candidates handily.  In 2012, he received 76% of the vote.  By Govtrack’s measures, Roe is one of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives.  The most similar member of the House to Roe by this measure is Trent Franks from Arizona.  He has introduced 16 bills during this Congress which included a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, H.R. 2653.

Bohms is a Democrat who believes Roe is out of touch with a number of people in his district.  He is running on pro 2nd Amendment issues and more of a liberal on social issues.

District 2:

John Duncan Jr. (R)
Stuart Starr (D)

Duncan will be easily re-elected to congress in November.  He received 74.4% of the vote in 2012.  According to Govtrack’s analysis, Duncan is fairly conservative, although not as much as Roe.  the most similar memeber of the House of Representatives is David Schweikert of Arizona.  He has introduced 10 bills during this Congress.  He introduced H.R. 3074 which would calculate a special consumer price index for senior citizens to provide for more accurate cost of living allowances for those receiving social security.

Starr is running on increasing the minimum wage, legalizing marijuana, a bullet excise tax, comprehensive immigration reform, and American superiority in foreign policy.

District 3:

Charles Fleischmann (R)
Melody Shekari (D)

Fleischmann should receive around 60% of the vote in the general election.  Fleischmann was primaried in 2014 and barely won the primary (by about 1,500 votes).  He survived another challenge this year but it was not nearly as close.  Fleischmann received 62.4% of the vote in 2014.  Fleischmann is slightly to the left of Duncan according to Govtrack’s analysis with Brian Babin of Texas being the most similar member of Congress.  He introduced 7 bills during this Congress.  He introduced H.R. 3247 which would exempt certain heavy tow and recovery vehicles on federal highways from federal vehicle weight limitations.

Shekari is trying to run on a platform similar to the Democratic party’s platform including combating climate change and college affordability.  She did say that Fleischmann should show some real leadership.

District 4:

Scott Desjarlais (R)
Steven Reynolds (D)

Desjarlais is the poster child of the idea of the never resign principle.  The idea is that if you are a politician facing a scandal, ignore the initial calls of the resignation and people will eventually forget about your scandal.  The other idea that Desjarlais helps show is that scandals only stick if they reinforce your idea of the politician.  The truth is Desjarlais has survived two tough primary challenges in both 2014 and 2016.  He received 58.3% of the vote in 2014 in the general election after surviving his primary challenge that year by less than 50 votes.  His district is fairly safely Republican.  He should receive upwards of 55% of the vote in 2016.

District 5:

Stacy Ries Snyder (R)
Jim Cooper (D)

Cooper is one of the most moderate members of Congress placing direclty in the middle of Govtrack’s analysis.  The most similar member of Congress is Dan Lipinski.  Cooper has introduced 7 bills during this Congress.  His bills have mainly focused on reforming Congress including H.R. 187 No Budget, No Pay Act.  Cooper has received over 60% of the vote in the last two elections and see no reason why he won’t continue that.

District 6:

Diane Black (R)
David Kent (D)

Black has received over 70% of the vote in each of the last two elections.  She should receive close to that again in November.  By Govtrack analysis, she is one of the more conservative members of the House of Representatives.  The most similar member of Congress to her is Charles Boustany.  She has introduced 37 bills during this Congress.  A quick look at her bills indicates that a lot of her bills are grandstanding including H.R. 4926 to have the Library of Congress include illegal and legal aliens in their headings.

District 7:

Marsha Blackburn (R)
Tharon Chandler (D)

Blackburn is one of the most conservative members of Congress by Govtrack analysis with Phil Roe being one of her most similar members of Congress. She can afford to be one of the more  conservative members as she has received over 70% of the vote in each of the last two elections.  I see no reason why she wouldn’t receive less than 65% of the vote in November.

District 8:

David Kustoff (R)
Rickey Hobson (D)

The only open seat in Tennessee’s Congressional delegation.  Rep. Stephen Fincher did not run for re-election.  He had received over 70% of the vote in 2014.  It’s a fairly safe Republican seat.  David Kustoff won a contested primary election with 27.4% of the vote.  His general election strategy will likely include conservative policies.  He believes in marriage between a man and woman.  He also is running on being tough on illegal immigration, fighting terror, and crime.

Hobson won the 2016 primary after losing in 2014.  But I suspect he will struggle to get above 30% of the vote in 2016.  Romney received 66.1% of the vote in 2012 which does not bode well for Hillary Clinton and Democratic down ballot races.

District 9:

Wayne Alberson (R)
Steve Cohen (D)

This is a safely Democratic Congressional district.  Cohen has received 75% of the vote in each of the last two elections.  Cohen is fairly liberal according to Govtrack analysis.  The most similar member of Congress to Cohen is Frederica Wilson.  Cohen has introduced 27 bills during this Congress.  Some of his bills focus on credit scores including H.R. 3524 which would prevent employers from running credit checks on prospective employees.

State Senate

Tennessee Senate District 10:

Todd Gardenhire (R)
Khristy Wilkinson (D)

Gardenhire won the general election in 2012 with 54.3% of the vote and won by about 6,000 votes.  He underperformed Mitt Romney in the State Senate precincts by a couple of points.  The question is do we think Clinton is going to underperform Obama’s performance in 2016?  I would say, I think she performs about as well as Obama did in 2012 (spoiler).  This means that I think Gardenhire gets re-elected.

Tennessee Senate District 20:

Steven Dickerson (R)
Erin Coleman (D)

If I did the math right from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website, Dickerson actually outperformed Romney in his state Senate precincts.  Dickerson got 54% of the vote in 2012 and I have Romney down at 52% .  The political science research suggests that people vote based on party preference of the Presidential election instead of based actual preference of state legislators.

I have not done a lot of research on Dickerson to try to determine of how good of a legislator he is or anything.  But I think his Senate district will vote Republican in November even if it’s a slight lean.  I think that Dickerson gets re-elected in November but I think it’s fairly close.

Tennessee Senate District 22:

Mark Green (R)
David Cutting (D)

Green defeated incumbent Tim Barnes in the 2012 election.  Barnes had been elected to the State Senate as part of the Barack Obama wave(ish) election in 2008.  This supports the idea that people vote for legislators based off of presidential party vote.  The other idea that we’re leaning towards is the idea of universal lean. If this ends up being an election where Hillary wins the presidential election by closer to 2008 margins, I think this state senate seat is in play.  But if it’s closer to 2012, Green keeps his seat.

Tennessee House of Representatives:

Tennessee House of Representatives District 13:

Eddie Smith (R)
Gloria Johnson (D)

In 2014, Eddie Smith defeated Gloria Johnson by less than 200 votes.  This, fun fact, was not even the closest election she had that year.  She won the Republican primary by 30 votes.  Johnson had been elected in 2012 after losing the 2011 special election.  She won the 2012 election by 270 votes.

This is going to be a close election in this district.  I think Johnson has a chance to retake her seat.  But this is probably one of the closest elections in the country come November.

Tennessee House of Representatives District 33:

John Ragan (R)
Michael McKarney (D)

Ragan was first elected during the 2010 wave election for the Republican Party.  He won re-election in 2012 in a rematch by 700 votes.  He ended up running unopposed in 2014 when he was re-elected.  This is similar to Senate District 22.  If it is a large margin for Hillary Clinton this November, McKarney has a chance to pull an upset.  But if it’s not a very good showing overall, Ragan holds his sedat.

Tennessee House of Representatives District 34:

Tim Rudd (R)
Laura Bohling (D)

This is a comfortably Republican House District based off the performance in 2012.  Rudd is running for an open seat as Rick Womick chose not to run for re-election in 2016.

Tennessee House of Representatives District 43:

Paul Sherrell (R)
Kevin Dunlap (D)

Dunlap won the election in 2014 by 54 votes over Republican Robert Dunham.  There were 409 votes going to independent Edward Leon Buck.  I’m not sure which candidate Buck was stealing votes from.  Dunlap better hope that these votes were being stolen from the Republican Dunham.  If not, this seat may flip.  This is one worth watching.

Tennessee House of Representatives District 53:

Davette Blalock (R)
Jason Powell (D)

Powell was originally elected in 2012 with 54% of the vote.  He won re-election in 2014 with 53% of the vote.  This bodes well for Powell to be able to win re-election in November over Republican challenger Blalock.  I think Powell gets closer to 55% of the vote in November.

Tennessee House of Representatives District 60:

Steve Glover (R)
Darren Jernigan (D)

Jernigan upset incumbernt Jim Gotto winning by less than 100 votes.  He was able to withstand a rematch in 2014 (a tougher year for Democrats) and won by over 1,000 votes.  Glover who is on the Nashville Metro Council may be a formidable challenge to Jernigan but it seems like Jernigan is safer than he was in 2014.  He should be able to win re-election in November.


Tennessee House of Representatives District 69:

Michael Curcio (R)
Dustin Evans (D)

Evans is running for an open seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives.  The seat is currently held by David Shepard.  Shepard won by 15 votes over Michael Curcio in 2014. Shepard won handily in 2012 by nearly three thousand votes.  I believe that 2014 was a referendum on the president and was more favorable to Republicans than a Presidential election year.  I think Evans is able to win the election.  But this is another potentially close election.

Tennessee House of Representatives District 70:

Barry Doss (R)
Calvin Moore (D)

Doss defeated Moore in 2012 by over a thousand votes.  Doss was unopposed in 2014 (which should not be surprising).  Right now, I don’t think the election is going to be more similar to 2008 than 2012 so I think Doss is fairly safe right now.  Even if, I think he doesn’t get such a large margin of victory this time (6 point margin).

Tennessee House of Representatives District 74:

Jay Reedy (R)
Andy Porch (D)

Reedy was able to get elected in 2014 by defeating Democratic incumbent John Tidwell by about 400 votes.  Tidwell had been elected in 1996 being re-elected every 2 years like clockwork.  Reedy was able to take advantage of an anti-democrat sentiment.  I’m not sure how strong of a candidate Porch is.  Again, I think Democrats will do better in November compared to 2014 (not a controversial opinion).  This can potentially be a close election.

Tennessee House of Representatives District 81:

Debra Moody (R)
Deborah Reed (D)

I don’t think this is a very close election.  Moody should be able to get over 55% of the vote in November.  I would be very surprised if she doesn’t reach that threshold.