Here are the highlights of the November 8 election:
TENNESSEE GENERAL ELECTION
Republican Gov. Bill Lee easily won a second term in office, defeating facing 9 challengers – including Democrat Dr. Jason Martin.
Gov. Lee has 65% of the vote – with Dr. Martin getting 33%. Only two of the 8 independent candidates got above 1% — John Gentry and Constance Every.
U.S. HOUSE – DISTRICT 8
Republican Congressman David Kustoff easily fought off four challengers – including Democrat Lynnette Williams.
Kustoff got 74% of the vote — with Williams getting 24%. The two independent candidates – James Hart and Ronnie Henley – got 1% each.
U.S. HOUSE – DISTRICT 9
Longtime Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen easily defeated Republican Charlotte Bergmann and independent candidates Dennis Clark, Paul Cook and George Flinn.
Cohen received 71% of the vote – with Bergmann getting 25%. Flinn performed best out of the independents – getting 2%.
TENNESSEE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS:
AMENDMENT ONE – RIGHT TO WORK
Amendment 1 passed with more than 70% of the vote.
Amendment 1 changes the Tennessee Constitution to make it illegal for employers to require workers to join labor unions as a condition of their employment. “Right to Work” has been a part of Tennessee law since 1947 – but this adds it to the Constitution.
AMENDMENT TWO – GOVERNORS POWERS
Amendment 2 passed with more than 75% of the vote.
Amendment 2 puts a process in place and establishes a line of succession for an acting governor to take over the governor’s duties – if he or she becomes unable to fulfill the job.
AMENDMENT THREE – REMOVING SLAVERY FROM THE CONSTITUTION
Amendment 3 passed with more than 80% of the vote.
Amendment 3 removes language in the Tennessee Constitution that allows slavery or involuntary servitude as a punishment for crimes.
AMENDMENT FOUR – CLERGY IN THE LEGISLATURE
Amendment 4 passed with 63% of the vote.
Amendment 4 removes a section of the Tennessee Constitution that bars religious ministers from being elected to the Tennessee General Assembly.
TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
SENATE DISTRICT 31
Republican Brent Taylor won this open seat – beating Democrat Ruby Powell-Dennis – 66% to 34%.
The seat is currently held by Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey, who is not running for re-election.
SENATE DISTRICT 33
Democratic Sen. London Lamar won her first full term in the State Senate — defeating Republican Frederick Tappan and independent candidate Hastina Robinson.
Sen. Lamar got 81% of the vote. Tappan got 17% and Robinson received 2%.
STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 86
Longtime Democratic Rep. Barbara Cooper died on October 25th at the age of 93 – but her name remained on the ballot and she easily won — over independent candidate Michael Porter.
The late Rep. Cooper got 73% of the vote to Porter’s 27%
The Shelby County Commission will now be tasked with appointing a replacement to fill the seat until a special election can be held.
STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 95
Republican Rep. Kevin Vaughan easily won another term — beating Democrat Patricia Causey – getting 75% of the vote.
STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 97
Republican Rep. John Gillespie was able to overcome a challenge from Democrat Toniko Harris.
Gillespie got 57% of the vote to Harris’ 43%.
MISSISSIPPI GENERAL ELECTION
U.S. HOUSE – DISTRICT 1
Republican Congressman Trent Kelly easily defeated Democrat Dianne Black.
Kelly – who was first elected back in 2015 – got 72% of the vote.
U.S. HOUSE – DISTRICT 2
Longtime Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson overcame a strong challenge from Republican Brian Flowers.
Thompson – who has been in Congress since 1993 – got 59% of the vote.
ARKANSAS GENERAL ELECTION
Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be the Natural State’s first female governor – after defeating Democrat Chris Jones and Libertarian Ricky Harrington, Jr.
Sanders got 63% of the vote. Jones received 36% with Harrington getting 2%.
Current Gov. Asa Hutchinson is term-limited and could not run again.
Republican Leslie Rutledge is also making history – becoming the first woman to be elected Lieutenant Governor in Arkansas.
Rutledge – who’s wrapping up her second term as Attorney General — beat Democrat Kelly Krout and Libertarian Frank Gilbert – getting 64% of the vote.
Current Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin is term-limited and ran for Attorney General.
Longtime Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin easily won this race – beating Democrat Jesse Gibson – with 67% of the vote.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Republican incumbent John Thurston was re-elected to a second term — defeating Democrat Anna Beth Gorman – getting 67% of the vote.
Republican State Treasurer Dennis Milligan easily won this race – to take over the State Auditor’s Office.
Milligan got 67% of the vote — with Democrat Diamond Arnold-Johnson getting 29% and Libertarian Simeon Snow getting 4%.
Current State Auditor Andrea Lea is term-limited and could not run again.
Republican Mark Lowery easily defeated Democrat Pam Whitaker – receiving 66% of the vote.
Lowery is currently serving his fifth term in the Arkansas House, representing District 39. He was first elected in 2013.
Current State Treasurer Dennis Milligan is term-limited and ran for State Auditor.
STATE LAND COMMISSIONER
Republican incumbent Tommy Land was re-elected to a second term – defeating Democrat Darlene “Goldi” Gaines.
Land received 69% of the vote over Gaines’ 31%.
Two-term Senator John Boozman was overwhelmingly elected to a third term – beating Democrat Natalie James and Libertarian candidate Kenneth Cates.
Boozman – who was first elected in 2010 – got 66% of the vote. James received 31% and Cates had 3%.
U.S. HOUSE – DISTRICT 1
Longtime Republican Congressman Rick Crawford easily fought off a challenge by Democratic State Rep. Monte Hodges.
Crawford got 74% of the vote – with Hodges getting 26%.
This will be Crawford’s seventh term. He was first elected in 2010.
ARKANSAS BALLOT INITIATIVES
ISSUE 1 – LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS
Arkansas voters rejected Issue 1 – with 61% voting against it.
Issue 1 would have allowed the Arkansas Legislature to call itself into special session – if the leaders of both the House and Senate sign a joint proclamation – and that proclamation is approved by a two-thirds majority of both chambers.
ISSUE 2 – BALLOT INITIATIVE REFORM
Arkansas voters rejected Issue 2 – with 59% voting against it.
Issue 2 would have required a 60% supermajority vote for constitutional amendments and citizen-proposed state laws.
ISSUE 3 – FREEDOM OF RELIGION
Issue 3 is too close to call at this point – with 50% for and against.
Issue 3 would amend the Arkansas Constitution to guarantee that a person’s right to freedom of religion would not be burdened by state law – except in extraordinary circumstances.
ISSUE 4 – LEGALIZED MARIJUANA
Arkansas voters rejected Issue 4—with 56% voting against it.
Issue 4 would have legalized marijuana use for all Arkansas residents aged 21 and older. It would also legalize the commercial sale of marijuana.
STATE SENATE – DISTRICT 9
Longtime Democratic State Representative Reginald Murdock of Marianna is leading Republican Terry Fuller – with 53% of the vote.
The winner will replace longtime Sen. Keith Ingram — who decided not to run again.
STATE SENATE – DISTRICT 10
Longtime Republican State Sen. Ronald Caldwell of Wynne is expected to beat Democrat Cliff Hart.
Caldwell – who was first elected in 2012 – has more than 72% of the vote.
STATE HOUSE – DISTRICT 34
Republican Joey Carr is currently leading Democrat Ollie Collins – with 54% of the vote.
The incumbent — Rep. Monte Hodges – ran for the District 1 seat in the U.S. House – but lost to Congressman Rick Crawford.
STATE HOUSE – DISTRICT 37
Longtime Republican State Rep. Steve Hollowell will win this race – getting 72% of the vote over two challengers – Democrat Christopher Reed and Libertarian Brian Ramsey.
Hollowell was first elected in 2016.
STATE HOUSE – DISTRICT 62
Longtime Republican State Rep. Mark McElroy of Tillar is expected to win over Democrat Dexter Miller.
McElroy is currently leading with 68% of the vote.
McElroy was first elected in 2012 as a Democrat – but switched to independent in 2018 and lost his seat.
He won it back in 2020 after switching to the Republican Party.
ARKANSAS SUPREME COURT
Justice Robin Wynne won his runoff with State District Court Judge Chris Carnahan of Conway.
Wynne – who was first elected in 2014 – got 58% of the vote.
In Memphis, there are two races on the ballot – both special elections – for the District 4 seat on the Memphis City Council and the Division 2 seat on the Memphis City Court.
In District 4, Jana Swearengen-Washington won the seat that was held by her sister – Jamita Swearengen – who’s now Shelby County Circuit Court Clerk.
Swearengen-Washington got 52% of the vote – avoiding a runoff.
In the Division 2 race on the Memphis City Court… Varonica Cooper got the most votes – beating 8 other candidates.
Cooper – who is an attorney at the Cooper Law Firm – got 20% of the vote. She’ll replace Tarik Sugarmon – who is now Shelby County Juvenile Court Judge.
In Bartlett, Alderman David Parsons won the 4-way mayoral race.
Parsons – who received 41% of the vote – will replace the retiring Mayor Keith McDonald.
Elsewhere in Bartlett, Harold King, Robert Griffin and David Reaves won seats on the Board of Aldermen – and Bryan Woodruff was re-elected to the Bartlett School Board.
In Collierville, Maureen Fraser, Billy Patton and Missy Marshall were all re-elected to the Board of Aldermen and Wanda Chism and Keri Blair won seats on the Collierville School Board.
In Germantown, Scott Sanders and Mary Anne Gibson were re-elected to the Board of Aldermen while Daniel Chatham and Angela Rickman Griffith won seats on the Germantown School Board.
Mayor Mike Palazzolo ran unopposed.
In Lakeland, there were no contested races.
Former Lakeland commissioner Josh Roman ran running unopposed for mayor. He’ll replace Mike Cunningham – who is retiring after one term as mayor.
Michele Dial and Connie McCarter were elected as town commissioners and Keith Acton, Laura Harrison and Deborah Thomas were elected to the Lakeland School Board.
In Millington… Bethany Huffman, Al Bell, Chris Ford and Larry Dagen won seats on the Board of Aldermen.
Debby Clifton, Brian McGovern, Cody Childress and Mandy Compton won seats on the Millington School Board.
In West Memphis, incumbent Mayor Marco McClendon defeated two challengers — Alderman Wayne Croom and City Clerk James Pulliaum.
McClendon received 62% of the vote – avoiding a runoff.
Charles Suiter was re-elected as West Memphis City Treasurer.
Bruce Gheric and Charles Wheeless were re-elected to the West Memphis City Council – but in Ward 5, incumbent Helen Harris is advancing to a December 6 runoff with Joyce Gray.
Crittenden County had a few contested races – including County Clerk, Coroner and one seat on the County’s Quorum Court.
County Clerk Paula Brown and Coroner William Wolfe were both re-elected – but District 8 Justice of the Peace Vanessa Basemore lost her seat to Robert Thorne, Jr.
In DeSoto County, Josh Sullivan won the District 1 race for DeSoto County School Board and Michele Henley was re-elected in District 2.
In Hernando, voters rejected a sales tax referendum – with 58% voting against it.
In Oakland, Debbie Hummel, Adrian Wiggins and Frank Cates were elected to the Board of Aldermen.
In Somerville, Zachary Bryson defeated incumbent Jason Hamilton – in the Board of Aldermen Position 4 race.
There were some other races – but the Board of Aldermen election in LaGrange sticks out.
There were six seats available and seven candidates ran – but the bottom two candidates – Robert Lee and Andrea Swords were tied with 39 votes each.
It might be interesting to find out how the Election Commission will resolve this. Will there be a coin toss?
In Tipton County, Jan Hensley was elected to replace Justin Hanson as the Mayor of Covington.
Martha Johnson and Danny Wallace won seats on the Covington Board of Aldermen.
In Mason, Mayor Emmit Gooden was voted out. Eddie Noeman will be the new mayor.