Republican Shane Reeves and Democrat Gayle Jordan are set to face off at the polls today as voters in the 14th State Senate District decide who will represent them in the Tennessee General Assembly, replacing former State Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), who resigned when he was was tapped by the Trump administration to serve in the USDA.
Reeves, a first-time candidate, won the Republican primary in January against former State Rep. Joe Carr (R-Lascassas). Democrat Jordan, a very far left candidate in a traditionally conservative district, ran unopposed in her party’s primary.
Earlier this year, political watchers were stunned at the outcome of the special election in December to replace longtime popular State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet). Her long-time friend and ally State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) ran unopposed in the primary, but low voter turnout resulted in a very narrow victory by Pody over liberal Democrat Mary Alice Carfi by a margin of scarcely 300 votes.
Democrats are hoping that Pody’s close call, combined with the 39 local elections they’ve taken from Republicans in the past year, may be an indicator that the hoped for “Blue Wave” many pundits are predicting for the 2018 Congressional midterms in November will be followed by another surprisingly close election between Reeves and Jordan.
Early voting, which ended on Thursday, was low, totaling 7,637, but not nearly as low as the 5,200 early votes cast in Pody’s close call in December.
Past voting behavior suggests Reeves is a heavy favorite, but 2018 is turning out to be much different than previous years, but the energy is all with the left and the Democrats, and the average Republican voter in the district may be taking this race for granted.
Chastened by Pody’s close call, Republicans have focused more resources on the race, including those from Reeves himself.
According to the most recent financial reports, Reeves has spent more than $550,000, while Jordan has spent $29,000.
The winner tonight is expected to be sworn in at the State Capitol on Tuesday and will join the Tennessee General Assembly currently in session.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
The Tennessee Star will be in Murfreesboro tonight, and will report the results in real time as they come in. Unless the race turns out to be a nail biter, final results should be known by about 10 p.m.