State Rep. Mark Pody (R-Lebanon), the Republican nominee in Tuesday’s special election in Tennessee’s 17th State Senate District, is heavily favored to defeat the Democratic nominee Mary Alice Carfi in the traditionally conservative district.. The seat was vacated by longtime incumbent State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), who resigned the seat in August to run for the Republican nomination for governor of Tennessee.
Pody is favored in a district that elected Beavers to four consecutive terms in the Tennessee State Senate. In her most recent General Election matchup, she won 62% of the vote in 2010, winning the race by a margin of 24 points. After that resounding defeat, the Democratic Party did not field a candidate against her when she ran for re-election in 2014.
Tennessee’s 17th district is heavily Republican, but that is not the only reason to expect a Pody victory. He has also been endorsed by The National Federation of Independent Business, a leading Tennessee small-business association, as the group announced in a statement:
“Mark Pody is the clear choice for small business in the special election in Senate District 17,” said Jim Brown, state director of NFIB/Tennessee.
“He has earned NFIB’s endorsement with his fiscally responsible approach to managing state government and support of key legislation that is helping small businesses grow, create jobs and keep government out of their way.”
Brown said supporting factors of the endorsement include Pody’s perfect NFIB Voting Record from 2015-2016 as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, representing House District 46, and his staunch support of small business as a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee.
The Tennessee Star has also covered Pody’s stance on crucial issues like the gas tax increase, which he voted against, noting:
And that’s the good financial management that we have had. We just want to extend that so we don’t make dumb mistakes like we just did. We could have done this without a gas tax. We could have just taken the money you’ve already given us, over a billion dollars you’ve already given us, and take a portion and put it in the roads. We weren’t trying to stop the money going to roads. We just wanted to do it right, and that’s what was so frustrating. (emphasis added)
Early voting has already begun in the special election, as the Lebanon Democrat reported :
A total of 279 people cast their ballots Wednesday, including 132 and 143 voters at the Election Commission Office in Lebanon and the Mt. Juliet Community Center, respectively. On Dec. 4, there were 337 voters, which represented the biggest single-day voter turnout for the special election, as polling places opened in Watertown and at Lighthouse Church in Mt. Juliet.
The final results will be tallied on Tuesday, and Pody is focusing on job creation in his closing pitch to voters:
By having a plan and systematically working that cohesive plan together, we can attract new businesses to start up in our district. I believe Cannon, Trousdale and Wilson counties have things that set us apart not only form the nation but from the rest of the State of Tennessee as well. Lets work together and capitalize on our strengths to bring in some good paying jobs to our great district!