Early voting in the March 13 Special Election in the 14th Senatorial District to fill the vacancy created when State Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) resigned to accept an appointment from the Trump Administration continues at a slow pace. Through Friday, March 2, 2018 only 4,211 votes had been cast. Early voting in Bedford, Moore, Rutherford, Lincoln, and Marshall counties continues through Thursday, March 8.
The Special Election pits Republican nominee Shane Reeves against Democrat Gayle Jordan. Reeves won the nomination by a two to one margin over fellow Republican Joe Carr in January. Jordan was unopposed in the Democratic Party primary.
Republican supporters of Reeves have expressed concern over the low turnout, particularly in the wake of the 17th Senatorial District Special Election last year. In that election Republican Mark Pody narrowly defeated his Democrat challenger by about 300 votes in a heavily Republican District that included Wilson, Cannon, DeKalb, Smith, Clay and Macon counties. Pody, a state representative, had 5,990 total votes while Democrat Mary Alice Carfi received 5,682 votes.
“Republicans nearly lost the seat Sen. Mae Beavers vacated; the Pody margin was seen as a ‘wake up call’ for Republicans to focus on voter turnout in this election cycle,” one Republican strategist noted. “But it looks like Republicans may have hit the snooze button following that alarm and it could cost them the seat in the 14th District if they don’t get busy soon.”