A Tennessee Journal analysis of the midterm election results of Tennessee’s Senate battle between Marsha Blackburn and Phil Bredesen focused on the fact that Bredesen won in the state’s ten largest counties by a 55-45 margin. Former Tennessean Reporter Jim O’Hara noted that the Bredesen vote total in the largest population counties was nevertheless overcome by the 69-31 margin Blackburn racked up in the other 85 counties in the state. (The analysis did not extend to Bill Lee’s 20% margin over Democrat Karl Dean, nor Donald Trump’s 26% margin of victory in 2016.)
The point was, apparently, that while the vast majority of the state’s voters, as well as the overwhelming geographic territory of the state, swung heavily for Blackburn the glimmer of hope for Democrats is some doubt about whether Republicans can keep running up the score in the 85 smaller counties while losing to a heavily funded Democrat in the largest and growing counties. Putting aside for a moment that the “growth” in Shelby has actually been a steady population decline in the past 5 years — and that dark blue Davidson County is growing at a much slower pace than the surrounding red suburban counties — we don’t really grasp the significance of the analysis.
But to be fair, and accurate, the Tennessee Star has done a similar review of the Senate results and discovered that if you ONLY look at the vote totals from the counties that start with “W” — #winning — then Blackburn won those particular counties by a 62.3% to 37.7% margin.
Bill Lee ran even stronger in the W counties, beating Karl Dean by a 69.4% to 31.6% gap.
We aren’t sure this break down has any relevance at all, but it seemed as significant as parsing specific county votes to promote a “don’t be discouraged” analysis solely intended to make despondent Democrats feel better. As Tennessee Democrats move further to the Left in search of their own Beto O’Rourke or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and leave once politically dependable rural Democrat counties in the rear view mirror, tweaking the numbers won’t change the political reality. Tennessee, in both GOP Primaries and General Elections, is a solidly conservative Red state.
– – –
Photo “Bill Lee and Marsha Blackburn” by Marsha Blackburn for Senate.