Predicting tomorrow’s election

Frank CagleFeature

Election day is tomorrow (Thursday), a few predictions:

It is not a foregone conclusion that Randy Boyd will carry Knox County. The key to his victory in the governor’s race is a good vote in East Tennessee against three Middle Tennessee candidates. But if you don’t win your home town you’ve got trouble.

Diane Black may finish fourth statewide. Bill Lee and Beth Harwell, who ran on their records instead of negative ads, may finish one and two. Lee has had the edge and is favored at this point. But Harwell is peaking at the right time. She got a late start due to the legislative session and is being outspent by millions of dollars. Harwell has spent about $4 million while Boyd has spent $20 million and Black has spent $14 million. If Harwell finishes ahead of them it will be a major upset. And some political consultants will have some explaining to do. How do you spend $20 million and lose? Bill Lee has spent $7 million. Can it be that the two candidates who spent the least amount of money finish one-two?

Jimmy Matlock got off to a good start in his race for Congress, with help from retiring Congressman Jimmy Duncan. But his negative ads on Tim Burchett have backfired and his numbers are going in the wrong direction. Burchett is familiar to voters from his time in the legislature and in the county mayor’s office. Voters just don’t believe the load of crap Matlock’s campaign has unloaded. Expect Burchett to win by 20 points.

Political consultants say voters hate negative ads, but that they work. Ask Boyd, Black and Matlock if that is true. In a two-person race, voters may hold their noses and pick one. But if there is a third or fourth choice, many of them will go there.

Gov. Bill Haslam, at the request of the Tennessean, wrote a letter of advice to his successor, whoever that might be. Haslam said the winner will find that, as governor, they will not be dealing with the issues they are using in their campaigns. Tennessee’s governor won’t be building a wall on the Southern border, for instance. The issues in this gubernatorial race have been almost nonexistent.

Short takes
  • You see it every election season. A candidate claims to be a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. So maybe daddy bought them a membership while they were in the cradle and they have been faithful members all this time? No. What being a lifetime member of the NRA means is that the candidate paid the NRA $1,500 and they issued him a “lifetime” membership. This could have occurred the day before the candidate qualified to run for office.
  • Where’s Tom? A crowded Republican primary field with millions of ad dollars on the table. Where’s Tom Ingram? The election guru for Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker and Bill Haslam is sitting this one out. Ingram says all the candidates are friends of his, his firm is very busy and he just didn’t feel like getting involved this time around.
  • Ashley Nickloes will not win the Congressional seat but she has been a break-through candidate and appears to be a rising star. I suspect we have not heard the last of her. And in her next race maybe she won’t get a late start due to her military duties. Something to look at election night – how many votes did she and Jason Emert get that might have gone to Matlock.
  • Former Knox Sheriff Tim Hutchison may be coming back into public life. He’s running for the House in the district given up by Roger Kane. There are five Republicans running and Hutchison and Stacey Campfield have the name recognition. But Campfield’s negatives are off the chart. Hutchison was a Trump delegate and an early supporter of the president. But since Kane beat him the last time he ran there’s no guarantee that he will win this time.

You can reach Frank at His portrait is by Adam Cagle.

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