State House of Representatives races a mixed bag

By: - October 30, 2020 5:30 am
(Photo: Hill Street Studios/Getty Images)

(Photo: Hill Street Studios/Getty Images)

All state representatives come up for election every two years and in the fourth installment of our five-part look at campaign finances and possible outcomes of elections, we look at House races starting in Northeast Tennessee and moving west to Murfreesboro.

In Knox County’s District 18, an open seat, Democrat Virginia Couch faces Republican Eddie Mannis. Mannis barely lost his mayoral race in 2019 to current Mayor India Kincannon. In this race, Mannis survived a challenge to his party bona fides. He and Couch are evenly matched in fundraising and cash on hand going into the final days.

  • At this link, you will find a tool to identify which house and senate districts you live in. Fill in your information on the right-hand side of the page under “Find My Legislator” in order to make use of the tool
  • The CNalysis rating found below the title of every section is meant to be used as a guide; it is not authoritative. These ratings are created by CNalysis, the only elections forecasting group in the whole country to handicap state legislative elections.
  • The tables below each section contain the financial information reported by each campaign through the end of September, also known as Quarter 3. Nearly every campaign in the state has filed this information, but those that have not are clearly marked. The incumbent in each race, if there is one, is marked with an asterisk in the table.

State House District 1 (Bristol & N. Sullivan County):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent John Crawford is unopposed in the general election. Crawford is the Chairman of the House Local Government Committee and has worked to improve vocational education opportunities in his district.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
John Crawford* $76,184.70 $4,500.00 $0.00 $80,684.70

 

State House District 2 (Kingsport, Rock Springs, Sunrise Valley & Horse Creek):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and retired police lieutenant Bud Hulsey is being challenged for reelection by Air Force veteran Avril Love Jr. Hulsey, the Chair of the House Corrections Subcommittee, owns a local logistics company. He voted in favor of both Gov. Bill Lee’s school voucher program and the fetal heartbeat abortion restriction measure. Love is campaigning on improving school funding and expanding Medicaid.

State Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)
State Rep. Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

The entirety of the contributions Hulsey received this cycle came from PACs, and Love received a $500 donation from the Sullivan County Democratic Party.

This election sets up a rematch between the two candidates, as they were both on the ballot in 2018. Then, Hulsey beat Love 76% to 22% with an independent candidate taking 2%.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Bud Hulsey* $48,688.58 $1,950.00 $1,550.00 $49,088.58
Avril Love Jr. $828.93 $1,046.58 $6.21 $1,869.60

 

State House District 3 (Johnson, S. Carter, Central & E. Sullivan Counties):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Former State Representative Scotty Campbell, a longtime talk radio host, won the Republican primary for this open seat and is unopposed in the general election. Campbell has built his campaign around the lack of quality healthcare access in his district.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Scotty Campbell $0.00 $33,916.00 $12,820.53 $21,095.47

 

State House District 4 (Elizabethton, Unicoi & N. Carter Counties):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and local jeweler John B. Holsclaw Jr. is being challenged for reelection by Elizabethton city employee Bobby Harrell, who is campaigning on the issues of Medicaid expansion, implementing stronger environmental protection laws, and raising the state minimum wage. Harrell has also made comments in support of the complete legalization of marijuana. Holsclaw has spent his time in the legislature focused on local economic development and he voted in favor of the fetal heartbeat abortion restriction measure. Unlike the majority of his caucus, Holsclaw voted against Lee’s school voucher program.

Rep. John B. Holsclaw, R-Elizabethton (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)
Rep. John B. Holsclaw, R-Elizabethton (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

Holsclaw raised $7,000 from PACs and various companies, while Harrell has yet to file his Quarter 3 report. However, he had raised $330 as of the time of his pre-primary report.

The last time Holsclaw had a general election opponent was in 2014. Then, he defeated Independent candidate Rob Martin 82% to 18%. Clearly, Harrell is facing an uphill battle in his bid to unseat the incumbent.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Bobby Harrell $0.00 $245.00 $85.00 $330.00
John B. Holsclaw,

Jr*

$45,464.12 $7,800.00 $23,876.09 $29,388.03

 

State House District 5 (Most of Greene County, except for the SW):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent David B. Hawk is unopposed in the general election. Hawk also ran for Congress in the open District 1 seat being vacated by Phil Roe, but did not win that primary.

 

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
David B. Hawk* $116,038.49 $11,175.00 $3,912.70 $123,300.79

 

State House District 6 (Johnson City, N. & W. Washington County):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Republican incumbent Micah Van Huss was beaten in the August primary by Tim Hicks, son of late State Representative Bobby Hicks, so this is an open seat. Hicks will face Democratic candidate and small business owner Brad Batt in the general election. Batt is campaigning on the ideas of expanding Medicaid, raising teacher salaries, and lowering the number of district residents that live near the poverty line. Hicks is focused on increasing access to vocational training and combating addiction.

Hicks raised more than $4,000 from both various PACs and from a few Republican legislators. Batt received a contribution for $1,750 from the Washington County Democratic Party.

In 2018, the Republican incumbent beat Independent candidate Murphey Johnson 68% to 32%. Seeing as the incumbent at the time was a good deal more controversial than Hicks, it will be extremely difficult for Batt to flip this seat.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Brad Batt $5,476.78 $3,790.44 $2,786.38 $6,480.84
Tim Hicks $16,250.38 $14,920.00 $18,028.09 $13,142.29

 

State House District 7 (Central & SE Washington County):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Rebecca Keefauver Alexander toppled the incumbent Rep. Matthew Hill in the Republican primary and is unopposed in the general election. The owner of a local funeral home, she has emphasized her roots in the area.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Rebecca Keefauver Alexander $29,240.28 $15,172.14 $22,720.07 $21,692.35

 

State House District 8 (Alcoa, Wildwood, Townsend & S. Blount County):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and retired newspaper publisher Jerome Moon is being challenged in his first bid for reelection by Jay Clark, a Maryville College professor. Clark also hosts a podcast called “Scrappy Time.”  Before becoming a State Representative, Moon was a Blount County Commissioner and helped bring economic development to the county. He voted in favor of both Governor Lee’s school voucher program and the fetal heartbeat abortion bill. Clark is campaigning on the ideas of expanding Medicaid, raising teacher pay, and spur economic development.

Moon received $7,500 in donations from PACs throughout the state. Clark collected only one PAC donation, $300 from the United Mine Workers of America.

This will be the second time these candidates face each other, as they were both candidates for this district in 2018. Moon beat Clark by a margin of 44 percentage points.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Jay Clark $5,792.93 $13,293.08 $13,063.76 $6,022.25
Jerome Moon* $84,938.77 $18,050.00 $31,256.53 $71,732.24

 

State House District 9 (Hancock & Hawkins Counties):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent Gary Hicks is unopposed in the general election. Hicks is the Chairman of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee which gives him great power of the state’s budget.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Gary Hicks* $48,157.86 $1,250.00 $13,346.86 $36,061.00

 

State House District 10 (Hamblen County):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent Rick Eldridge is unopposed in the general election. Eldrige is a former county commissioner and is the current Vice-Chair of the House State Committee.

 

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Rick Eldridge* $19,567.83 $3,500.00 $3,125.00 $19,942.83

 

State House District 11 (Cocke, SW. Greene, & E. Jefferson Counties):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent Jeremy Faison is unopposed in the general election. Faison is the Majority Caucus Chairman for the House, a role he ascended to after Rep. Glen Casada resigned from his post as Speaker of the House in 2019.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Jeremy Faison* $75,661.51 $8,550.00 $26,275.13 $26,275.13

 

State House District 12 (Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Seymour, S. & W. Sevier County):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and realtor Dale Carr is being challenged by Bennett Lapides, a recent college graduate. Lapides, a Sevier County native, is campaigning on strengthening environmental protections, legalizing marijuana, and expanding access to rural broadband. Carr, previously a Sevierville alderman, broke with the majority of his caucus by voting against Governor Lee’s controversial school voucher bill; he did vote in favor of placing additional restrictions on abortion. Notably, Carr voted against the removal of a bust honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate Army general and founder of the Klu Klux Klan, from the Tennessee Capitol.

Carr raised $4,700 from different Republican politicians and industry PACs. Lapides collected a $400 donation from the Sevier County Democratic Executive Committee.

2018 was the first year since he was elected in 2012 that Carr faced a general election opponent. He beat Democratic candidate Robert Williams 80%- 20%.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Dale Carr* $3,548.99 $7,640.00 $3,181.41 $8,007.58
Bennett Lapides $68.91 $1,470.00 $509.88 $1,029.03

 

State House District 13 (N., W. & S. Knoxville):

CNalysis rating: Likely Democratic

Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)
Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

Incumbent and retired educator Gloria Johnson is running for reelection and being challenged by former Knox County Commissioner Elaine Davis. As a Representative, Johnson has sought to expand Medicaid, increase the minimum wage for certain workers, and increase funding for community schools. Davis is focusing on exploring market-based solutions to our healthcare issues and investing in public vocational training.

Almost all of the contributions that Johnson received this quarter were small dollar; this is in contrast to Davis, who received $12,000 directly from Republican politicians and industry PACs.

Johnson carries the endorsement of several labor union groups and Democratic committees, including US Senator Elizabeth Warren. These are in addition to the Sierra Club’s endorsement of Johnson as well as Moms Demand Action, a gun safety advocacy group. Davis has the endorsement of several local and state Republican politicians, including Sen. Richard Briggs and Johnson’s predecessor Eddie Smith.

In 2018, Johnson beat Smith 55% – 43% with Independent candidate Zachary Houk taking 2%. Should Johnson win this election, it would be her second consecutive term, but her third term overall. She first won in 2012, before losing to Smith in 2014.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Elaine Davis $13,008.09 $19,695.00 $13,109.73 $19,593.36
Gloria Johnson* $74,385.28 $69,004.63 $42,606.27 $100,783.64

 

State House District 14 (Farragut & Concord):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and telecommunications executive Jason Zachary is being challenged by Democratic candidate Justin Davis in his bid for reelection. Zachary has spent his time in the legislature focused on lowering government spending and decreasing taxes. Notably, he was one of two legislators to flip their vote on Governor Lee’s school voucher program after negotiating a backroom deal with the Republican caucus leadership. Davis has oriented his campaign around the ideas of government accountability and increased public education funding.

Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)
Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

Zachary raised $3,250 from various PACs and received $2,500 from various companies. Davis received $1,000 from Renee Hoyos, the Democratic candidates in congressional district 2.

This election will be the second time these two candidates face off in as many election cycles. Rep. Zachary beat Davis 66% to 34% in 2018.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Justin Davis $2,795.00 $5,071.56 $1,118.80 $6,747.76
Jason Zachary* $81,181.53 $9,350.00 $20,130.22 $20,130.22

 

State House District 15 (Downtown, E. & S. Knoxville):

CNalysis rating: Safe Democratic

Former Knox County Commissioner Sam McKenzie beat the Democratic incumbent, Rick Staples, in the August primary and now faces no major party opposition in the general election. Troy B. Jones filed to run for this seat as an Independent candidate, so McKenzie is not without any opposition. However, very little information about Jones’ campaign exists online. McKenzie is campaigning on the issues of criminal justice reform, Medicaid expansion, and increasing public school funding.

McKenzie received $600 in contributions from PACs and has the support of former Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale. Jones’ largest donation comes from a group called Lawyers Involved for Tennessee for the total of $2.000. According to my research, this group is related to the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association and aims to preserve the right to a jury trial in civil court.

In 2016, Staples beat Independent candidate Pete Drew 65% – 35%. This election for is not expected to be competitive.

 

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Troy B. Jones $0.00 $4,400.00 $2,317.22 $2,082.78
Sam McKenzie $6,449.71 $4,075.00 $3,737.59 $6,787.12

 

State House District 16 (Halls, Powell, & Fountain City):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

This open seat is being contested by both major parties, with Knox County Commissioner Michele Carringer as the Republican candidate and nonprofit executive Elizabeth Rowland as the Democratic candidate. Carringer’s campaign is focused on social issues such as restricting abortion and protecting gun rights. She is open to increasing charter school funding and creating more school vouchers. Rowland is emphasizing more kitchen table issues like expanding Medicaid in Tennessee and encouraging access to quality vocational training for our changing economy.

Carringer received more than $8,850 in PAC donations and a few thousand more from Republican representatives from around the state. The vast majority of the donations received by Rowland were small-dollar donations from individuals.

In 2018, longtime incumbent Bill Dunn beat Democratic candidate Kate Trudell 70% – 30%. The margin of this race is expected to be closer this year due to this district being an open seat and the competitive Republican primary.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Michele Carringer $4,560.12 $18,850.00 $4,101.16 $19,308.96
Elizabeth Rowland $7,982.93 $24,831.00 $7,352.92 $25,461.01

 

State House District 17 (N. Sevier, W. & Central Jefferson Counties):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and local attorney Andrew Farmer is being challenged for reelection by Delynn McCash, an Air Force veteran and educator. McCash is focusing on the issues of expanding Medicaid, increasing the minimum wage, and ensuring safety in our schools. Farmer is interested in fostering economic development in his district and preventing any tax raises at the state level. He voted in favor of both Lee’s controversial school voucher bill and the fetal heartbeat abortion bill.

Farmer raised the vast majority of his donations from PAC contributions with $24,250 coming from PACs. McCash did not file a campaign finance report this cycle.

This election will be the second time that these two candidates face each other in as many elections. In 2018, Farmer beat McCash by a margin of 58 percentage points.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Andrew Farmer* $33,918.30 $27,750.00 $17,890.00 $43,778.30
Delynn McCash Did Not File

 

State House District 18 (Cedar Bluff & West Hills):

CNalysis rating: Tossup

This open seat will likely be one of the most, if not the most, competitive races in the state. The Republican incumbent won by a scant 747 votes in 2018 and now he is retiring, creating an open seat. Local attorney and small business owner Virginia Couch is the Democratic candidate and has themed her campaign around the ideal of increasing opportunity for the community. Her focus has been on the issues of education reform and the promotion of small businesses. Local businessman and former Deputy Mayor Eddie Mannis is the Republican candidate but is running without the support of his county party. He focused his campaign on decreasing business regulations and implementing a school voucher program.

Couch collected more than $22,000 from Democratic politicians, Democratic committees, and a few union chapters like the International Association Heat & Frost Insulators. Mannis raised more than $26,000 from Republican politicians and industry PACs.

Couch earned the endorsement of several advocacy organizations, including the Tennessee chapter of the AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood, and the Sierra Club. Mannis carries the endorsement of both the Tennessee Equality Project, an LGBT+ rights advocacy group, and the Tennessee Federation for Children, the state branch of the U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ school voucher organization.

In 2018 Republican Martin Daniel beat Democrat Greg Mackay 51% to 49%. This year’s race might be even closer as Mannis is coming off an extremely contentious primary that culminated in concerted attempts from his Republican colleague to remove him from the ballot.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Virginia Couch $31,553.49 $44,058.15 $18,470.66 $57,140.98
Eddie Mannis $8,297.41 $61,847.84 $16,659.19 $53,486.06

 

State House District 19 (Gibbs, Carter, N. & E. Knox County):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Rep. Dave Wright is running for his second term unopposed. Previously, Wright had served as a county commissioner for several years. He voted in favor of both the fetal heartbeat abortion restriction measure and Lee’s school voucher program.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Dave Wright* $29,884.74 $3,850.00 $1,033.91 $32,700.83

 

State House District 20 (Maryville, Eagleton Village & NW. Blount County):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and dentist Bob Ramsey is being challenged by Susan Sneed, a business consultant and minister. She is promised to focus on expanding Medicaid, increasing teacher pay, and raising the minimum wage if she is elected. Ramsey has spent his time in the legislature focused on decreasing the number of bills proposed by individual lawmakers. He also voted in favor of the fetal heartbeat abortion measure and against Lee’s school voucher program.

Ramsey collected $4,700 from various industry PACs and Republican committees. The majority of Sneed’s funding comes from small-dollar donations, but she also received a $1,000 donation from Renee Hoyos and a $250 donation from the group Women for Tennessee’s Future.

This will be the second time that the two candidates face each other. Both ran in 2018, when Ramsey beat Sneed 70% – 30%. Based on the previous margin and general political lean of this district, the race is not expected to be competitive.

Candidate Name Starting Balance  Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Bob Ramsey* $80,074.86 $6,451.18 $27,089.70 $59,436.34
Susan Sneed $8,079.39 $9,275.00 $8,066.53 $10,067.44

 

State House District 21 (N. Monroe & Most of Loudon Counties):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent Lowell Russell is unopposed in the general election. Russell is a former Tennessee State Trooper who was elected in 2018 after the incumbent ran for Congress.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Lowell Russell* $57,755.61 $18,445.00 $3,287.56 $72,913.05

 

State House District 22 (Meigs, Polk, N., S. & E. Bradley Counties):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent Dan Howell is unopposed in the general election. Howell is the chair of the House Transportation committee and has advocated for decreasing government regulations.

 

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Dan Howell* $72,743.64 $18,100.00 $3,532.23 $87,311.41

 

State House District 23 (McMinn & S. ⅔ of Monroe Counties):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and chief of staff for the McMinn County Mayor Mark Cochran is running without major party opposition, but he is being challenged by local realtor David G.E. Fankhauser as an Independent. Fankhauser’s platform consists of keeping money local, reducing taxes on small businesses, and expanding rural broadband access.  Cochran co-sponsored the fetal heartbeat abortion restriction and voted against Lee’s controversial school voucher program. He is the Treasurer for the House Republican caucus.

Rep. Mark Cochran ,R-Englewood (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)
Rep. Mark Cochran ,R-Englewood (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

The majority of Cochran’s fundraising has come from various PACs, such as the Tennessee Pharmacists PAC and the National Federation of Independent Business – Tennessee PAC. All of Fankhauser’s campaign money comes from his own bank account.

Cochran first won election to this seat in 2018, when he beat Democratic candidate Brad Hartley 81% – 19%.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Mark Cochran* $17,939.44 $1,850.00 $830.90 $18,958.54
David G.E. Fankhauser $0.00 $697.89 $0.00 $697.89

 

State House District 24 (Cleveland & W. Bradley County):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent Mark Hall, the Vice-Chair of the House Insurance Committee, is being challenged for reelection by Daniel Jones, a retired educator. Jones is primarily concerned with the state’s lackluster response to the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting the small businesses that have been adversely affected by it. Hall supported both the fetal heartbeat abortion restriction measure and Lee’s school voucher program. Before being elected to the General Assembly, Hall was a Bradley County Commissioner for many years.

Hall collected more than $6,000 from Republican politicians and industry PACs. His opponent, Jones, did not raise or spend any money this quarter.

Hall was first elected in 2018, when he defeated Democratic candidate Mallory Pickert by a 50% margin.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Mark Hall* $14,206.43 $7,200.00 $5,850.00 $15,556.43
Daniel Jones $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

 

State House District 25 (Cumberland, Van Buren & E. Putnam Counties):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and current Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton is being challenged for reelection by Robyn Deck, a small business owner. Her chief policy positions are expanding Medicaid, increasing teacher pay, expanding access to rural broadband, and strengthening environmental standards. Sexton voted in favor of the fetal heartbeat abortion restriction measure but voted against Lee’s school voucher bill. Sexton became Speaker after the scandals of former Speaker Glen Casada forced to resign his resignation.

Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)
Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

Sexton collected more than $30,000 directly from Republican committees, companies, and industry PACs; in addition, the majority of the rest of his funding came in the form of large-dollar donations from individuals. In contrast, Deck raised very little money and only received donations from individuals.

In 2018, Sexton beat his Democratic opponent, Anne Quillen, by 56%.  This district will be extremely difficult to flip for the Democrats, especially when considering the mostly rural nature of the district.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Cameron Sexton* $219,693.61 $77,901.80 $63,350.15 $234,245.26
Robyn Deck $1,048.74 $1,496.93 $994.48 $1,551.19

 

State House District 26 (Parts of Downtown Chattanooga, Hixson, Middle Valley, Lakesite & Harrison):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and project manager Robin Smith is being challenged by businesswoman Joan Farrell. Smith, the Chair of the House Insurance Committee, worked to cut healthcare regulations and endeavored to lower taxes. As a former educator, Farrell is running on a platform of decreasing the costs of higher education as well as expanding Medicaid and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Smith gave $500 apiece to several Republicans in open seats and received more than $29,000 from various PACs,

Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixon (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)
Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixon (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

including $1,000 from a pro-school vouchers group. Farrell received the majority of her funding from the Tennessee Federation of Democratic Women and Representative Karen Camper.

In 2018, Smith beat Democratic candidate Jean-Marie Lawrence 64% – 36%, so Farrell’s chances of pulling off an upset do not look promising.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Joan Farrell $0.00 $1,215.54 $3,050.25 – $2,977.85
Robin Smith* $135,457.62 $67,170.00 $23,570.57 $179,057.05

 

State House District 27 (Lookout Mountain, Signal Mountain, Red Bank & Flat Top Mountain):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent Patsy Hazlewood is unopposed in the general election. Hazlewood is the Vice-Chair of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Patsy Hazlewood* $205,738.40 $27,600.00 $9,050.45 $224,287.95

 

State House District 28 (Ridgeside, Harrison & Most of Chattanooga):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Democratic

Incumbent Yusuf Hakeem is unopposed in the general election. Hakeem served two separate stints as a Chattanooga city councilman and was a member of the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole between those two periods.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Yusuf Hakeem* $39,163.46 $2,750.00 $6,013.00 $35,900.46

 

State House District 29 (W. Chattanooga, Ooltewah, Collegedale & N. Hamilton County):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent Mike Carter is unopposed in the general election. During his time in the General Assembly, Carter has fought for decreasing the powers of the state government, such as when he successfully passed his bill to end the forced annexation of land into surrounding municipalities. During the 2020 legislative session, Carter made news for a racially insensitive remark directed towards his colleague, Representative Joe Towns. In August, he was hospitalized with COVID-19.

 

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Mike Carter* $45,051.66 $0.00 $0.00 $45,051.66

 

State House District 30 (East Ridge, Collegedale & Apison):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and registered nurse Esther Helton is being challenged by chemist Joseph Udeaja in her bid for reelection. Udeaja has focused his campaign on expanding Medicaid, improving school funding, and attracting economic development to the area. Helton, the current Vice-Chair of the House Health Committee, has used her position to push for reforms to the healthcare insurance industry. She also voted in favor of Lee’s school voucher program.

Helton raised more than $20,000 this quarter from PACs and companies. For the latest quarter of fundraising, Udeaja loaned his campaign $1,500.

Helton first won election to this district in 2018, after winning a tight primary contest. She beat Democratic candidate Joda Thongnopnua 57% – 41% with Independent candidate J. Michael Holloway taking 2%. The election is not expected to be competitive, especially in light of Udeaja’s poor fundraising.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Esther Helton* $68,301.58 $34,705.00 $6,458.96 $96,547.62
Joseph Udeaja $492.00 $2,575.00 $3,483.00 – $416.00

 

State House District 31 (Bledsoe, Sequatchie, Rhea & SW. corner of Roane Counties):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and insurance agent Ron Travis is being challenged for reelection by Dean Sparks, a social worker. Sparks is focusing on the issues of raising teacher pay and seeking methods to increase teacher retention rates, expanding Medicaid, increase funding for military veterans’ programs, and increase infrastructure spending in his district. Travis, the Chair of the General Assembly’s Joint Fiscal Review Committee, is in favor of Medicaid expansion and voted against Lee’s controversial school voucher bill.

Travis raised more than $8,000 directly from various companies and industry PACs. Sparks received a good amount of funding from small-dollar donations as well as a $1,000 donation from the Rhea County Democratic Party.

The candidates are facing off for the second time in as many cycles. In 2018, Travis beat Sparks 79% – 21%. As seen by the large margin just two years ago, this district will be an extremely difficult flip for the Democrats.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Dean Sparks $4,741.45 $3,260.80 $5,716.90 $2,285.35
Ron Travis* $149,215.79 $9,100.00 $7,352.53 $150,963.26

 

State House District 32 (Most of Roane & NE Loudon Counties):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent Kent Calfee is unopposed in the general election. Calfee has supported additional restrictions on abortion and voted against Governor Lee’s school voucher program.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Kent Calfee* $30,209.72 $4,150.00 $5,600.00 $28,759.72

 

State House District 33 (Anderson County S. of I-75):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent John D. Ragan is unopposed in the general election. As such, he will still represent District 33 come January. Ragan has spent his time in the legislature sponsoring bills related to restricting the rights of LGBT+ couples and weakening the ability of the public teachers’ union to collectively bargain.

State House District 34 (Murfreesboro & SW. Rutherford County):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and real estate agent Tim Rudd is being challenged by Dr. Mary Vaughn, a higher education administrator. Vaughn is focused on the issues of juvenile justice reform, raising teacher pay, and increasing infrastructure funding. Rudd strongly opposes the use of eminent domain, expanding Medicaid, and raising taxes. He voted in favor of both the fetal heartbeat abortion restriction measure and Lee’s school voucher program.

Rudd collected $5,000 directly from industry PACs and Republican campaign committees and politicians. Vaughn raised all of her funds this cycle from small-dollar donations

In 2018, Rudd beat his Democratic opponent Jennifer Vannoy 60% – 40%. Even though the margin in this district is much closer than others in the state, it is not expected to be competitive due to the strength of the incumbent.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Tim Rudd* $44,472.26 $7,950.00 $6,333.00 $46,089.26
Mary R. Vaughn $411.10 $1,672.25 $1,075.00 $1,008.35

 

State House District 35 (Claiborne, Grainger, N. & E. Union Counties):

CNalysis rating: Uncontested Republican

Incumbent Jerry Sexton is unopposed in the general election. Sexton is a former Assistant Floor Leader and has prioritized the furthering of conservative social causes throughout his time in the legislature.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Jerry Sexton* $4,626.35 $1,500.00 $0.00 $6,126.35

 

State House District 36 (Campbell, Anderson N. of I-75, Central & SW. Union Counties):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and insurance agent Dennis Powers is being challenged for reelection by CJ Mitchell, possibly also known as Cassandra Mitchell. Little information exists online about Mitchell’s campaign. Powers was a co-sponsor of the fetal heartbeat abortion restriction measure and voted in favor of Lee’s school voucher program.

More than $24,000 of the funds Powers raised this quarter came from companies, industry PACs, and Republican politicians and committees.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
CJ Mitchell $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Dennis Powers* $17,403.26 $50,250.00 $9,181.57 $58,471.69

 

State House District 37 (Murfreesboro & N. Rutherford County):

CNalysis rating: Safe Republican

Incumbent and MTSU professor Charlie Baum is being challenged for reelection by Mariah Phillips, an educator and former Congressional candidate. For this campaign, Phillips is focusing on economic development, increasing school funding, and improving access to quality healthcare. Baum has emphasized keeping taxes low, supporting military veterans, and decreasing government regulations. He voted in favor of both Lee’s school voucher program and the fetal heartbeat abortion restriction measure.

Mariah Phillips (Photo: mariah4tn.com)
Mariah Phillips (Photo: mariah4tn.com)

Baum collected more than $16,000 in PAC donations and an additional $2,500 from his Republican colleagues. The majority of Phillips’ donations came from individuals, including numerous Democratic politicians from around Middle Tennessee and a few of Baum’s colleagues at Middle Tennessee State University.

Phillips earned the endorsement of several labor groups, including the Tennessee chapter of the AFL-CIO, in addition to her endorsements from the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition and Moms Demand Action, a gun safety advocacy group. Baum carries the endorsement of both the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Tennessee Right to Life PAC, an anti-abortion group.

In 2018, Baum defeated his Democratic opponent, DeAnna Osborne, 59% to 41%. However, the election this year is expected to be more competitive than last cycle, due to both Phillips’ strength as a candidate and her fundraising abilities. She ran against U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-South Pittsburg for the 4th CD seat in 2018 and lost that race by a closer than typical margin.

Candidate Name Starting Balance Raised in Q3 Spent in Q3 Cash on Hand
Charlie Baum* $82,688.75 $40,301.00 $30,683.56 $92,306.19
Mariah Phillips $49,367.68 $65,142.00 $28,204.60 $86,305.08

 

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Lucas Brooks
Lucas Brooks

Lucas Brooks is a second-year college student from Knoxville. He first became interested in politics after the 2016 election and maps state legislative election results on his Twitter @LucasTBrooks. In his free time, he loves to hike and cheer on the University of Tennessee Volunteers.

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