The Look in Brief

Fayette County educator Civil Miller-Watkins enters Democratic primary for 2024 Tenn. U.S. Senate

By: - October 26, 2023 6:25 pm
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Former Fayette County Public Schools board member Civil Miller-Watkins joined Tennessee’s 2024 Senate race, adding another name to the list of Democratic nominee hopefuls.

Miller-Watkins filed her statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 4 after floating the prospect of a run in the summer.

She said her experience in a rural county and its lack of resources, along with concerns about “kitchen table issues,” prompted her candidacy.

“When you live in a rural county, you try to figure out where you’re going to the hospital: one is 40 minutes away and another 30 minutes,” Miller-Watkins said. “There were times when I felt I had no one to represent me. And I’ve had to ask about kitchen table issues, like when [Ford] Blue Oval City came in, I asked if there would be jobs for people from Fayette County.”

Civil Miller Watkins, candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2024 U.S. Senate race. (Photo: Submitted)
Civil Miller Watkins, candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2024 U.S. Senate race. (Photo: Submitted)

She joins Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, in the primary. Johnson announced her bid on Sept. 5.

During the initial weeks of her candidacy Johnson showed a prowess for fundraising, bringing in $1.3 million as of the most recent Sept. 30 disclosure deadline. 

Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn is still heavily favored in the race, holding a strong cash advantage over the field with $6.5 million in the bank as of the Sept. 30 deadline.

Marquita Bradshaw of Memphis announced she would seek the 2024 nomination but has not filed a statement of candidacy. She was the Democratic nominee for Senate in 2020, losing to Republican Bill Hagerty.

Miller-Watkins ran for a West Tennessee state House seat in 2016, losing in the Democratic primary. In 2020, she ran for state Senate against Sen. Page Walley, R-Bolivar, losing to him in the general election.

Miller-Watkins is secretary of the Tennessee Democratic County Chairs Association.

The primary election will be held Aug. 1, 2024 with the general election on Nov. 5, 2024.




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J. Holly McCall
J. Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.